Sam Tshabalala - Meadowlands: The new studiorecording
from the Southafrican songwriter - acoustic, direct and very southafrican
Acoustic African Poetry
On his new CD Meadowlands, Sam Tshabalala sings about his family, tragic accidents, forced removals and AIDS. But despite of the tragic subjects of the lyrics, his music still carries easy and happy moods. E.g. in Soneni Sam Tshabalala sings about the tragic killing of his nephew in the ghetto, accompanied by thriving rhythms and a vivid guitar that expresses much more strength and happiness than sadness. This special combination of rhythmic and powerful music accompanied by tragic lyrics has a long tradition in South Africa, as it helped the people to bear the problems and sufferings of the Apartheid and their hard life in the ghetto.
In the self-titled song Meadowlands, Sam Tshabalala tells the painful story of the forced and brutal removals in the 1960´s of the non-white population from their lands into the arid and dusty outskirts of Johannesburg. Meadowlands symbolizes the loss of the home ground and the transfer into foreign zones, as it happened to him also personally. Even today in Paris, Sam Tshabalala remains a stranger among strangers, although the city is his home for almost twenty years, now. But Paris is much more a home to the Africans coming from former French colonies such as Cameroon, Senegal and the Ivory Coast. As a South-African he would maybe feel more at home in the South African community of former exiles in London. But although Sam Tshabalala is very far away from his home country and culture, his heart still beats in South Africa.
Sam Tshabalala shows us the great variety of South-African culture in the eleven songs, which partly derive from local traditions. He uses different African languages in the lyrics of the new album Meadowlands, such as his mother tongue Shangaan, Tswana, his language at school, and of course Zulu. Sam Tshabalala's first band, the Malopoets, started writing songs in local African languages in the late 1970´s, which was quite unique these days. It helped them to hide their explicit criticism of the Apartheid-Regime in languages that could not be understood by a white audience. Reconnecting musically to the first years of the Malopoets, he pays respect to his origins as well as his very personal history. The album has a very direct, acoustic and South African style. It follows those traces Sam Tshabalala followed himself, when he went back to South-Africa to write the songs for Meadowlands.
Alongside Sam Tshabalala himself, The Sam Tshabalala Acoustic Project consists of the two Cameroonian musicians Patrick Bebey (piano) and Jack Djeyim (guitar) and of the singer Koko Oadjah from the Ivory Coast.