Dumza Maswana going traditional route to launch new album in EL
Award-winning Ngqushwa-born jazz artist Dumza Maswana will unveil his latest album at the East London Guild Theatre on Saturday.
Maswana will be launching his fourth album, Celebrating African Song, on which he collaborated with East London trumpeter Lwanda Gogwana and pianist Andile Henana, from Zwelitsha.
He said the album was a tribute to his grandmother, and the neighbourhood he grew up in, to express his thanks for his introduction to the music he loved.
“This a is a way of paying tribute to my grandmother and the community. Most of the songs on my album are inspired by songs I listened to when I was still young,” Maswana said.
He praised his grandmother for having been his first instructor and believes he did not express enough gratitude for her teachings when he was younger.
“This is a way of appreciating my grandmother for the songs she taught me. She was my first teacher and I did not appreciate her at the time.”
The singer has introduced a new style to the market: His music is a fusion of jazz and traditional Xhosa melodies, which distinguishes him from other performers.
“We have blended Xhosa songs into jazz; this is to preserve our language so it can be easier for future generations to remember our language and culture through music.”
Maswana said his priority was not to sell albums and attract large audiences. He wants his music to be documented for the next generation to see how beautiful their culture and language is.
“I am still a growing artist and will not sell much, but my priority is the documentation of my music for the younger generation.
“I am saying to my fans, ‘here is my music’ with the hope they will grow to love the genre I offer.”
He urged people to embrace their culture, especially the younger generation.
“People need to understand that there is nothing wrong with the way we sing, dance or speak. Rather, our language is really beautiful, as I am trying to remind everyone through music.”
Maswana described the events night as “extremely traditional”, and encouraged attendees to wear doeks and dress in traditional attire.
“It will be a night of dancing. The event will appear to be a traditional ceremony — there will be a lot of singing and dancing, and it will be a night of celebration. It would be wonderful if people could come to the event dressed in their traditional attire,” he said.
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