What happened to the sacredness of music?
In Ancient African times, music, poetry and dance were never separated… they were our religion.
In all our rituals and rites of passages music was the solid foundation on which we built our culture.
To the African child, music can Never, be ‘just’ music. We have been raised by a people that believe that music is our connection to our creator.
African spirituality is built on music.
We call our highest spiritual leaders…iizaNGOMA.
So no, music can never be ‘just’ entertainment to us.
Ancient Africa revered its musicians like it did its prophets and healers, for they worked with a similar ‘black magic.’
Ancient Africa respected its musicians because they were people who could work with spirits. The ability to transcend and connect with peoples spirits is one which will always be intriguing for human beings.
In Ancient times, Africans recognised that the gift of music was a gift of a spiritual nature.
But just like we let the west rape our land…..we have allowed them to rape our culture.
We enabled them to put a price tag on our ways. Fast forward 500 years and we have sold out our Spirituality to become Products and Brands.
There is a machine called the record label.
It has the ability to ‘make’ and ‘break’ so called ‘talent.’
This machine is in partnership with the media. (print, tv, radio and internet)
The media is usually loyal to the machine because of the advertising space the machine buys; and whatever other freebies available.
The machine knows that once you control the media, you can control people’s opinions.
This machine will Only service artists who belong to it, so it’s not about the greater good of the industry.
It’s about who is willing to sacrifice 90% of their album sales for a moment in the spotlight.
Most often than not, this machine is usually filled with power-hungry individuals who like to party…..and are not necessarily people committed to the craft, as you would expect.
Sadly, the core of the music business has lost its truth.
This is an industry built on perception.
One in which people ‘create’ the image they want you to see.
The concept of ‘showbiz’ has played many tricks on many people.
The machine has the budget to distract you with lights, costumes and big shows.
Art is not a competition so there is no such thing as the ‘best’ one……the only thing that separates artists, is that a minority of them have this thing called a record deal. (i.e resources)
A record deal gives them access to awards, gigs, tv interviews, radio airplay and attention from print media.
Most artists in South Africa are independent. We are therefore unaware of A LOT of our South African musicians.
Independent artists can’t buy advertising space and have big launches with free booze, so quite frankly, the independent artist is not a priority.
Music is a business in which only the big fish can swim.
Even the S A music awards are a farce.
You would think there is some team who watches SA music; watches new releases and goes to performances around the country.
There is a team, yes, but they are mostly made up of people FROM the machine.
As a result, awards will mainly go to machine artists, as the machine pats itself on the back.
Information about how musician submit their work for the samas, is also kept within the machine. As a result many careers are built on Who You Know.
Because the machine is essentially running the awards, it pushes its own agendas- as a result there have been some pretty, bizarre wins at the samas.
The SA music awards should be run by an independent body….and not by the machine.
The only way we can restore the sacredness of music is by creating structures that ensure that the independent artist can survive.
Most independent artists stay in the game because it’s a ‘calling’ for them.
The independent artist needs to have EQUAL ACCESS to the media, radio airplay, tv music shows, resources to make their album, as the signed artist.
When everything is fair, then you allow for healthy competition and for artists to deliver their best.
At the moment, being the ‘best’ is heavily reliant on who you are rolling with.
When the market is ‘freed-up’ then true talent can occupy its space and ‘showbiz’ can continue doing its thing too.
There is no democracy about our music industry.
It’s about who you are linked to.
The machine, through the use of the media, tells you who the ‘best’ is. You, the audience, ALWAYS buy into the hype. Barely 3years later, you spit umntwana ‘bantu out.
The audience has become part of this sick cycle of ‘making them,’ invading their lives and making them feel larger than life, then spitting them out.
If independent artists had structures that support them, then this cycle would just be a part of ‘showbiz,’ and they would have something to fall back on.
It’s not a ‘showbiz’ anymore when it’s messing with people’s livelihoods.
At the moment there is no support structure after ‘the curtain goes down.’
Our artists shouldn’t be dying broke.
There is something about this machine that needs to be revisited.
Can we speak about the pink machine sitting in the middle of the room please?