This week our musical adventure takes us to South Africa with the music of the Zulu people in particular. The Zulu are a South African ethnic group which has a distinctive style of singing and harmony. Their music was first brought to the United States in the 1950’s with folk singers such as Pete Seeger, and later Paul Simon, incorporating some of its style into their music. This style was picked up by other artists and eventually morphed into the very popular piece, The Lion Sleeps Tonight, from The Lion King. As you listen to this example see if you can make any musical connections between it and The Lion Sleeps Tonight.
The next post is music from the South African composer, Hendrik Hofmeyr. He was born in Cape Town in 1957 and has won numerous prizes in composition including first place in the Queen Elisabeth Music Competition of Belgium in 1997. He is currently head of the composition and theory department at South African college of music at the University of Cape Town. The first half of this piece is rather somber using large columns of sound building in intensity until about midway through it breaks into the fugue section which is very rhythmic and fast.