Michael Hankinson

English Chamber Orchestra & Ladysmith Black Mmbazo

12.09.2014 Article

2001 - Arrangements for Ladysmith Black Mmbazo (LBM) and The English Chamber Orchestra' by Michael Hankinson

The UK born in South Africa active conductor/arranger/composer Michael Hankinson’s arrangements of some of legendary LBM creator Joseph Shabalala’s compositions - this blend of African classical Isicathamiya and the sounds of a Western classical orchestra was premiered at the Festival by LBM and the English Chamber Orchestra.

“The by-laws were tough...our boys could not carry on expressing themselves through their Ndlamu dance because it was illegal to do so in a municipal area. The Zulu dance they loved so much was prevented as the thumping and thudding were deemed to be contravening by-laws - legislated as  public disturbance. But nothing was to stop them to engage in their own thing, their sentimental song - they converted the laws into their own advantage and invented a new genre of music and dance. They copied the classical tonic sol-fa music of the white and merged it with their Zulu dancing but this time the foot stomping was polished and radically toned down into a  tap while rhythmically  sneaking around the dance floor. So, because their act on the dance floor, the soft tapping controlled voices (against  the thumping and thudding) and the  sneaking around, the genre was aptly named Isicathamiya - which is to sneak around". (Khaba Mkhize)


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