Thursday, October 1, 2009

South African Spirit (CD Give Away)

This marks the 100th post for Farsighted Fly Girl and I can't think of a better way to celebrate than with a dose of funky South African sounds. Dance Mama by singer/songwriter/composer Christine Vaindirlis, stirs up the most infectious party music that I've heard in a while. Born in London, raised in Johannesburg and trained in Milan at La Scala, she also reflects on irresistible cultural jambalaya. Despite such a global experience, it's clear that her heart remains in South Africa. From the vibrant geometric designs of the CD jacket and disc, created to recall Zulu bead work and Ndebele house paintings, to the references to South African music icons Miriam Makeba, Hugh Masekela and Abdullah Ibrahim, South Africa is all over Dance Mama.

The 10-track album bursts open with "Indaba" (home) a joyful, bouncing, display of township party music. Christine's well-honed funk chops inform "Call To Freedom" and her classical training shows up for "Fighting Or Surviving," where her soaring vocal range is highlighted. But my favorite tune and the one that compels me to play over and over, is the title track. "Dance Mama" simmers soulfully with melodic references to Miriam Makeba's classic "Pata Pata," and then charges into township jive, complete with flugelhorn solo. There are many layers to the CD, including sassy jazz riffs and intricate rock/funk arrangements, which slowly unfold after several listens. I'm offering a lucky reader the chance to do just that. Tell me how your upbringing has informed the music that you choose to listen to most often. I'll send a new Dance Mama CD to the person who gives the most in depth answer. Feel the Funk with Christine here:


jessiev said...

you'll laugh at this eclectic mix - my parents loved folk music and classical. my grandparents were jazz fiends. my other set of grandparents were into bluegrass. so i was dragged to john denver concerts, sang peter paul and mary around the campfire at our cottage, danced to cool jazz at my grandparents, and conducted papa haydn to my stuffed animal 'orchestra' when i was 3.

now, both my brother and i listen to more world music (mc solaar, cheb khaled, youssou n'dour, baaba maal, japanese groups, bagpipes, celtic) - basically, wherever we've lived overseas, we've dug into the music and then shared it with each other.

now, our daughter listens to a lot of world music, interspersed with contemporary US teen music, i guess you'd say - jonas brothers, naked brothers, girl clique, etc. we keep the classical and jazz, but have ditched the folk and bluegrass. i play the piano and she dances, to the south korean composer yiruma, as well as beethoven, rachmaninoff, haydn, etd.

music is a gift, something to be shared.

CONGRATS! on your 100th post. brava!! i am so glad for your site's presence in our lives - you've made a difference. thank you!

A Cuban In London said...

Congrats on your 100th post. It's a milestone.

As for my musical upbringing: my dad is a pianist so I played the instrument from age 5 to 11 or 12. I could not read music nor was I interested so I played by ear. I cannot play anymore but both my children can and they are very talented. Because of being brought up in Cuba there was always music that was allowed by the government and melodies that were not. That's why my appetite for music from all over the world has never abated. It comes from decades of being limited to what someone dictated I could hear. Still, we did manage to sneak tapes into the country and I came of age with Gloria Stefan, Madonna, Cindy and other US artists as my sountrack. I also developed a passion for rock and roll, as in the genre. I became hooked on jazz after watching Arturo Sandoval at the Havana Jazz Festival in '89 a year before he defected to Miami. I love classical music and good pop music: Fiona Apple, Tori Amos, India Arie, Jill Scott, Kirstin Hersh. Also I love Aziza Mustafa Zadeh, an Azerbi pianist and the Algerian singer Souad Massi. I am always on the look out for new music. I have worked (although not been paid for it occasionally) as a free-lance music and literature reviewer for radio stations and newspapers.

I hope this is enough. This lady has enough energy to power up my poor little heater. I am freezing in here! Thanks a lot for the music.

Greetings from London.

Fly Girl said...

Jessie, what a diverse musical heritage! I see you like a lot of Senegalese music there. What a rich musical experience you've passed on to your daughter. Thanks for your kind words.

Cubano, that's more than enough. It's interesting to hear how Cuba's music policies affect musical taste. Cuban music is so influential and rich but I understand the frustration of being prevented the freedom to choose. Does haveing a father as a pianist draw you to piano players? I notice quite a few in your list. And Souad Massi is awesome, I interviewed her after her first U.S. release. I hope I've sent some South African heat to warm up that London chill! Thanks for your encouragement.

Jean-Luc Picard said...

Happy 100th, Fly Girl. A groovy sound!

marina villatoro said...


Great music! I have never heard anything from South Africa. My musical upbringing wasn't very exciting! My parents listened to a lot of broadway music, and classical. but I was nuts about rock, madonna and michael jackson ruled my life!

I was really into music during college years, lately it's more of what my son wants to listen to, gratefully it's been pretty fun!

Fly Girl said...

Jean-Luc, thanks, groovy indeed.

Marina, Broadway music sounds like an interesting musical background, Have you introduced your son to any?

jessiev said...

what a fun conversation this is, and i can't BLV i forgot musicals! lillie's been singing musicals since she was tiny, i think because i also did (flower drum song, anyone?!)...thanks for the reminder, marina! we also find cool music on youtube, esp from around the world.

Catherine said...

My answer is short and very succinct, but hopefully it provides an in-depth response!! I come from SE London, everyone in my family lives and stays within a 3 mile radius and noone, apart from me has ever left SE London. My name is a 14th century English name traceable back to Chaucer's time - my family history contains no other influences other than London - no foreign connections at all!! Isn't that explanation enough to understand my absolute love of World Music and Global Fusion - from African music of Cesaria Evora and Ali Farke Toure and Angelique Kidjo to Cuban music, and Panama with Ruben Blades
and Brazilian with bebel gilberto and Mexican with Rodrigo and gabriella... and so the journey goes on and on

Fly Girl said...

Jessie, I'm glad you remembered! Musicals are a huge influence.

Catherine, that's really interesting. Yes, I can see why you'd be attracted to global music. Did you listen to British pop or British or Celctic folk while growing up? London still has a huge musical influence and I wonder if any of it affected your current preferences. I've always preferred British pop to American and it in turn lead me to ska and reggae pop. (Police.)

Lola said...

Congrats on hitting the 100th post mark! Here's to many more musings :)

Catherine said...

Hi Fly Girl - yep whilst growing up was torn between Motown which I always associate with my formative years and British pop - glam rock like T Rex, David Bowie, Sweet, Slade etc - and later loved the Jam, Echo and the Bunnymen, Police and then all the Indie bands of the early 80s - Joy Division, New Order, Cure, Pet Shop Boys,Human league, Simple Minds, Orchestral Manouevres, - so I guess I do have a real british foundation after all - but now my first love is really World music...

A Cuban In London said...

You interviewed Souad? Lucky you! I had the chance to see it a couple of years ago courtesy of a promoter but when I found out that it was not a proper concert I backed out.

Yes, having a pianist father and having played the instrument myself made me fall in love with it. Absolutely.

Great post.

Greetings from London.

Fly Girl said...

Lola, thanks.

Catherine, those are some of my fave bands as well.

Cubano, Souad was very inspiring,the courage she shows just to play her music is amazing.

Fly Girl said...

Thanks for all the intriguing musical heritages! It was close, but Jessie wins for her detailed account of her upbringing on classical, jazz and musicals, as well as her children's tastes.