From Hugh Tracey’s field notes:
Majone "Johnnie." (Tswana/Lete recorded in 1959)
Pipe dance with closed end blown "Ditlhaka" flute ensemble.
Singer: Moroke Molebatsi and group of 19 men.
Ramoutsa, Bamalete Reserve, Bechuanaland Protectorate.
''Johnnie's mother weeps
Where did Johnnie die? (she says)
Johnnie died when they were cattle raiding (she says)
They killed him when he was following the spoor of his captured cattle.
I refused you,
So you hated me
And went away disappointed.”
These 19 pipes were made of lengths of copper tubing. The pitch of each pipe was recorded before each item. From two measurements of the same set of pipes within three weeks, it is clear that the tuning varies from performance to performance
--the pitch of each pipe being adjusted by means of the plug - a wire ramrod is kept for this purpose. The pipes are used on any occasion, for parties, or recreational purposes. The performers walk round sideways in a circle, using a simple stamping step or shuffle or leaping like frogs in an anti-clockwise direction.
Sampled by Desert Sound Colony on 'Beating Heart - South Africa' - lnk.to/BH-SASo
With kind permission from the International Library of African Music, Beating Heart works with artists to sample and remix Hugh Tracey's incredible archive. Proceeds from the South Africa album support gender equality in South Africa through the Women’s Legal Centre, as well as helping to teach music production skills to kids at Grahamstown’s Access Music Project.
More info at www.beatingheartproject.com