Abidjan to Bulawayo
Featuring K-Bass (Cote d'Ivoire), Doc Twang (USA), Praise Zenenga (Zimbabwe) and Fafi aka 3Percent (Zimbabwe). The band tracks and vocals were recorded live at the Cavern Studios on February 25-26, 2011 with 10 of us in one room, the 'old school way'. Directing the band through the arrangements, Doc Twang played mostly rhythm guitar during the band sessions. The horns were recorded live the next week at the Nail Studio. A few overdubs, editing and mixing were also done at the Nail. Two concepts are the main feature of this album; the first is that it is a project dedicated to peace, unity and prosperity everywhere, but especially across Africa. The second is that it represents the collaborative songwriting of the featured singers and Doc Twang, the music director. In many cases, the singers were all invited to contribute lyrics to a song, therefore many songs feature several languages and, interestingly, different interpretations to a theme. Here are the rough interpretations of the songs; 1. (Medley) "Kele Magni 1" and "Kele Magni 2": "Kele magni" literally means "war is no good" in Bambara. In general, we are encouraging everyone to find non-violent means for conflict resolution and pleas for non- violence are offered, naming major cities (Bamako, Abidjan, Kinshasa and New York). 2. "Zimbabwe" (English, Shona, French and Bambara) Doc Twang's tribute to a great country, inspired by his experiences there; "She's an emerald, set in red gold". English lyrics are self-explanatory with a theme of "just appreciate, don't try to control". Reinforcing this theme, Fafi's first set of lyrics is a reference to Zimbabwe folklore regarding NyamiNyami, the serpent/fish god of the Zambezi River. It refers to predatory people (colonizers) seeing this region as being "yummy", ripe for the picking, and specifically to the almost failed damming of the Zambezi at Carribe. Many people died, ending up "in the tummy" and the region suffered it's first earthquake ever during the building of the dam. During this time, the Tonga people prayed to NyamiNyami to de-rail the taming of their river, their lifeblood. K-Bass's lyrics are a tribute/blessing to the people, the "populacion", of Zimbabwe and a prayer for the preservation of their great Zambezi River. The second set of Fafi's lyrics are shout-outs (on Doc's behalf) to several places in Zimbabwe, many of which where Doc Twang made friends and little quips and personal messages to those friends. 3. (Medley) "Tragédie/Pauvreté"(French/Bambara)- "What a tragedy the poverty is" is the loose translation. The Bambara lyrics tie in the issue of health being connected to poverty and that sickness is the major enemy resulting from it (poverty). "Dununya Te Soye" (Bambara) is the second part of this medley. It is an observation that our time in this life is fleeting and a call to unite in order to make our time together the best possible. 4. "Abidjan to Bulawayo"- (Shona, Bambara) Inspired by the Mbira "trance" music of Zimbabwe, this song talks about being "driven away", "cut off" or "shut out" from three different points of view; that of farmers being driven off their land due to political changes (Praise's lyrics), that of a son being shut out/cut off from his family (Fafi's lyrics) and that of the African people being cut-off from their homeland through the ravages of slavery (K-Bass' lyrics). 5. "Allemba"- (Bambara, French) Adapted from a Cóte d'Ivoire folk song which has been used by many different groups to sing about many subjects. In our case, K-Bass is basically expressing that he tries to forget difficult times and wrongs done and remembers the good times and friendships instead. The rest of the song contains shout-outs to the various musicians in the band and a call for everyone to dance together joyfully. 6. "La Galere"- (French) Literally translated means "The misery". This song is a tribute to some well-known champions of human rights who, through their actions, have tried to elevate the human condition. 7. "Kele Magni 3" - (Bambara, Shona, English) A return to the non-violence theme with a Rock/Ska twist and the addition of Fafi's Shona lyrics which urge everyone to be happy and insist that getting along should be as easy as eating "sadza" (Zimbabwean cornmeal grits).