African music goes digital

first_imgThe cover of one of Hugh Tracey’srecordings of Zambian music. Hugh Tracey in an undated picture withPygmies of Central Africa. Hugh Tracey with his record collection.(Images: Ilam)Khanyi MagubaneFind out more about using materialRecordings of rarely heard traditional African music collected over a period of 50 years by music historian Hugh Tracey are now available to anyone on earth via the internet.The International Library of African Music (Ilam), based at Rhodes University in the Eastern Cape, is in the process of digitising the music, which Tracey recorded in the southern, eastern and central regions of Africa.Established in 1954 by Tracey, Ilam has digitised 20 000 songs, of which 14 000 are now available online from the organisation’s archives.The process of digitising the music has been a collective team effort. The team consists of sound technicians – engineer Elijah Madiba and his assistant Hilton Borerwe.To give the project chronological order and historical context, ethnomusicologist Dr Lee Watkins and cataloguing librarian, Michelle Boysen, were brought in to complete the digitising process undertaken by the technicians.Eight Rhodes University final year students who had been trained in data and sound capturing were also recruited to participate.Tracey had been collecting music in remote parts of Africa for 25 years when he established the music library.According to Ilam, “From its inception, Hugh Tracey’s vision for Ilam was to encourage respect for African music and perpetuation of its traditional styles.”Discovering African soundsTracey’s journey began in 1920, when the 17-year-old arrived in Africa from England.He arrived in southern Rhodesia (modern day Zimbabwe) with his brother, who had been given a piece of land to farm.Soon after their arrival, Tracey quickly picked up the Karanga dialect of the Shona language by working alongside the Karanga farm workers in the fields.It was during this time, whilst listening to the farm workers singing, that he was introduced to African music.His love for the art form grew, and it became his lifelong passion.Tracey started recording singles with some of the farm workers in Johannesburg, and these were distributed across the world, with some of the music played as far as New York.In the early 1930s, Tracey made contact with composers from the Royal College of Music in London, who encouraged him to continue with his musical research.In 1973, when he released his biggest LP recording of the indigenous music collection he had amassed, he wrote in the introduction, “The history of this collection of authentic African music, songs, legends and stories is in many ways a personal one.“It dates back to the early 1920s when I first sang and wrote down the words of African songs I heard in the tobacco fields of southern Rhodesia.”Despite the inroads Tracey was making in recording African music, he faced an uphill battle within his own community who could not understand his fascination with African music.According to Ilam, Tracey “almost immediately became aware of the resistance of the colonial community, in particular those in education, the church and government, to any suggestion that Africans had any culture or music that was worthwhile.”But this did not stop Tracey from pursuing his passion even further.He left southern Rhodesia and his travels took him to Angola, Zambia, Rwanda, Malawi, South Africa, the Congo (now the Democratic Republic of Congo), Tanzania, and Mozambique, where he partook in various traditional ceremonies and interacted with various tribes to capture their sound.When his travels brought Tracey to South Africa, he quickly learned that the tribes’ music could be divided largely into the music of the Sotho and Tswana people, and those of the Nguni – which includes the Zulu, Xhosa, Ndebele and Swati people.It wasn’t just the singing that fascinated Tracey; instrumentation used to make the music was also of great interest to him.In some of his recordings, like a 1950 release entitled, Tanzania Instruments, Tracey focused on the instruments in particular.As such, records made in South Africa were divided into the different tribal groups.As the influences of jazz started to dominate secular music, Tracey also augmented his recordings to reflect this.In 1950, and again in 1952, the music historian recorded the new contemporary sounds of jazz and this resulted in the albums, Bulawayo Jazz from Zimbabwe and Colonial Dance Bands which consisted of jazz music he had recorded in eastern and southern countries.As he was one of the very few ethnomusicologists of his time actively in the field, Tracey gained recognition for his work and was duly appointed to a number of influential positions.From 1936 to 1947, Tracey promoted African music as the head of the KwaZulu-Natal studios of the South African Broadcasting Corporation.He also worked for Gallo as their head of African Music Research Unit.He also published two critically acclaimed books, Chopi Musicians (1948) and African Dances of the Witwatersrand Gold Mines (1952).Preserving Tracey’s legacyWhen Hugh Tracey died in 1977, his son Andrew became the new director of Ilam.The institute originally operated as an independent body of archiving, research and a sound library with international funding.When, in 1978 funding was cut in protest against the apartheid regime, Andrew needed a new home for the institute.Rhodes University came to the party and Ilam moved to Grahamstown, where it still is today.Now a retired academic, Tracey says his father’s passion for African music was passed on to him.Speaking to Eastern Cape based newspaper The Herald, Tracey says he immersed himself deeply into the music. “My approach was different from my father’s. He did most of the recording. I spent time with the musicians to learn more about the music and to play the different instruments.”Current Ilam director and ethnomusicologist Prof. Diane Thram, says on Ilam’s website that once the digitisation process is complete, the entire collection will be available internationally. “When the Ilam archive is professionally catalogued and digitised, its holdings will be accessible to the world-at-large through this website linked to the Rhodes University library on-line catalogue (Opac) and an e-commerce website currently under development.”Do you have any comments or queries about this article? Email Khanyi Magubane at: [email protected]  Useful linksInternational Library of African MusicRhodes UniversityThe Africa Guidelast_img read more

Edu Fun spreads the love in Diepsloot

first_imgEdu Fun is organised, run and staffed by volunteers who give their time for free. This means all donations and funds raised are used for the group’s programmes, teaching materials and school supplies; health checks and medical expenses; materials for mending torn uniforms; as well as educational and social activities, such as trips to the zoo and student graduations. (Images: Edu Fun) • Avril Donnelly Teaching Programme Edu Fun +27 82 892 0505 [email protected] • South Africa’s mother tongue education challenge • University of the People offers online education for all • Tackling South Africa’s education challenges • Gauteng Department of Education, 20 years on • Zuma: South Africa to meet 2015 education goalMelissa Jane CookAristotle once said: “Those who know, do. Those who understand, teach.” It’s a driving idea behind Edu Fun, a non-profit organisation that believes if you educate a child for a day, they will remember it that day; but if you bring fun into it, they will remember it for life.Edu Fun is organised, run and staffed by volunteers who give their time for free. This means all donations and funds raised are used for the group’s programmes, teaching materials and school supplies; health checks and medical expenses; materials for mending torn uniforms; as well as educational and social activities, such as trips to the zoo and student graduations.The group works with Diepsloot Combined School in Diepsloot, a township in Joburg’s far northern reaches. Its main objective is to teach English to students in grades 3 and 4 students in an entertaining and stimulating way, encouraging them to open their minds and use their imaginations. Diepsloot is a poor area and local resources are limited. Classes at the school are very large and English is not the first language of their teachers. Edu Fun’s aim is to help the children with reading, writing and speaking English, so difficulties in using the language will not be a barrier in their futures.Key members of Edu Fun are experienced teachers and nursing professionals. The volunteers come from all walks of life – locals, ex-pats and visitors from around the world. Lord Joel Joffe, the human rights lawyer who defended Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Govan Mbeki and seven others in the Rivonia Trial of 1963-64, is the patron.Diepsloot Combined SchoolWhen the school opened in 2001, it was simply a collection of mobile classrooms with few facilities. Today, thanks to the dedication of its staff and the support of the Adopt-a-School Foundation, various corporate sponsors and voluntary groups such as Edu Fun and School Aid, it is a beacon of hope for the disadvantaged community of Diepsloot informal settlement.Catering for more than 1 500 pupils from Grade R to Grade 12, it is a government school that is not only a centre for learning but is also a much-needed refuge and valuable source of food for the most under-privileged youngsters in the township. In 2013, the Grade 12 students gained an impressive matric pass rate of 98.8%; 29 of them achieved university entry-level grades.Edu Fun aims to support the school in its long-term goal of helping its students go on to further education and fulfill their potential. A decade ago, a group of volunteers – many of them ex-pats – took up the challenge to improve the chances of the underprivileged children of Diepsloot. Edu Fun still brings fun to education and hope for a brighter future to the school. VolunteeringVolunteers teach English to the children on Mondays and Tuesdays. Lessons for Grade 3s run for almost an hour-and-a-half on Mondays during term. Classes are divided, based on ability, into three groups. There is a lead teacher for each class responsible for lesson design and delivery. Each classroom has about 30 children and a volunteer works with a group of about six children. The teaching materials are provided by Edu Fun.About 20 Grade 4s need additional help with English. Volunteers teach them English on Tuesdays during term time, and classes run for an hour. On Monday mornings, after the Grade 3 English classes, a group of volunteers spends about two hours mending school uniforms. All tools and materials are provided and no experience is necessary. They also plan to start training a few of the older students at the school to help out with this project.Also on Monday mornings during term time, volunteers can help the Spread a Little Love project by making peanut butter sandwiches or buying bags of apples for the children. These donations provide a filling start to the week, on average, for more than 300 pupils.In 2013, Edu Fun’s 10th anniversary year, it introduced a fourth group, the Further Education Project, to support former learners from Diepsloot Combined School who go on to university. At present, it supports three first generation students at university in Pretoria, helping them with everyday expenses, extra tuition, computer equipment and accommodation.The Edu Fun educational programme at Diepsloot Combined School was started by Avril Donnelly, Petra Michelson and Sandy and Miguel Buchwald, an American couple now retired in the US.Donnelly explains: “We have taught about 1 100 children over the years and the first group that we taught in 2003 matriculated in 2013. It really gives me a sense of satisfaction. I can only say that through this programme I have met some wonderful expats (both men and women) who have helped us with the teaching, nursing, Spread a Little Love and mending groups. The nursing group was started by a group of Swedish ladies, led by Maria Junebrink, who didn’t want to teach but wanted to give to the community. It has gone from strength to strength. I love what we are doing with Edu Fun and it has really become a passion in my life.”last_img read more

Q&A with South African athlete Akani Simbine

first_imgSouth African sprinter Akani Simbine recently set a new record and now he is dreaming of Olympic glory. The 22-year-old, who broke the South African 100m record at a meeting held in Budapest, Hungary on Monday 18 July, beat Jamaican and Olympic favourite Asafa Powell. Simbine ran it in 9.89 seconds.Ahead of the Rio 2016 Olympics, Simbine speaks to Brand South Africa and shares ten things about himself.Watch Simbine set a South African record:Being a South African ambassadorMelissa Javan: Akani, this will be your first Olympics. Tell us how you feel about being an ambassador for your country.Akani Simbine: To be one of a few [people] to have all of South Africa’s hopes of medals on my shoulders. Not many people get this opportunity. It is a blessing, a great honour to be able to be an ambassador for South Africa.MJ: What does it mean to you to be an ambassador of South Africa?AS: You have to represent the country and all of the population well, [that means] to show the world that our country has greatness in it.Fellow South Africans supporting the Olympic teamMJ: You said in March this year that you hope to show South Africans “how a sub 10 second race is run”. How important is support from fans?AS: It’s very important to have the backing of fellow South Africans. They play a part in your drive to become better and faster.MJ: What else do you hope to show South Africans, especially your family, friends and the old community you grew up in?AS: Your dreams are possible to achieve. All you have to do is put in the work and don’t let anyone or anything stop you from achieving it.BackgroundMJ: Tell us about yourself.AS: I grew up in East Rand (Kempton Park). I really enjoy watching soccer. The teams I support are Kaiser Chiefs and Chelsea FC.MJ: You played soccer before you were an athlete. Who or what gave you inspiration to become a professional runner?AS: My coach Werner Prinsloo. I played soccer for school [Edenglen High School in Edenvale] and a club when I was told to try out running. It just worked out well for me. I started dreaming about being part of the South African team when I was 18-years-old.MJ: What position in soccer did you play?AS: Right wing.Rubbing shoulders with the big dogsMJ: In a recent interview you said you were “not phased” by running alongside athletes like Mike Rogers and Asafa Powell. What do you mean that?AS: That even though they are great sprinters, it doesn’t mean my race plan has to change. I must just come into the race with the same mentality that I go into every race – that is to just do me and run my phases as perfectly as possible.MJ: Do you think you can beat Usain Bolt?AS: Bolt is an amazing athlete and the greatest of all time. I want to be there when I get more mature and experienced in the game.MJ: What do you think of people calling you “the next Bolt”?AS: It’s a great honor to be mentioned alongside a great like him. I’m making sure that I put in the work so that I can live up to that title.MJ: What is it like to practice alongside team mates like Heinrich Bruintjies and Wayde van Niekerk?AS: It’s really great and always inspirational. We all want the best for each other and we all push each other to overcome our limits.MJ: Lastly, with regard to the Olympics, what is your message to South Africa?AS: My message to South Africa is that I hope their hearts and prayers are with us during the Olympic Games. I hope that we as the athletes are going out there to do our best, leave a mark and let the world know that South Africa is a nation filled of greatness.Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website?See Using materiallast_img read more

New ExactEmerge Retrofit Kit available for late-model John Deere planters

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest ExactEmerge conversion components fit newer 1770NT, 1790 and DB planters John Deere is making it easier for customers with late-model John Deere planters to increase planting speed while improving accuracy and performance with the ExactEmerge Retrofit Kit. This conversion kit provides corn and soybean producers with the latest performance-enhancing ExactEmerge technology that allows them to significantly increase productivity and crop yields through more timely and accurate seed placement.“Producers realize that seed depth accuracy, spacing, and population are critically important. Crop residue management and timely planting also help to achieve maximum yield,” says Adam Sipes, product specialist with John Deere Seeding Group. “By retrofitting their late model John Deere planter with ExactEmerge components, customers can expect up to a 100% increase in planting speed, at least a 10 percent improvement in seed spacing accuracy, and improved performance on side hills, all without impacting depth control.”The ExactEmerge Retrofit Kits are available for model year 2011 and newer 1770NT CCS and 1790 planters as well as model year 2012 and newer DB Series planters. ExactEmerge conversion components includes meter and hopper assemblies, cartridge assemblies, 56v electric drives and row unit controller assemblies, scrapers, cartridge guards, and mounting hardware. Other components include planter controller with SeedStar 3 HP, backbone harness and tractor power generation harnessing, vacuum automation, and curve compensation capability.Kits require the use of tractor power generation and GreenStar 3 2630 Display for full operation. Depending on model of planter and tractor, additional components may be needed to complete the retrofit.“The ExactEmerge technology is revolutionizing the planting industry,” Sipes adds. “The Retrofit Kit now gives more customers the ability to incorporate much of this technology onto their existing late-model planters and gain these improvements for themselves.”For more information on the new ExactEmerge Retrofit Kits for late-model John Deere planters, see your local John Deere dealer or visit read more

Last day for WOTUS comments

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest On Tuesday, December 11, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers released a new proposed Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule which redefines the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act more narrowly and provides clarity to what is required of landowners. The proposed rule can be found in the Federal Register (FR) with supporting resources located on the EPA’s site here. The 60-Day public comment period will close on April 15, 2019.last_img

Zuora Announces Z-Commerce for the Cloud

first_imgA Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Related Posts audrey watters Zuora, a subscription billing company, announces today the release of Z-Commerce for the Cloud. Z-Commerce enables cloud providers to automate metering, pricing, and billing.According to Zuora CEO Tien Tzuo, cloud computing is a disruptive technology that requires enterprises to become part of what he calls “the subscription economy.” While purchasing servers and computing hardware was a marker of the “ownership model,” Tzuo argues that cloud computing requires a different business model, one that emphasizes pay-as-you-go. Pricing models for Z-Commerce for the Cloud include charging based on demand, reservation, location-based, and off-peak pricing, and can handle cloud service and software-as-a-service billing. Z-Commerce also features a private cloud billing setup for IT departments that need to implement departmental charge-backs.Zuora contends that the lack of a billing infrastructure for the cloud has made it nearly impossible for many providers to effectively bring their offerings to market and see Z-Commerce for the Cloud as filling this gap.Zuora announced earlier this week that it would be participating in Microsoft’s Azure Technology Adoption Program. “Cloud computing opens up worlds of new opportunity for commerce,” said Dianne O’Brien, senior director of business strategy for Windows Azure. “But in order to seize those opportunities and thrive in this new model, we need commerce systems that enable us ability to meter, price, and bill for usage in the cloud.” According to Tzuo, “We’ve spent a full year working with cloud leaders such as EMC and VMware to understand the needs of both cloud providers and their customers. Now, we’ve delivered a platform with all the metering, pricing, and billing capabilities required for the cloud to fully live up to its promise.”center_img Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Tags:#Announcements#cloud 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

Asian Games: Swarn Singh bags bronze for India in rowing

first_imgSwarn SinghYoung rower Swarn Singh brought some cheers back to the Indian contingent as he clinched the bronze medal in men’s single sculls final at the 17th Asian Games.Singh needed 1 minute 43.86 seconds in the 500m, took 3 minutes and 30.25 seconds to complete 1000m before the 1500m and 2000m race in 5 minutes 18.36 seconds and 7 minutes 10.65 seconds respectively at Chungju tangeumho on the sixth day of competitions.The 24-year-old Singh finished behind Iran’s Mohsen Shadinaghadh, who won the gold medal and silver medallist Kim Dongyong of hosts South Korea.On Wednesday, another rower Dushyant Singh was the only athlete to manage a podium finish for India as he grabbed a bronze in the men’s lightweight single sculls.Meanwhile in men’s double sculls, the Indian team of Om Prakash and Bhokanal Dattu Baban finished fifth.India’s Amanjot Kaur, Sanjukta Dung Dung, Lakshmi Devi and Navneet Kaur finished second in women’s quadruple sculls final B.last_img read more

Kevin Garnett Fined 25K For Ducking Interviews

It was classless enough that Kevin Garnett (along with Rajon Rondo) walked off the court with time remaining in the Boston Celtics’ Game 7 loss in the Eastern Conference finals to the Miami Heat.But Garnett magnified that out-of-line move by not participating in post-game interviews (Rondo did), which is a no-no in the NBA. And so, the league fined the Celtics star $25,000.Garnett scored 14 points in the 101-88 loss Saturday night that put the Heat in the NBA Finals.