Review by KEREN BANZA
The Nun’s Chapel fills with the indigenous sounds of Africa – the umrhubhe mouthbow, nyunga-nyunga lamellophone, makhoyane gourd-resonated musical bow and the xivambi mouthbow. Transbordamento transcends musical borders, capturing the audience’s imagination; it asks them to open their minds to a numinous experience.
High ceiling, stained glass windows, and ancient wooden floors, the Nun’s Chapel on Rhodes University’s St Peter’s campus is a stronghold for the colonisation and Christianisation of the African soil. In this irony, the chapel begins to take new life and meaning as the vibrant African music rips through the white paint that once rejected and diminished African cultures.
The artist duo, Cara Stacey, the Standard Bank Young Artist for Music 2021, and Mozambican musician and composer Matchume Zango stand front and centre, leading and weaving a choir of instruments. The artists sing in African languages whilst mastering their instruments in shifting, textured layers of sound that vibrate through the chapel with the spirit of Africa.
To those both accustomed and unaccustomed to the unique sounds of these indigenous instruments from South Africa, Eswatini, and Mozambique – Transbordamento is an excellent introduction to African musical instruments and a transformative experience. The audience must give themselves freely to the music to unearth a spiritual connection.