We are surrounded by sounds and patterns. Little wonder that music is the most direct expression of exquisiteness. As the most splendid manifestation of art, music conveys this exquisiteness with a structure and spirit that is one and unpretentious: least burdened with anything disconnected.

This magnificent art form called music, captures the imagination, cleanses the soul and inspires it – lifting it into a sphere that it would not have reached, if it were left to its own devices.

19th century French naturalist and author, Guy de Maupassant, described music as: “A strange art – music – the most poetic and precise of all the arts, vague as a dream and precise as algebra.”
Each one of us is in total harmony with the fact that the appearance of the infinite in gracious finite characteristics of life is music itself…hushed and discernible.

The sky eventide, determinedly echoing the twinkling configuration of stars, gives the impression of a kid smitten with astonishment at the enigma of its personal first expression, stuttering the self-same phrase again and again -hearkening to it in interminable delight.

When walking in the rainy summer night, the blackness is heavy atop the fields and the gentle pitter-patter of the rain sketches disguise upon disguise over the silence of the dozing ground. This uniformity of the rain pitter-patter comes across as the darkness of chime itself.
The whiff of wet soil and grass, the tips of tall trees towering above the formless load of blackness gathered in the neighbourhood appear like unarranged musical notes rising from the belly of the earth, blending and consuming themselves in the sound of the incessant rain.

Music is an art form that is as important to human existence as oxygen. If you don’t agree with me, you are at liberty to go argue with your ears and the hole in your soul.
Music has the power to evoke conflicting feelings, tying together an array of emotions in ways we otherwise can never imagine. As a listener, you go beyond the range or limits of the notes, melody and lyrics to find a deeper meaning.

In each song, you find something that rings true for you and only you. Another person may listen to the same song in a similar setting and find something completely different out of it. And that, ngane kagogo, is the beauty of music.

To me, it is of no significance that we do not derive the exact meaning of a song. What matters the most is the language of beauty, the caress that comes from the heart of the artist straight into ours in a bewildering and enchanting way.

The hand of Bakithi Khumalo or the late Sipho Gumede, meeting the strings of a bass guitar and drawing out at once all its tones at the touch, sends me into orbits of ecstasy.

No politician can ever reach the ambers of my soul of souls like the sounds of umbaqanga, isicathamiya, jazz, classical music, maskandi, reggae, rock and blues.

In fact, allowing fork-tongued and predatory politicians to steal even a second of my emotions, feels like an inversion of the natural order of things.

I am at home, where the spirit resides, when I give my undivided attention to the music of Thandiswa Mazwai, Salif Keita, Sibongile Khumalo, Zonke Dikana, the Soul Brothers, Duke Ellington, Mfazomnyama, Oliver Mtukudzi, Wynton Marsalis, Stimela, Hugh Masekela, Luciano Pavarotti, Kwesta, The Movers, Joe Nina, Barry White, Ladysmith Black Mambazo…the list is endless.

On one hand, musicians can stir your soul in three minutes and keep you hooked. On the other, politicians dismally fail to make sense even if you were to give them a lifetime to have an audience with you.
The nauseating thing about politicians is that they are merchants of deceit and tie themselves into never-ending knots trying to convince us that they have something worth listening to.
Politicians are a divisive and narcistic lot.

They are like the dragons aptly described in the sermon, Premature Autopsies, which was written by Stanley Crouch and delivered by the Rev Jeremiah Wright Jr. on the album, The Majesty of the Blues, recorded by Wynton Marsalis in 1989.

“Now if a dragon thinks it is grand enough, that dragon will try to make you believe that what you need to carry you through the inevitable turmoil that visits human life is beyond your grasp. If that dragon thinks it is grand enough, it will try to convince you that there is no escape, no release, no salvation from its wicked dominion. It will tell you that you are destined to live your life in the dark.

“But when a majestic sound takes the field, when it parts the waters of silence and noise with the power of song, when this majestic concatenation of rhythm, harmony, and melody assembles itself in the invisible world of music, ears begin to change and lives begin to change and those who were musically lame begin to walk with a charismatic sophistication to their steps.”

Musicians, unlike politicians, connect us to each other for eternity even if we live in different parts of the world.
Take a fleeting moment and think about the times you have lived through, the people you shared different moments of your life with. There is nothing that brings all those memories back to life like the songs you listened to.

Music does a fantastic job of stoking up memories than anything I can think of. Every song tells a story. If you were to make a collection of most of the songs you have ever listened to, they are highly likely to add up to the story of your life.

Musicians are poets who are prophets in search of ways to convey the message from the universe through music.
They hardly ever use symbols to paint a picture of what they want to express. Painters need a canvas, brushes and a kit filled with different colours to tell a story. Musicians have it all within them.
Their tool kits are buried deep inside the smouldering belly of their souls.

The notes are a revelation coming out from their souls. These notes are not raw materials gathered from outside. Their ideas and expressions are, more often than not, born as twin brother and sister. With music, the spirit reveals itself instantly without enduring any hindrance of external items.

Every night, in the quietness which permeates the night, I stand by myself and listen to the distant voice of an invisible singer who beautifully delivers ageless melodies. When I retire to slumber land, I close my eyes with this last thought in my mind, that even when I remain unconscious in sleep, the dance of life carries on, uninterrupted in the muted amphitheatre of my dead to the world body, in sync with the stars.

My heart will pound, the blood will surge in my veins and the millions of cells in my body will pulsate in tune with the notes and rhythm of the ancestral drums that delight at the touch of the masters… AMATHONGO!

Musician, singer-songwriter, and composer, Billy ‘Paino Man’ Joel was right when he said: “I think music in itself is healing. It’s an explosive expression of humanity. It’s something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we’re from, everyone loves music.”

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