Vuvuzela music – traditionally African!
Associated features on vuvuzelas: Vuvuzela Madness (Photo gallery), Vuvuzela Day (Photo feature), Vuvuzela takes on the World (Text feature) and Vuvuzelas with a difference (Photo feature about seaweed vuvuzelas)
CUE: A South African Soccer Game would be incomplete without the Vuvuzela, a brightly coloured plastic trumpet which sounds like an elephant’s call. Many fans hate the instrument’s noise, but the Vuvuzela orchestra proves that the instrument can also make great music. Anna-Marie Jansen van Vuuren reports.
KEYWORDS: VUVUZELA, ORCHESTRA, 2010 WORLD CUP, SOCCER, AFRICAN MUSIC, CULTURE, NOTES, TRUMPET, FANS, BRAZIL, EDUCATION, NOISE-MAKER
Music courtesy of Pedro Espi-Sanchis and Professor Dave Dargie.
FX – Vuvuzela Orchestra Song – a bafana
By using a combination of standard vuvuzelas and other instruments, the conductor of the Vuvuzela orchestra, Pedro Espi-Sanchis, has created a unique ensemble that surprises and captivates audiences around the country. Pedro was inspired to create the orchestra, after South Africa was announced as the host of the 2010 Football World cup.
CLIP 1 – PEDRO – CREATING THE ORCHESTRA
I started thinking – what is the link between soccer and music? Because my objective is always music”
The Vuvuzela-instrument was the common denominator and from there the Vuvuzela orchestra was born. They had their first public appearance at the Johannesburg Carnival in 2006.
Fx – music bridge
The orchestra has many professional musicians in its ranks. One of them, Samora Ntsebeza, says they are constantly battling the social stigma that the vuvuzela is a noise-maker.
CLIP 1 – SAMORA – MUSICIANS SOUND
“As we found after the confederations cup, the people found the vuvuzela to be a hindrance to be a beautiful game. But I mean, what makes the beautiful game – the Brazilians made this a beautiful game not only because of the game they play in the field, but also because of the atmosphere their fans create in the stands”.
Another orchestra member and a post graduate music student, Ignatia Madalane, says it should come as no surprise that South Africans can make music with a so called “noise-maker”.
CLIP 1 – IGGY – CHOCOLATE WRAPPER
“Let me put it this way. Do you see this bag, it’s a chocolate wrapper. When you look at it it looks like rubbish, but we have come to an understanding that we look at it as a musician and think about how I can make music with it. I can do this (fx) and begin a rhythm and someone can clap along (fx) and we will make music”.
Ignatia says this is an age old African tradition.
CLIP 2 – IGGY – AFRICAN MUSIC
“If you look back into history you will find that our great grandparents took a tree and made marimbas, so the African mind is in tuned to using whatever is around them to make music. Here someone presented this vuvuzela, and we asked ourselves how we can use it to make music, and the idea of the orchestra evolved.”
The ancestor of the vuvuzela, the Icilongo, was traditionally made from kudu horn. Samora says the way the vuvuzela is played also comes from African tradition.
CLIP 2 – SAMORA – HORN CALL
“The vuvuzela comes from the tradition of blowing the horn to call people to receive a message. Not just town hall meetings. … The horn is especially important in African tradition – and even in other ethnic cultures, if people have to be aware of something significant taking place”.
Pedro says the vuvuzela orchestra also fits into the South African soccer culture. South African fans differ from their European counterparts, in that they do not sing the same song together. Instead they do call and response patterns on their Vuvuzelas.
CLIP 2 – PEDRO – CALL AND RESPONSE
“Call and response is a bit like a choir. In a choir situation where choirs sing acapella, there is a leader that sings the lead, and the others sing a chorus in response to that. … People apply that to vuvuzelas. One vuvuzela begins, and all the other respond together. Normally one vuvuzela would be of a different pitch. That happens in small groups, but not together.”
Therefore Pedro modified standard “one-note” vuvuzelas to play seven different notes.
CLIP 3 – PEDRO – DIFFERENT SOUNDS
“The real vuvuzela is something that makes one sound. If I make one longer or shorter, I will get more sounds, that’s how a trumpet works. I’ve been inspired by music from Uganda, in which it works in that way. There are six or seven people, each playing a different pattern on every note.”
Ignatia says although the orchestra mostly consist of professional musicians, it is not really as difficult as it sounds.
CLIP 3 – IGGY – NOTES MELODY
“If we have a melody with 5 notes, if you have a G, and I have a C, when the melody starts at C, the person holding the C blows, and if the next note is G, the person holding the G plays. We need each other. If you don’t play your G, the melody isn’t going to work.”
Ignatia further emphasises that spending time in the orchestra is similar to experiencing ubuntu, because each member needs the others to form a melody.
CLIP – IGGY – UBUNTU
It is not only the orchestra that can make melodies with the vuvuzela, Ignatia emphasises that anyone can play a song with vuvuzelas.
CLIP – IGGY – IT IS FOR EVERYONE
Samora compares the vuvuzela blowing technique to playing a horn or brass instrument.
CLIP – SAMORA – BLOW VUVUZELA
“For a person coming from a western culture, the best way to understand the method is to think of any brass or horn instrument that uses a mouth piece like the trombone or the trumpet. Those would be the closest instruments by which we can find a relationship. You compress your lips together and then blow air through the tiniest hole in your lips. Make sure no other air escapes from your lips. The breath generates the sound of the note of the vuvuzela you are blowing”.
Pedro has developed a specific colour system, in which spectators at a stadium would be able to play a melody together. Ignatia explains this system.
CLIP – IGNATIA – COLOUR SYSTEM
Unfortunately, although Pedro has tried to get the local organisers to buy into the concept of having fans play their vuvuzelas in an organised manner, they are not interested. However, the general public is very interested in the orchestra, and to date Pedro has initiated six orchestras – two in Johannesburg, two in Cape Town, one in Limpopo, and even one in the Austrian capital Vienna. They also frequently perform at corporate functions.
CLIP – PEDRO – LEGACY OF VUVUZELA MUSIC WORLD CUP.
Fx music bridge
I am Anna-Marie Jansen van Vuuren, reporting for 2010 in Johannesburg.
This report was compiled by Anna-Marie Jansen van Vuuren for Twenty-Ten