Tuesday, November 3, 2009

vusi mahlasela's borrowed fire

If you found a song that you just loved, are you the type of person to listen to it two or three times in a row before moving on or the type of person who will listen to the same song or perhaps the same twenty-seconds of a song until you have memorized not only the lyrics but also the phrases, the subtle background intricacies, the breaths, the riffs, and any or all instrumentation that when combined makes the song special? I clearly fall in the second category.

There are just some songs that I love or maybe just a section of a song that I find to be so peculiar and engaging that I truly can't get enough of it. For example, I am a huge fan of the folksy-band Nickel Creek, particularly their rendition of the classic children's song "The Fox." But not any rendition. They performed live on "A Prairie Home Companion" a few years back and NPR's website has a recording of the show.  Mandolinist and lead singer Chris Thile hits this note during the chorus that sent shivers down by spine. Any time I listen to this version of the song, I stop and rewind ten seconds perhaps as many as thirty or forty times. I just can't get enough.

If you want to see what I mean, check out this link.
The song is performed at minute marker 149:15.

Well for the past few months, perhaps approach a year, I have been obsessed with the South African singer Vusi Mahlasela. For those of you familiar with Josh Groban's song "Weeping," Vusi was featured on that song along with Ladysmith Black Mambaza. Furthermore, Vusi was featured on the youtube, "Playing for Change" hit "Stand By Me." According to Vusi's latest CD, he is known as "The Voice" in South Africa and once you listen to him sing, it is clear why that is. Vusi also has performed with Dave Matthews Band in the past and is featured on one of Dave's live CDs on the track "Everyday." You can catch that video of the live recording on youtube if you search for Vusi.

On his website vusimahlasela.com, he writes, and I share with you, "I know that I have something that is like a borrowed fire from God. And I have to use it in a very positive way." Talented and humble.

Here is a song that I am particularly fond of. Vusi performed at the TED conference a few years back. You be the judge. Am I crazy for obsessing over this guys music?


Vusi Mahlasela: "Woza"

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