The show included traditional and contemporary songs in a range of South African languages, including Xhosa, the Bantu or “bushman” language known for its “clicking” syllable sounds. Children also enjoyed call-and-response with traditional South African drumming and a demonstration of “gumboot dance,” which began in the mines of South Africa as a means of communication and has evolved into a popular dance form.
Gumboot Dance at Dixie Video Clip
Concluding with a moving performance of South Africa’s national anthem, the show was a great way to celebrate themes of freedom and unity as the children left for the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday weekend.
Led by Gideon Bendile, Kalahari Experience is comprised of members of Zulu Spear, the pioneering world music group co-founded by Bendile. Famous for helping to spur the anti-apartheid “divestment” effort in the U.S., Zulu Spear has toured extensively, recorded an album on Capitol Records, and performed for Nelson Mandela in person alongside The Grateful Dead, John Lee Hooker, Sweet Honey in the Rock, Bonnie Raitt, Sarafina and Joan Baez, and is well known for their featured song in Disney’s animated feature “The Lion King”. The group won a “Bammy” (Bay Area Music Award) for Best Blues/Ethnic Band in 1987.
Read Paul Liberatore’s article on Zulu Spear (Marin IJ, April 2012)
For information on bringing Gideon and Kalahari Experience to your school, contact Nydia at email@example.com or visit the Assemblies page on our website.
Or find more ideas on how your students can “Travel the World” with Youth in Arts!