Goema – The Diversity of Music!

On August 23rd, 2012, posted in: Academic, Culture, Featured, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12, Music, News by

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Music students from grades 10 – 12 were privileged to experience a presentation of Goema music today from a small traveling group who kindly offer their knowledge and personal experiences with and of this music.

Goema music is Proudly South African in every sense of the word. It is contemporary and composed of many different types of music – Jazz, Pop, Rock, Classical, Latin, Gospel – to name but a few, and is typically sung in Kaaps, Afrikaans or English. It is the absorption of music of the world that is translated into diversity of and through music. It is alive, full of spirit and easily recognizable – no matter which genre it draws on more. What makes it so unique is the use of the Goema Drum – indigenous to South Africa: made with a whine cask – 13 strips of wood, goat or ox skin and tape and is traced back to the time where Slave Trading was prominent in the Cape and India.

A modern day Goema performer is typically known as a Minstrel – an absolute mixture of culture, colour, life and humour – put into a new, hybrid form of music. But this is Cape Town after all, and you can’t keep us from perfecting beautiful things – so we also have Goema choirs, bands and orchestras that perform regularly. Goema is diversity; it does not discriminate and draws on elements of music from plenty of cultures and countries, even Western ones. Goema music is described as, “The sounds of all the world galvanized in this small space between the mountain and the ocean”, it is further described as something to “medicate ourselves with through humour and music”.

As part of the syllabus, it was incredible to have experienced Goema in a form that wasn’t from a book. It was something to engage with – and our minds were brilliantly led by Calum – the creator of the documentary we were lucky to see. It was through the documentary, a few Goema recordings, an improvisation from famous SA artist – Hilton Schilder and interactive discussion that we learnt thr true meaning of Goema. The presentation was started off with our Coat of Arms and he simply asked what the words on it meant, they are in Khoi San and the answer is: Diverse People Unite. And that is the essence of Goema music.

We would like to thank our Music Department Staff for affording us this opportunity – it was more than a lesson in music, it was a lesson of life.