Moses’ outro

Does life begin at 40? That’s the time signature Moses Taiwa Molelekwa would have reached on Wednesday, 17th April 2013. In recognition of his greatness we’re presenting some notes in his honour/memory.

 

 Moses outro

deal an arm

lose a shack

scrutinise a scar

encounter makwerekwere death in du noon

or dobsonville

outrage a constituency

considercracksackanofficialrecitearebuttalaaceptarisk

preface it transparent

plot the derangement of a presidenct

ponder sac of fat smother line between prosecutor and hunted

instill a seizure

goad a fall

cosign a key player

consume a madam’s cellar

make your mama shie

& yr nephew cry

listen to an ex withdraw

ebb and flow insanity & inanity

whiplash responsibility

 

do a mo & flow

scream bushed from a beam

live as a postmortem

be a: bulletin in labour

wild cat without favour

 

drag y’all from the afristocracy snare

devil with care

display an air

go:like, you mother, i breathe neruda

and swallow the gallow of saro wiwa

dambudzo’s my main man and

what have you done lately besides

snooka

a

squatta

talk to the hand

cause this fuck just

aint

 

in a square of raw times

wednesdays to sundays designed for

crimes & grimes

creolic lives breakout in

hives of malcontent

as mahogany row rescribes the kow tow

cause

how would moses know

where his burning bush

would flow

boychild 8

going loop-to-loop

tight to a point

africa papa and mama

hanging and reclining

belying

our brave new world.

 

“taiwa” molelekwa you will live.

by Gael Reagon

 

Mma Tseleng‘s mix, 13 February 2001 – for Taiwa.

[I ]Re-discovered his music much later in life.
Except, and this must be my Moses moment was a series of Friday fixes through a music/club culture show on SABC 1, Studio Mix circa ’97. They used to play heavily by standards, Moses’ ‘Genes & Spirits’. And because they used to serialised some songs, i wouldn’t miss 9-10pm TV time for a fix of this song. It reached me in a village where access to some good music was rare, TV and Radio was the only option. The song had all the elements of traditional music as I experienced from the village, as well as a voice I have ever experienced from the music I was hearing at that time and place. I knew that music has the power to heal through that song, and the video was different from anything I have seen on Studio Mix or anywhere on TV. That was high school. I forgot about Moses, after all the imports have knocked my senses out, until i got back to Moses in 2007 through the album, ‘Wa Mpona’ and carried forth. I think Moses’ hand writes in a deeply traditional manner, that is, he translates our idioms, euphemisms and angst into honest enchants, melancholies and aspirations. I will not spot a seat for him except a biased at the head of the table. This is biased because i honestly have not listened intensely to the work of other pianists.

Another always a winner Moses moment is in Brothers of Peace’s ‘Moss’, all the time.

During the residency with Keleketla co-director, Malose Malahlela at Wits School of Arts in April 2011, Moses’s music consumed us, almost possessed us, along with that of the Brother Moves On, collaborators at the residency. [NB: Brother Moves On are putting on their own Taiwa tribute]

I am disheartened by the scarcity of Moses work in the public, except for his father’s school and the cape town jazz fest stage.

Rangoato Hlasane (Mma TselengKeleketla! Library)

Moses Molelekwa was remarkable for both his talent and the young age at which he began to show it. He had a very specific vision of the South African sound, and while it was informed by his predecessors (including Abdullah Ibrahim) it was very much his own. Unlike the Capetonians (Ibrahim, Mbambisa, etc), it was much more infused with the hybrid, big-city vibe of the Johannesburg townships: with 80s pop, the Afrojazz of Masekela, and the avant-garde experiments of the Pelican and Odin cinema modern jazz crews and the jazz stokvels his father exposed him to. But alongside those, there were strong echoes of more rural musics — both the church hymnody of his grandparents’ generation, and the complex rhythmic patterns & interlockings of sePedi pipe music. His “lineage”, then was always mingled with the now — and so it wasn’t surprising that as he travelled, he built musical bridges with international popular music and pan-African sounds. Had he lived, he’d probably today be our counterpart to Robert Glasper — never afraid to challenge genre boxes or conventional thinking about the music, but underpinned by the highest level of technique & jazz sensibility.

My most striking remembered image of Moses is the way he’d truck around town on Friday and Saturday nights carrying his keyboard; commuting from gig to gig. His lanky figure, stooped under the weight of the keyboard, became a familiar sight. It wasn’t about money (though heaven knows, he probably needed it) it was about needing, and loving, to play, whenever and wherever he could.

 Gwen Ansell (teacher, writer and researcher)

 

 …

everytime i talk about moses things always end up sounding hyberbolic.

that is because moses is and was holy!

a friend of mine was in moses’ class at wits university and he, my friend, always marvelled at how moses never attended class and would spend all day in his room practicing.

well, i thought, i can understand that – he’s busy studying!!

Neo Muyanga (Composer, librettist)

 

 

Taiwa was more like a Vijay Ayer, or —-really he was just himself. The closest to contemporary artists would be Robert Glasper, and, even MeShell Ndenge O’cello.

Taiwa was a genius alright, a trouble genius. But that we all know–it’s not quite revelatory.

Bongani Madondo (Narrative Journalist & Essayist)

 

 

It could have so easily been the nimble fingers, the originality of thought, the vast and the peerless comprehension of a truly special time in our musical history. But it was the reverence with which he came to his craft that locates him comfortably within the greatest of the South African lineage of piano players.

Siphiwe Mpye (Magazine editor)

 …

Moses

Movement of each finger
On black and white keys
Give rise to an image, sound
That is painted in clear air

Projections of my frustration,
Love, passion, early life.

I see the melodies in my dreams
I can’t seem to get them right
I want to respect the (music)
If I don’t…
I’ll die young

Mpho Seoposengwe (Writer, journalist)

Moses Taiwa Molelekwa, 17 April 1973 – 13 February 2001

Rest up Brother, we hope darkness has past.

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3 Responses to Moses’ outro

  1. Shado Twala April 17, 2013 at 6:55 am #

    Musicians of Mose’s calibre come once in a lifetime, I’m grateful for the experience of his genius and gift in mine. Robala ka khotso Taiwa!

  2. Andrew Missingham April 17, 2013 at 8:30 am #

    Thanks for doing this! The day Moses died I was arriving in Tunis, bringing the band Faze Action to Tunisia for their first tour there. Getting off the airplane, my cellphone buzzed with missed calls and texts to call back. I knew something was very wrong. When my friend John Kieffer told me the news, I simply collapsed. Moses was one of the most inspired, inspiring people I’ve ever worked with. Curious, inventive, intense, humorous, passionate, dedicated. The world lost a star that day. And I lost a great friend. I’m glad to have known and worked with him, but few days pass without thinking of the music he would have made, had his life not been cut short. Happy Birthday, Taiwa.

    • Zoe September 28, 2013 at 11:25 am #

      This article means a lot! Peace & Love to the guys at Chimurenga Chronic for hounoring my ol’ timer.
      I remember waiting to be picked up from school on the 13 of february. The clock struck 9 o’ clock in the evening and still no sign of any one of my parents. My caretaker at the aftercare centre asked if I knew any relatives that stayed close by, and I remembered my grandmother who stayed about 20 minutes away. I went to school the next day and saw a couple of friends and their parents flashing the newspaper and offering their condolences to me. I was confused. It only really registered two years later as I grew older. The day plays out in my mind like it was just yesterday.

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