Style that still lets the bride shine...
IN just two days, KwaZulu-Natal’s only acoustic music event, the White Mountain Festival, tunes up in the picturesque Drakensberg.
Featuring some of the best live acts in the country, this year’s killer line-up includes Craig Hinds, Matthew Mole, David “Qadasi” Jenkins, Paige Mac, The Hinds Brothers, Blaise Draper and much more.
The four-day festival provides an intimate, relaxed atmosphere to take in some great acoustic sounds.
Tonight caught up with Durban singer, guitarist, banjo and concertina player David Jenkins (pictured below) who is also known by many as Qadasi (Zulu for “white person”). Jenkins has a deep passion for maskandi music.
Obviously, the first thing I ask is, why the fascination with Zulu culture?
He says: “It all started when I was nine, after watching the series Shaka Zulu. I came from Empangeni, which is in the heart of the Zululand.
“I wanted to learn about the people around me and their culture and traditions. And so it became a huge passion for me. While my friends wanted to be soldiers, I wanted to be a Zulu warrior (laughs).
“I had a lot of support from my family. My dad would take me to traditional Zulu events, so that was a big help as well. All those factors influenced me.”
Jenkins tells me he is part of a five-piece group and describes their sound as maskandi – a kind of Zulu folk music.
“There’re about four of us who sing. We also bring in other genres, like the Western influence, contemporary, and we change it up in a way. We add bridges, which do not happen in maskandi music. There are many styles of maskandi. We focus on the traditional.
“Maskandi is a very popular style of music and we have a distinct traditional Zulu style fused with the other influences I mentioned. We are unique in what we do. It’s not often that you have a white guy playing Zulu traditional music.”
Chatting to Jenkins, it is obvious music is in his blood. Award-winning singer and songwriter Johnny Clegg has been a huge inspiration to him.
“He shows the world two multicultural groups can come together.
“We are able to bring the two nations together and spread our sound and show the world what South African music is and how unique we are in our country.”
Jenkins says his group have completed their new album, Uhambo Olusha (A New Journey).
“I released my debut album in 2011 and it was tough getting my music out there and promoting it.
“Now I’m in Durban and I’ve learnt so much since my first album. Everything is clear now and we can show the world exactly what qadasi music is.”
Besides the music aspect to the fest, there is loads to keep the family occupied – from arts and crafts to assorted food outlets, and a new teepee village.
• The White Mountain Festival runs from Friday to Tuesday, September 24, at the White Mountain Lodge in the Drakensberg. Tickets available through Computicket. Gates open at 7am on Friday. For more information, call 031 563 0824.