Saturday 2019-01-19

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BUDDY MASANGO BACK, STRONGER

By Njabulo Dlamini | 2019-01-12

 The veteran, stalwart and legend of Eswatini’s country music genre is back with a bang.

That is the supremely talented and tactful Buddy Masango, famous for that hit track ‘It takes a thousand decades to forget a good friend’ back in the late 80s.

Just like the proverbial cat which legend has it that it has so many lives, Masango has bounced back much stronger and resolutely than before, it seems.

Masango has released his latest album titled ‘Heart breaker town’, his fourth to date.

Unlike other artists  churn out albums every other year, the tactful Masango takes his time in the studio and disappear  almost into oblivion status but once he returns, he always strikes with a bang, just like a vicious and venomous Mamba snake.

But whilst some observers and colleagues in the country music have criticised his latest release, Buddy insists that it was time he allowed his ingenuity and distinct self to be laid bare for all rather than coiling in the shells of the westerners so many artists have thrived under over the years.

His latest release was launched on December 21 at House on Fire in Malkerns and has 11 poignant and pointed tracks.

This album was accidentally recorded, in his view, as he set out to meet good old friends Bholoja and Velemseni, only for the latter to introduce him to an engineer by the name of David.

“Note that the recording was not planned at all. Bholoja only told David that I taught him how to play the guitar and introduced me as a country and western music artist. The engineer asked me to play one song for him after the introductions and demanded I do another one until I reached 14 tracks in total.

“He was so impressed he took my material to France, where we were to later communicate via e-mail and video conferencing until everything was ready for the studio. I would critique the work and give feedback as the band played via the technology as stated and thus the final works is here,” Buddy states.

This latest release has seen Buddy stuck to the inimitability he is famously known for.

 Call this album the ‘French connection’ if you like, as almost the entire band members originate from Paris, France, but it shares with the anticipating public and eager fans from the international community what other characters as Buddy are made off.

“I’m a rural person, so it was time I told my story to the world. What is Buddy Masango’s history? It is nothing but that I grew up looking after cattle and often be called upon to assist my parents as they ploughed the fields using oxen. Such cannot be taken from me at any point in time,” he states.

He adds that when the nation is summoned to Sibaya by His Majesty King Mswati III, they respond accordingly. Likewise, when summoned for other ceremonies like Buganu, Umhlanga, Lusekwane, Umhlanga, Incwala, etc; the nation turns out in numbers.

“These things are what make us a nation and they can’t be taken away from us. So, as musicians, we must reflect the mood at such gatherings in song. I have no doubt that as we congregate at such gatherings and dance our lives away with His Majesty and the Indlovukazi, we have melodies which must be shared with the enthusiastic world out there.

“That’s what I set out to do in this album rather than communicating what happens in Texas, USA, where country and western music originates from. When will we as Africans tell our story,” he states, in reaction to accusations that he has strayed from the basics or intricacies of country and western music genre.

There is also ‘Free the dogs’, a track that was inspired by his brother Sidumo’s love for dogs. Buddy’s brother keeps nearly 40 dogs at Mpolonjeni but knows every one of them. “The dog is the man’s best friend, so I’m basically saying take care of your dog so it protects you”. To him the latest album is Buddy Masango personified and nothing more.

It is different as it is 95 per cent acoustic guitars with no noise and the artist described it as ‘green music’.

The Bulandzeni-born Buddy, who is passionate about fishing, kicks off his rendition with the album title ‘Heartbreaker Town’.

“I was once married and lived in a certain town. So, I’m reflecting in ‘Heartbreaker Town’ my experiences in that town as instead of matrimonial bliss, my marriage disintegrated such that I now live with my children.

“In this particular town, there were diverse people whom some fought in my presence as they had taken one too many as my marriage went down south. Make no mistake; I neither smoke nor drink but was caught in this mess in this town where instead of being in ecstasy, I was heartbroken. This is the motivation behind the track ‘Heartbroken Town’,” he says.

Then there is ‘The Bushman’ (track four), which is a lament on the somewhat extinct status of this group of people. “Where are descendants of this group of people? In the country, we only have history of their paintings on the rocks at Nsangwini amongst other areas of Northern Hhohho, where I come from. ‘The Bushman’ track tells of a story of a man who once lived in the caves. These people are part of our ecology as they preserved the land for us”. In his view, the bushman were placed by God to preserve nature for the present generation. Their unique trait of only hunting down specific animals and not willy-nilly acts intrigued him, hence this track.

Then there is ‘Madagascar’, which shares the history of this once great nation. By the way, Buddy loves nature and is an avid follower of the National Geographic channel on TV.

“Madagascar was once part of us as Africans. My concern now is that Madagascar is slowly but surely drifting away from Africa into the Far East. This country has unique people, animals and plants, which cannot be found anywhere else in the world yet this beauty is slowly breaking down.

“People of Madagascar live off fishing, which is my passion by the way. Madagascar might not be the same in many years to come, so this track ‘Madagascar’ is a lament actually of the events unfolding in that country not the politics of it as I’m not concerned about these”.

Track Eight ‘Let it Rain’, is a prayerful rendition unto the heavens to rescue several African countries besieged by hunger and drought.

The scarcity of rain has left people from these countries impoverished and severely malnourished. 

“Deserts such as the Sahara, Kalahari and Namib are expanding with the oceans receding, which worries me. Even in Cape Town, vineyards have dried up and dams gone dry. To me, rain is the heartbeat of Africa so the track ‘Let it rain’ prayerfully asks God for more rain so the dry spells disappears on mother Africa,” Buddy says.

‘Africa’ (track 10) celebrates the often referred to as dark continent yet endowed with many natural resources. Poet Mzwakhe Mbuli of South Africa once referred to Africa as the only continent shaped like a question mark.

 

He feels there is something unique about Africa that the world does not have.

 

“In my mind, Africa is one country”. In summary, Buddy describes the album as about personal experiences and the African story retold; the things cherished and those he regrets. These experiences are now ‘shared with brothers and sisters as they listen to the album,” he concludes. Other tracks are; ‘Oh wind’, ‘Melisa’, ‘Crazy love’, ‘Physical attraction’ and ‘1000 decades’. 

 

The album is available at Cuba Nora in Mbabane, Five to Five in Manzini and means are underway to also avail it online, as well as other music shops.

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