|Keith Goddard is a Zimbabwean, born in Bulawayo, and the Development
Director for KUNZWANA Trust. He is a composer of music that nobody
in their right mind would want to listen to. He first became curious
about Tonga music after reading an article by Hugh Tracey which
related to the 1957 recording expedition to the Zambezi Valley.
Even Tracey, backed by 30 years of recording and analysing music in sub-Saharan Africa, was puzzled by Tonga nyele. He descibed it as "a loud and cheerful noise devoid of any melody with everyone, men and women and children shouting, singing and whistling as they suffle to the impulse of the drumming."
The strangely contemporary sound of this ancient music caught the attention of Keith and subsequently four ´progressive´Austrian composers (Peter Androsch, Klaus Hollinetz, Lukas Ligeti and Werner Puntigam) as well as South African jazz artist and composer, Denzil Weale. Without properly understanding what they were listening to, these composers wrote a series of responses to Tonga nyele which were published on CD as "Six Reflections on Tonga Music".
"The tuning of the horns seems to be entirely haphazard and is controlled bz the fortuitous length and shape of the horns employed. The smaller boys played the shorter horns and the large boys the longer horns.
This is a very wild kind of dance, with everyone dancing madly in a mob. The step is a short staccato, jigging step to and fro, very simple. Noise seems o be the main object and the dust thrown up by their feet is the alluvial soil of the river valley almost obscured the tight knot of dancers. The celeste caused bz the treble pipes is deafening to an observer but too high-pitched to record."
Hugh Tracey, The Sound of Africa Series Catalogue.