Let the onslaught of June work updates continue!
What started out as a two-month project has seemingly turned into a six-month one. However, now that The Song of The Weaver CD has been fully launched, I have to say, I think it was worth the wait.
The Song of The Weaver started as a collection of gorgeous woven pieces inspired by three generations of Gone Rural women from Lavumisa. Over many months, Gogo, Siphiwe and Bonakele created a biography basket each using materials found around their homesteads woven into a tale of their life’s struggles and joys. These baskets were recently exhibited at Habitat Gallery in London, and have spurned a whole new collection for Gone Rural.
To build upon this concept, I began working with Phil (Gone Rural’s Creative Director) and Myles Mumford (fellow AVI and recording engineer extraordinaire) to develop a musical CD that would complement the collection. In February and March, Myles and I headed to each region to record six groups of artisans singing their choice of traditional songs – songs that the women enjoyed and which gave them a sense of identity and pride. The women dressed up and came out in force, dancing and singing for hours. To our surprise, and complete humility, we were also treated to a poem, written and performed by Nokuthula Dlamini, which brought tears to my eyes and reaffirmed the empowering presence of Gone Rural, and the power of these women.
Since then, Phil has been working hard on the CD design, Myles on the editing, while I have taken charge of local marketing and media promotion with the help of our marketing manager. Our local launch at Swaziland’s Bushfire Festival in May/June, saw the sounds of these women movingly integrated into The Song of The Weaver installation leading to an unprecedented sales of 25 CDs, with an additional 18 CDs sold through our Malkerns store since then.
I am pleased to say that the CD is now available globally. For those of you close to a Gone Rural stockist, please chat to them about getting your hands on one of these highly-coveted copies. For the rest of you, The Song of The Weaver is also available for download. Simply name your price (minimum US$7)! Remember, all profits go to Gone Rural boMake’s projects benefiting over 10,000 rural people directly.
For a sneak preview of what you might expect, here is the translated version of Nokuthula’s moving poem.
Gone Rural, Who Are You?
Gone Rural, tell me who are you?
Are you taking care of the orphans?
Look, I’m seeing the women. What are they doing?
They are weaving, they are weaving.
I ask myself, what are they making?
Baskets. I see what this is, a vase.
After that the women get money.
After that, the orphans are fed, they are clothed.
Gone Rural, who are you? Who really are you?
Are you the reason the homes are stable?
Are you the builder of the homes?
See the men left their wives alone at home,
The women should be long gone by now,
What’s holding them back?
Ha! The women are smiling.
They are weaving their baskets.
It’s like they have forgotten that the men are not there at home,
The homesteads are still alive.
Woman, what is sustaining you?
Gone Rural feeds me.
Where do you take your food?
I make my products and I get money to buy my food.
Who dresses you?
Gone Rural dresses me.
Ha! Gone Rural, you are the wall of the homesteads.
Gone Rural, tell me who are you?
Who really are you?
Even the youth, Gone Rural, do you take care of them also?
The youth are not idle. They are also weaving. Gone Rural, who are you?
The youth are able to survive.
Who really are you? Tell me.
It’s like you are everything in the lives of the women and the youth.
Women of power.