Tribute to Solomon Linda

Tribute to Solomon Linda - Music of South Africa Tribute to...

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Music of South Africa Tribute to Solomon Linda’s Musical Masterpiece What would you do if you were diagnosed with a disease that was curable but you weren’t able to afford treatment? In the case of Solomon Linda, a man who lived in poverty all his life, he wasn’t able to do anything. He was a composer who led a happy life and died at a young age from kidney disease. About 8,000 miles away in the United States there was a man a songwriter like himself who made millions of dollars with one song. This song’s underlying tune came from Solomon Linda, who couldn’t obtain legal rights because he was a black South African. Exploitation, the act unfairly for one’s selfish advantage; this is my definition toward some of the American’s that took advantage of this man. I am about to present to you a case about life, death, poverty, exploitation, injustice and justice. Who is Solomon Linda? Solomon Popoli Linda was born in 1909 in Msinga, a rural area in Natal. Growing up in his grandmother’s home, he attended Gordon Memorial School and herded cattle. Living in poverty all his life, he moved to Johannesburg where he worked in a furniture store and sang in a choir called the Evening Birds, led by his uncles Solomon and Amon Madondo. After a few years he formed a group Solomon Linda and the Evening Birds , a group that was known to be “one of the most successful and most innovatory isicathamiya groups of all time 1 .” His choir had multiple parts: bass, alto, tenor, and soprano. Three members, Gideon Mkhize, Samuel Mlangeni, and Owen Sikhakhane sang bass to ensure that it was the most powerful sound in the choir. Gilbert Madondo and Boy Sibiya sang the alto and tenor, while Solomon Linda sang the lead part which 1 Muller? 1
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Music of South Africa was the falsetto part. This isicathamiya group wore something unique that no other group wore. They wore pinstripe suits and bowler hats rather than the typical baggy trousers called “Oxford bags.” Up to this day the elegant dress that Solomon Linda and the Evening Birds once wore make the successful isicathamiya performances one of the main attractions. They performed for ten shillings at weddings, and then started attending choir competitions and concerts. There they performed a wide variety of songs about crime, working conditions, banks robbing the poor people, and white mistreatment toward black South Africans. Over time they gained recognition and won almost all choir competitions they attended. In 1939, Linda began working for Eric Gallo as a packer in one of the opened record-pressing plants in South Africa; little did Linda know that this would be the place he would work in until he died. That same year one of Gallo’s talent scouts became interested in Linda and the Evening Birds, it is where they recorded Mbube , a song that would become one of the most famous in South Africa. Over the years the song evolved into different songs and became famous. By 1959, Linda was diagnosed of kidney
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This note was uploaded on 08/18/2011 for the course MUS 307 taught by Professor Heflin during the Spring '07 term at University of Texas.

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Tribute to Solomon Linda - Music of South Africa Tribute to...

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