It is with pride and sadness that we announce the graduation of Elwood The Apprentice, our own ‘Special Star’, from the ranks of the Harp Surgery crew. Having contributed a vibrant and ground-breaking series of posts to our site, Elwood will be returning to his African homeland where he will focus on issues of economics, conservation and development. As we bid Elwood a fond farewell, we would like to share with you a joyful piece of music he once introduced to the Surgery. While it doesn’t feature the harmonica, it does spotlight our woodwind cousin, the Penny Whistle.
Regular visitors will already know of our penchant for good-time sounds. Harp Surgery pages have featured Rory McLeod’s Farewell Welfare, Paolo Nutini’s Pencil Full Of Lead, and of course Elwood’s own post about Hey Negrita. As Thomas Carlyle put it, if you look deep enough you will see music; the heart of nature being everywhere music. Now roll back the rug and prepare to dance yourself silly to the lekker sound of South African Kwela.
I will be forever yours, you will be forever mine
One dull Spring afternoon at the Surgery, Elwood played an album by Mango Groove that instantly fired our collective passion for South African Kwela music. One track in particular, Special Star, had the The Good Doctor honking his Vuvuzela like a rutting impala, while Otis, Our Monica and The Riverboat Captain danced a ferocious Indlamu routine around the fishtank. The Harp Surgery reception was like a frenzied Friday night in Mandela Square.
Kwela is honest, joyful, and infectious music. Check it out. Special Star was written as a tribute to Johannes ‘Spokes’ Mashiyane, the king of Whistle music. We challenge you to reproduce the whistle melody on the humble diatonic harmonica (it’s in the key of Bb major)!
Thank you Elwood
Farewell to Elwood, the Harp Surgery’s very first Apprentice. Thanks for the energy, fun and insight you brought to our pages. May the road rise with you. Rest assured our door will remain forever open to you. If you’re ever in the neighbourhood drop in.