This was a nicely blended, somewhat mellow and seemingly quite finished recording by Abdullah Ibrahim with Carlos Ward (alto sax, flute), Essiet Okun Essiet (bass), and Don Mumford (drums) called Zimbabwe. Interspaced with non-originals were four Ibrahim compositions, most of which were inspired by the imagery
from Ibrahim's South African roots.
- Bob Rusch, Cadence (All Music Guide)
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Saint-The sounds of the "ghoma liedjies" (drum songs) can be heard for miles during the four days of Easter. The children frolicking in the "kali" (stream) at the mouth of the Eerste River outside Capetown, the older people matchmaking and gossiping, and the young people eyeing each other was a ritual that went back to 1694 when Kramat, Sant, Sheik Jusuf was exiled to the Cape with 49 of his mujahedeen (muslim soldiers).
The Kramat has always been used as a source of spiritual renewal for the Cape muslims since those early days when the Dutch East-India Company ship "Voetboog" landed at the Cape. Often called the poor man's Mecca, the tomb of the Kramat, Sheik Jusuf, inspired the muslims during times when their oppressors were legislating them into the role of non-persons. The depth of the rythyms first heard at the Kramat can be heard throughout the folk music of South Africa blending with the traditional music. The bond between the people of Makassar Beach in the Cape and the people of Makassar Island in the Makassar Straits of Celebes, Indonesia, is kept strong by the music that lives in their souls and the faith of Islam that lives in their hearts.
-Zane Ibrahim (Cape Muslim Historian. Nanaimo, B.C., Canada)
Kramat is one of the score of traditional songs I remember from my childhood in Cape Town, South Africa. We sang them in the "nagtroepe" (night troops) and carnival minstrels, "coons," during the festive season. The song has many verses depending on what part of the Cape one is from. For this occasion we have chosen "Hoe gaan die Padjie na die Kramat toe?" (How does the road lead to the Kramat?)
Bombella - the train that carries black migrant workers to and from the gold mines of South Africa.
Zimbabwe - the ancient spirit of Africa.
For Coltrane, No. 11- part of an extended work dedicated to our beloved, departed friend.
-Al Hajj Abudullah Ibrahim