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Country South Africa Genres roots traditional Website Festival Sauti za Busara 2014 Recordings
African Kings, 2008
Dizu Plaatjies, the son of a Xhosa traditional healer, grew up in the Cape Town township of Langa in South Africa. Behind his warm smile is a serious and spiritual person. He is the founder and former leader of South Africa’s internationally celebrated marimba group, Amampondo.
Dizu’s compositions and arrangements of traditional songs appear on 7 albums by his former group. After over 15 years of touring with Amampondo he recorded his first solo album in 2005, entitled, Ibuyambo. The CD was released together with a stage show. This event featured Dizu with most of the players with whom he recorded the album, performing in his hallmark body paint and featuring dance and costumes inspired by traditional outfits of the peoples of the southern African region.
On the album Dizu has liberally mixed various traditional African instruments and songs with his own original lyrics and melodies. For example on the title track, Ibuyambo, he has arranged a melody from Zimbabwe for marimbas associated with Mozambique and placed a Congolese choir over the instruments. On Equonce, he applies elements of Hip-Hop music and the tongue clicks of the San people, to the rural chant from a children’s game. In this way he has created a unique neo-traditional blend of sounds.
Since going solo he has done several international tours including being chosen to showcase his group at the Womex in Seville, and shows in Canada, France, Germany, Algeria, Morocco, Oman and a 3 week-long tour in Holland. This year he played the prestigious Rainforest World Music festival in Malaysia and the WOMAD in the UK.
His second solo recording, African Kings is a project using traditional instruments (Mbira, Uhadi, Umhube, Akadinda – to name a few) and the maskandi-style acoustic guitar. The production approach is more contemporary than his previous neo-traditional recordings. The album won a prestigious SAMA award in May 2009 as the Best Alternative African Album.
As a teacher, he has recently visited the USA, Australia, and Scandinavia to lead workshops. He has performed in the Czech Republic, where his collaboration with local folk artist Jiri Pavlica has made Dizu a major attraction in that country being awarded a gold record for their recordings together.
His current live act (known as Dizu Plaatjies and the Ibuyambo Ensemble) of multi-instrumentalists covers repertoire from his work of over 25 years while always offering something fresh. There is singing and dancing and performance using many rare and wonderful African instruments he has collected in his career.
When not touring he spends his time teaching at the University of Cape Town’s Music College.Dizu Plaatjies appears at Sauti za Busara with the support of Mountain Records