Garth Erasmus - Threnody for the KhoiSan [vinyl]

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Premiera: 05.06.2024

Garth Erasmus is an artist and musician based in Cape Town, South Africa. 'Threnody for the KhoiSan' is his first album under his own name. Since 1985 his artistic interests have broadened to include music-making, designing and making his own instruments based on indigenous KhoiSan knowledge. From 1999 to 2012 he was a member of the South African First Nation activist group Khoi Khonnexion. In the past couple of years Garth Erasmus has also been a pivotal part of various international performance pieces and exhibition projects which brought him regularly to Europe. Most of these activities were developed and performed in collaboration with the Hamburg based band Kante and his band Khoi Khonnexion. In April 2024 Garth Erasmus will be part of the group exhibtion 'Oscillations' at Akademie der Künste, Berlin.

His works in music are predominantly characterized by a restless quest for alternative forms of expression and materials including self build instruments, field recordings or various electronic music devices.

In this context the music on 'Threnody for the KhoiSan' takes on a primal and metaphorical meaning. Rather than a formal, physical initiation, this process is more spiritually inclined, yet it is a spirituality which is consistently put into action.. “Ever since I was an art student I have experimented with alternative materials to release me from the Western education values I received. When I started to make these instruments in the 1980s, my intention was to create art objects but when I discovered the sound they made, it unlocked a door that transported me deeper in my quest in the realization that I was on the right path.

In fact all instruments which appear on 'Threnody for the KhoiSan' are products of a process of discovery starting from square one. All this is based and founded on the beauty of simplicity and minimalism as symbolized by the single string Khoisan musical bow and arrow as trance musical instrument. In this sense it soon became manisfest for Garth Erasmus to combine the bow instruments with various electronic instruments. Besides developing his own unique language in music he also shared an expressed interested in experimental sound aesthecis, Avantgarde composition and Free Jazz. However, his non-academic approach towards sound and music was always fueled by the desire for a reconnection to the land and to the indigenious knowledge of the KhoiSan, whose struggle for First Nation status continues.

Song for Morenga
This song is dedicated to a guerilla leader, named Jacob Morenga, who was the leader of the nama/herero anti-german uprisings that occured between 1904 and 1907.

Amaseh Amen
This is a classic mouthbow piece that conjures the spiritual nature of Khoisan cultural praxis.

Gwaing Reverie
It was composed as a personal gift to the other members of newly formed electro-acoustic trio „Gwaing". „Gwaing" is an ancient Khoisan place name, meaning the mouth of the river.

Mcinci Song
A typical meditation on the traditional Mcinci flute. This flute was originally played by shepherds and was made of reed.

The Ascension of Milford Graves
This piece attends to capture the risen spirit of the legendary African American drummer Milford Graves. It was composed soon after his death in 2021.

Song for The Sisters of the Soil
A live improvisation dedicated to Lucelle and Melissa (The Sisters of the Soil) on the occasion of visiting them at their residence, known as „Oppieyaart" on the Cape Flats. On 10 September 2022 there is an online event with them at Kunsthaus Hamburg.