Indodana is the third CD album of the University of Pretoria Camerata under the director of Michael Barrett. It is a compilation of Traditional South African works, all newly arranged and composed for the choir by the conductor. The album was recorded over two years and was released at the annual Gala Concert on 14 July 2017. It was nominated for a South African Music Award (SAMA) in 2018 for Best Traditional Music Album. The choirs previous two albums, namely Phoenix (2014) and Love and War (2016) mainly contained repertoire from the Western idiom and in order to remain relevant, it was decided to produce a CD of purely traditional South African Music. The aim of the CD is to contribute to South African Choral Literature and provide a source of reference for choirs hoping to perform these songs, be they local or international. The majority of the songs on this album have been transcribed and as a result published internationally, providing both the musical reference (CD) and the written score for choirs to perform.
Indodana is a collection of traditional South African songs that is reflective of our multi-cultural society and contains selections from seven of the nine official traditional language groups. The album was recorded over a period of two years, allowing for extensive research into the study of the various languages as well as the subtle nuance in the approach to performing the music as authentically as possible. The album contains two different approaches to the compositional writing and performance of the songs and can be described as traditional and fusion works. The majority of the songs on the album are representations of traditional South African music such as Tuba, Bayasibiza and Siyalobola. These are performed with simple harmonic progressions, are highly rhythmical and utilise traditional compositional techniques, such as call-and-response, layering of voices and parts (including djembe drums, vocal percussion and shakers), and the use of repetition. The harmonic language has been adapted to largely remove parallel movement (which traditional occurs between the Soprano and Bass parts) and a more Western approach is used. Each work is also constructed and arranged so that it can be performed as an individual work thus resulting in standardising the performance of each song. In a traditional setting, music is not intended for concert performance and thus this applied structure can be seen as a Western compositional technique. In contrast to the more traditional songs, Indodana, Mangisondele Nkosi Yam, Ndikhokhele Bawo and to an extent Thixo Onothando are best described as compositions that are a fusion between traditional and western compositional and performance techniques. These songs have traditional melodies (and are performed in their original languages), and are arranged using a Western harmonic palette which includes cluster chords, dense texture of voices (written up to 16 different parts), dissonance and many inversions. Aleatoric, the use of canon, written in dynamic markings, and precise performance techniques contribute to these songs being a fusion between Western and Traditional approaches.
The diversity of our society, combined with a country’s love for choral singing was the aim for creating these compositions. This has resulted in the creation of a new approach to arranging traditional songs, with a unique colour palette and fresh approach to the actual performance. These new adaptions are an important addition to South African Choral Literature – something that is greatly needed. In an ever-changing political, social and economic landscape, it is imperative that organisations and communities (like the University of Pretoria – and by extension the Tuks Camerata), portrays the diverse image that our country has to offer.
This was performed at the Musiaon, University of Pretoria, South Africa on 14 July 2017