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Culture, Music

Busi Mhlongo’s Left Foot

by Nathan Zeno / 21.07.2009

Busi Mhlongo played the BAT center this last weekend. I went with the intentions of writing a serious critical breakdown of the woman’s awesomeness. I failed. Busi simply destroyed my ability to think critically. I even failed to take photographs, other than this one of her foot. Go figure.

The pull of Busi is so strong that there were even some who couldn’t afford the R150 ticket price but went down to the BAT to stand outside just to hear her. Inside, the auditorium was beyond packed. Packed to the point of it becoming a single undulating organism. Being the white boy I am, I do not have the words to describe Busi’s music. You hear phrases like Urban Zulu Queen being tossed around, but even that comes nowhere near the command she has over a crowd. Why she doesn’t perform more is a mystery to me, because her love for audience is infectious and clearly a great joy to her.

Dancing is so much a part of Busi’s music that as the gig reached its climax, audience members were climbing on stage to dance with her. And one by one she helped them up, foot stomping with them, as the drummer leaned forward to see, to get the timing right to boom his drums as their foot came down. Everyone was welcome and everyone was involved. I couldn’t understand a word of what was being sung but I understood the music. No, sorry Busi’s music understood me.

Clearly failing in this task has led us to ask Neil Comfort to write a short piece on Busi’s return to the stage. This will appear on Friday.

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