From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Maskanda (or maskandi) is a kind of Zulu folk music that is evolving with South African society. Ethekwini Online describes it as "The music played by the man on the move, the modern minstrel, today’s troubadour. It is the music of the man walking the long miles to court a bride, or to meet with his Chief; a means of transport. It is the music of the man who sings of his real life experiences, his daily joys and sorrows, his observations of the world. It’s the music of the man who’s got the Zulu blues."

Nowadays this is untrue in as much as it is no longer just the domain of men. African women - notably Busi Mhlongo - are also making maskanda music.

Instrumentation and traditions[edit]

Maskandi is played on cheap, portable instruments, or modern instruments tuned or produced to imitate the polyphonic sounds of the old instruments. Traditionally, a maskandi muso had one song, a long one that evolved as the story of the musician's life grew. Now albums may contain the usual 10-14 tracks, which though they are still way over the three minute mark, are easier for non-"world music" audiences to digest.

Musical style[edit]

Maskanda is distinguished by an instrumental flourish ("izihlabo") that sets the tone at the beginning of each song, in a picked guitar style, and rapidly spoken sections of Zulu praise poetry, called "izibongo". The content is not always praise, though, and with pop, house and other influences colouring maskanda, it has become more about the storytelling ethic and the modern migrant culture, than simply about the musical style.[citation needed]

Composer Darius Brubeck explained: "The Makanda referred to in the title of my work is a performer of neo-traditional Zulu instrumental music. Etymologically the word derives from the Afrikaans musikante(musicians). Natal, a province of South Africa where I have lived and worked for the past decade, is home to literally thousands of 'maskandas', who have developed a rich musical repertoire employing a special style of guitar playing."[1]

Prominent maskandi musicians[edit]


  1. ^ SAMRO(South African Music Rights Organization) SCORES: Darius Brubeck-The Maskanda: 1992: ISBN 0869645870
  2. ^

Amageza Amahle Ithwasa langempela Ofakazi