The voice is our instrument: Zulu songs

thanda ruth mary

Thanda Gumede with workshoppers Mary and Ruth

The dreary, dull and dampness of Manchester was instantly forgotten as Thandanani Gumede, a Zulu and a South African, magically brought the sunshine into the workshop with his singing.

His name means ‘love everyone’. For us he is Thanda!

As a child he experienced racial segregation, which separated Europeans from non- Europeans. It was  policy of the government at that time. Significantly education for non- Europeans was poor, and failed to many children.

Thanda told us that it was his mother who encouraged him to sing and decided he should go with her to the Gospel church choir. That was the beginning of Thanda’s  interest in learning about music and learning to teach.

Jeni Webster is South African. She is an alto in MCC. She said ‘it was lovely to hear the  Zulu songs’.

Singers commented on how they enjoyed the ‘The Voice is our Instrument’ the talk that Thando gave to introduce the session. He said ‘Vocal maintenance is key’ and that ‘Music and Movement use both sides of the brain and can influence our well being’.

Some of the tools of our instrument are:-the pharynx,the larynx,tongue,nose,the voice box. Blink and breathe! Control of Breath is instinctive! Suck in air through the mouth. Thanda said ‘These are the things that make us exceptional’ when showing us how to make kissing lips for more resonance, when we hummed in parts of the last song.

Final words on this wonderful workshop from singers Lizzie Gent,  ‘Brilliant workshop by Thanda very inspiring and moving” and  Mal Saunders, ‘Challenging songs but great to learn. Loved it.’

Blog by Julie Batten

About Manchester Community Choir

Manchester Community Choir exists to bring together and to encourage people from all sections of the community to sing together and share the joy of song.
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