09 December 2010 by Dianne Tipping-Woods

Music always finds a way

It’s a typical Saturday morning in Mamelodi. There is bustle everywhere and music in the air. We’re on our way to meet a man at a school. His name is Moses Mogale.

We heard the latest CD from Moses’s band at a mutual friend’s house a few weeks ago. It is called “Forget Me Not” and we loved it. The mutual friend invited us to come and meet Moses and some of the young musicians from Mamelodi that he coaches on Saturday mornings. My partner was instructed to bring his guitar.

We arrive to the sound of instruments being tuned and music spilling out from the classrooms. A striking young woman in a turquoise and white polka dot dress carries an amp across the yard. We follow her and a tall, smartly dressed young man with a guitar, into a classroom where we find Moses.

“Welcome, call me Moss,” he says while tuning the guitar he has been playing for the last 26 years.

We meet Daisy and Tshonofelo, who, along with my partner, will spend the morning jamming with Moss. The fact that he’s used to playing with people like Ernest Mothle, Kippie Moeketsi, Duke Makasi, Barney Rachabane, Stompie Manana, Allan Kwela, Lefifi Tladi and Bheki Mseleku could be a little intimidating, but Moss soon has everyone feeling comfortable.

“Let’s see what we can find to play,” he says with a slow smile. While amps are being plugged in and instruments adjusted, he starts playing the chords for ‘House of the Rising Sun’, explaining that “music is a beautiful way to communicate. It brings people together, it helps us understand one another, anywhere in the world…”

One by one, each guitar joins in, nice and easy, as Moss gets a feel for the mood and capabilities of the musicians in the room. “Like this he says,” directing them, drawing the music out of them. “Try it like this,” he says, working with Tshonofelo. Then, “Daisy, take it away…”

Each musician introduces variations to the theme and they move from song to song together, including some tracks from “Forget Me Not”. It’s a privilege to watch and listen as one of South Africa’s greatest Jazz musicians spends a morning jamming with a stranger and some students as though it’s the most natural and enjoyable thing in the world…

“There is never enough money for new instruments or profit from the CDs,” says Moss, but as the sessions spills over into the afternoon, I begin to understand Moss’s conviction that the music always find a way.

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