One of my favourite quotes by writer Lindokuhle Nkosi goes: “Music is the purest medicine of the Gods.” Indie folk artists have a heightened sense of self-awareness, and that is a trait that makes them unique. Our very own African folksongs that emanate from Limpopo have given us timeless sonic healing. Those songs have themes of embracing the homeland, curating heritage and most importantly reverence of the elders. Let us reflect on the hypnotic sounds of Selaelo Selota, Umanji and the new talent gracing the cover, Muneyi- who epitomises the new wave of VhaVenda indie folk. They are openly queer, gifted and eloquent.
It just takes one track to sweep me off my feet, and that is my love language. Working on this issue compels me to be conscious of my truth as I am deeply inspired by Muneyi’s depth, striking honesty and vulnerability. I had the honour to study Muneyi’s live performances and they are filled with wisdom nuggets, as if you are attending a philosophy lecture. Muneyi is a powerful orator, and uses every chance to conscientise the audience on his upbringing in the rural part of South Africa (Venda). That has influenced his perspective of the world (authorship) and sound (aesthetic). Like an elder, Muneyi imparts wisdom through folksongs, and is not shy to brag about his wonderful grandmother who raised him.
The reverence of elders is what makes many indie folksingers custodians of truth, and compels the audience to confront whatever pain they are experiencing. They have life lessons to share and many stories to tell. There is a certain trait that alternative artists possess and we need to celebrate that magic, and be conscious of it. I remember the days when I was down and out; a 20-minute performance video on YouTube by Saylahsee (of Kajama duo) calmed my nerves and anxiety. I slept wonderfully on those cold and unforgiving nights because of an incredible indie artist. Indie folk music is known to communicate uncomfortable truths and for listeners, this means not being afraid to do thorough shadow-work or in simpler terms, grasping a society’s psyche and revealing the wound bare as it is. I urge you to pick any indie folk artist and study them. You would write an entire dissertation.
On Psychology Today, there are five basic love languages: words of affirmation (assurance and appreciation), acts of service (compassion), receiving gifts, quality time and physical touch. I treasure words of affirmation because nothing beats a good mantra matched with soothing music, those are my love languages. I urge you to be self-aware of your love language to reveal more layers in you like a folksinger.
There are a million love languages to explore and find healing, or maintain a blissful life. The key is to be conscious and celebrate it. I came to accept that spirituality and music are my biggest love languages best for my healing, in the present and future.
I hope you experience the joy that comes with being conscious of your surroundings, and knowing what you love. “Self-awareness is a superpower.” – Kathy LaDonna