Abdullah Ibrahim Talking Jazz
Pianist Abdullah Ibrahim, a.k.a. Dollar Brand, has an aura about him that recalls the mystical, and his speech is hypnotic to listen to and metaphorical in content. Yet his explanation, for example, of music theory in terms of the relationships between the father, the mother and the child was not only unexpected but, also, so simple that one could immediately grasp why some popular songs succeed (or, indeed, become the basis for jazz standards) while others fail; there are, perhaps, some basic, internal themes that cultures carry with them (possibly related to what Ibrahim calls the “silent music”) and when these themes are articulated, like chords strummed on some great cosmic harp, the general population quite naturally responds. In any case, this all seems plausible when sitting across the piano from a man who carries in him both the joy of South African Township music and the despair of the apartheid system, with unbending dignity and a kind of offhand predisposition to laugh at the ridiculousness of Western theory.