They have shone a light on the boundless local talent in the far south; they have filled the Farmhouse Rocks Scarborough stage – with waves of wonderful musicians. But for Zoe and Vusa Mazula, the time has come.
The couple and their 9-year-old son Neo are packing up, and swapping the security of home for time together, on the open road on tour all through Africa, to Europe, to Mexico.
When I first met Zoe and Vusa (“Tapping into the heart of community”, Echo, February 20, 2017) they said then that this was a dream of theirs: to travel and collaborate with the myriad of beautiful authentic voices they find, along the road.
They generously gave the far south their vital energies; now their vision is being fine-tuned; and they are going to do some slow-walking, in the sun.
Years ago they each chose the other over their respective groups and material allures of their London life. “It wasn’t even a choice really,” Zoe says.
For Zoe and Vusa, who perform as Mazula, the only choice was their love, their authenticity, their true voices. This meant that they could live close to the land, in the lap of Table Mountain, raise Neo in a natural environment, work on music that rises from their heartspace and speaks to everyone – rather than fit a mold. This gave them time too, to incubate a little among fellow free musicians; to listen and ruminate and grow.
“There was a confluence of events which led to this happening now – but it is definitely the beginning of our long-held intention,” Vusa says.
Vusa likens their journey ahead to that of a river. “We were listening to a talk by Justin Friedman from For the Love of Water (FLOW) and it struck me how much of our capacity as human beings lies in water. I wondered about the significance of that; so I thought, what does water do? It flows. And the answer is, it is never still or it becomes stagnant. Movement is
absolutely vital to its health, and so too to ours as humans. So with what we are doing now, music, love and water are travelling together,” he said.
Zoe says it this way: “We decided with Mazula it is not about a record company or being famous or getting out a product or a brand – it is literally a journey. We’ve forgotten that about
creativity, and life – it’s not about that ideal at the end. It’s the process – that day-to-day moment to moment process that makes it beautiful.”
Zoe and Vusa will wend their way through Africa first, making vlogs and documenting their experiences and collaborating with artists in all the places they find themselves, and producing and releasing these songs as they go. Their hope is that they
will find the sort of musicians who share their process-oriented approach to music and living along the way.
“I believe we will” Vusa says. “Music has to be one of the singularly unifying things in the world. Music is a universal language. We did a vox pop and walked Cape Town streets asking everyone what music meant to them. One guy summed it up in one word. Everyone said similar – but he said it simply. He said music is
But before they take to the golden roads ahead: they are stopping in for a last home-based collaborative stint in SoundCast Studios in Woodstock, under the watchful eye of Antonio Cencherle who has produced, among others, Crimson House’s work.
Typically, they want to record their album old-school.
“By that, we mean we want to go in and do the songs live. No separate tracks and rehashing the things endlessly in search of this strange human obsession with perfection,” Vusa says.
“We have to embrace our imperfections. And playing like that, you get to capture the way music is made, the way the band feeds off each other and finds that electric rhythm which is the essence of live music; all the old stuff was recorded that way and you felt the music that way.”
Zoe laughs: “I am not sure if we are brave or stupid but we like the idea of a recording – a band making one sound unison and getting it completely on the money the first time – capturing a moment.”
for the last time on Saturday April 14
at Farmhouse Rocks in Scarborough.