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Phillippa Yaa de Villiers

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Archive for the ‘Botswana’ Category

Gito Baloi’s legacy: Beyond here and now

gito-baloi-singing-reducedbeyond-04.jpgI was lucky enough to MC a unique event last week: the first press launch of Beyond featuring Gito Baloi, four years after his death. Family friend and producer and steelpan player, Dave Reynolds, kindly invited me to participate in what was a moving ceremony: part memorial, part jol, part unveiling of the legacy of an extraordinary man.

It was a family affair attended by Gito’s widow, artist Erika Hibbert, and their daughters Lorha and Tiva. It was painful and delightful to once again be bathed with Gito’s haunting voice and sweet bass lines.

I was reminded of the man and his art: deeply connected to a universal spirituality, Gito’s music was ahead of its time, transcending barriers and labels to celebrate unity and harmony.

Hosted by the tasteful and cutting edge restaurant Soulsa, and in the spirit of goodwill consolidated by the efforts of Sheer Sound and JT Communications, Beyond was ushered in by a small group of press. In his speech, producer Reynolds thanked the many musicians who had donated their time and creativity to bring Beyond to life.

The guests at the launch were entertained by a small group of magnificent musicians including the scintillating Paul Hanmer on keyboard, Dave Reynolds on steelpans, Bernice Boikanyo on drums, Makati Molekwa on bass, and the divine Pedro da Silva Pinto (ex 340 ml) lent his voice to the evening. To hear the music again interpreted and immortalized by such fine musicians was moving.

I felt Gito entering the room, placing his hands on the shoulders of each member of his family, before loping to the door to lean against the frame, bopping his head to the rhythm, his eyes closed, his broad mouth curved in an appreciative smile as he heard, once again, the tunes that he loved, carried forward by his brothers in music.

Heaven on earth

When you fell,
you fell into a melody
of your own making.

You slipped through the night
into a universe calibrated by
luminous music.

Long ago
when you were first
woven into flesh,
you heard the hidden harmonies
of your soul’s destiny.
And when the world opened itself up to you
you spoke them out aloud
you sang them
you played them

If you are a farmer,
plant me in the sweet soil of your music
and watch me grow. Transform me
till a thousand butterflies come to my
flower head
to eat my honey out.

(for Gito Baloi and all musicians)

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