Gumboots – Original Touring Cast Recording
Darkness. On the streets of Soweto, a dozen voices sing thanks to the man who changed the face of South Africa forever and led his country from darkness to light – Nelson Mandela. These voices belong to the gumboot dancers of Soweto, who have taken the traditional dance of the mine workers and made it their own. This is their rhythm – Salute. Sometimes when they dance, they think about the mine workers who, one hundred years ago, were the original gumboot dancers. In honor of the past, they sing a miners’ song – Ta La Lila Le. The dancers acknowledge the darkness: in the mines, the only sun the miners saw was the light on the front of a mining helmet – The Man Who Stole The Sun. In the helmet light, the dancers imagine what it would have been like to be a mine worker, a man who left his family and traveled thousands of miles in search of work in the fabled city of gold, Johannesburg – Joburg. Now, as fully-fledged mine workers, the dancers sing a traditional working song (Shosholoza) and a song of praise to the city that gives them work – Egoli, City Of Gold. Though they work long hours underground and endure dark, cramped conditions, once they are back on the surface, the miners still find time and energy to party – Sibiziwe. The mining compound is an all-male environment but sometimes, through the iron gates, the miners see a beautiful woman passing and admire her beauty especially if she has a gleaming set of white teeth! – Amazinyo Amphlophe. Seeing this beautiful woman makes the miners think of their own loved ones back home, and they send this love song through the mountains – Singing Through The Mountains. The miners entertain each other by pretending to be suitors impressing imaginary girlfriend I – I’m Too Sexy. They then sing a song about getting drunk on love! (Mabele) and I indulge in a bit of bump jiving, the seventies township dance that captured the interest of the world – Bump Jive. Late at night there is serious drinking (Uqhuba Isisu), which some cope with better than others (Dronkie, Dronkie), before the miners conduct an impromptu gumbooting competition and resolve to sober up in time for the new day’s work. As dawn approaches a train arrives, bringing new workers from different places. The only language they share is rhythm – Train. One of these workers contemplates past sufferings. He knows that the bottle tops a gumboot dancer wears around his ankles are not just percussive instruments – they are a reminder of lost freedom – Nelson Mandela (Reprise). He also knows it is possible for a great man to inspire the rebuilding of a country – Omm Ohh Ho La La, The Water Dance. The miner pays tribute to all the men who have lived and died in the mines – Hiyo! Hiyo! He realizes that for these men there was one enemy even more feared than darkness or death: the misery caused by retrenchment. He hears the cry: “Think of my family a thousand miles away!” – Ukuvalwa Kwe Mine, The Closing Of The Mine. With the closing of the mine, the gumboot dancers must return to their lives in Soweto and sing about what they have learned from their mining ancestors: never give up hope and work hard for your children – Asikhathali, We Don’t Get Tired. The dancers perform their final routine (Wait! Waitee!) and then, in the blazing light of day, sing a gumboot prayer: “keep me strong, give me long life, and let me live in the sun – Ma Gumede.
Vincent Ncabashe Thami Nkwanyane Samuel KK Nene Nicholas Nene Sipho Ndlela Thulu Mkhize Lloyd Rathebe Brian Muzi Nkosi Thabiso Setlhatlole Mfana Jones Hlophe