The Zulu Lightning Round

Drawing on the success of the Johannesburg Biennales of the nineties, local chemist/ composer, Dimitri Voudouris, decided that it was time to bring attention to South African electronic musicians by connecting them with other internationally-renowned talents. Hoping to promote experimentation and interdisciplinary collaboration, he initiated the Unyazi Festival, so--named for the Zulu word for 'lightning' (there is no non-anglo word for 'electricity,' in South Africa--an absence with spiritual connotations). Unyazi will be the first festival of electronic music and sonic art in Africa. Local highlights include interactive pieces from Toni Olivier's Studio for Interactive Sound, a collaboration between loop masters Carlo Mombelli and Joao Orecchia, and more experimental trips by the likes of James Webb, Chris Wood, Pops Mohammed, and Brendon Bussy. Pioneering performers include American-Egyptian Professor Halim El-Dabh--who began his tape work in North Africa in the '40s--and Pauline Oliveros, an American philosopher and composer who works with a concept she calls 'Deep Listening.' The festival will feature a broad slate of workshops, multimedia theatre, interesting music, and film, all of which students and teachers can attend free. The storm is coming. The lightning round begins September 1st. - Nathaniel Stern