Musicians want more air time for traditional music

Sne Masuku

Sne Masuku

Traditional musicians say radio station don't play their music equally with other music genres.

This lack of commitment by radio stations, including the SABC, to play traditional music came under the spotlight at the South African Traditional Music Awards (Satma) nominations function at the weekend.

At the event, held at Gallagher Estate in Midrand, artists and organisers were unanimous in the view that local content on all the radio stations should feature local traditional music.

A member of the popular mas'kandi group Shwi Nomtekhala, who this year had been nominated in two categories - best song of the year and best-selling album of the year - said traditional music was not an easy genre.

Zwelenduna Magubane, aka Mtekhala, said making it big in traditional music was very hard for up-and-coming musicians.

"Only traditional music by well-known musicians is played on television and radio stations.

"This prevents most of the newcomers in the industry from realising their dreams," he said.

He added, however, that the lack of air time for traditional music could not be blamed entirely on radio stations.

He believes that recording companies should also work harder in promoting artists.

The group's new album Angimazi Ubaba has sold more than 3000 copies.

SABC's head of group strategy, Sipho Sithole, urged musicians who could show that their music was not being played on SABC to speak out.

He said even the SABC was guilty of not playing enough traditional music.

He said SABC TV had only one traditional music show, Roots, which was broadcast once a week.

"We are aware that this is not enough, and there are plans to change this," he said.

He said there were allegations that some SABC officials accepted bribes from musicians to play their music.

"We encourage musicians who encounter such difficulties to come out in the open and expose such people," he said.

The awards ceremony will be held on September 29.