TRACK 1 : AFRICAN SUNRISE
The first track on the “Under the Marula Tree” album, “African Sunrise”, is the unmistakable music of the African bush as it rises to the new day, the call of the Gorgeous Bush-Shrike, harmonizing with the cooing of the Emerald Spotted Wood Dove. This introduces the Taylor guitar arpeggio notes which carry you into a crescendo of strings evoking the first rays of the sun bathing the landscape. We hear the day break into its full glory as the panflute erupts into a joyful melody. Welcome to another day in Africa!
TRACK 2 : THE LIONS ROAR
The lion is the king of Africa and on the track, “The Lions Roar”, his familiar vocals can be heard announcing his claim and leading into an uptempo African percussive beat. The guitar riff leads into a forceful melody featuring majestic saxophone lines. Just as it should be there is respect, and perhaps a little touch of fear. On this track, South Africa’s national bird, the Blue Crane, and the largest eagle, the Martial Eagle, are his praise singers, proclaiming the King.
TRACK 3 : GRAZING ANTELOPE
“Grazing Antelope” is a gentle song full of hope and energy. The Celtic tones of the Lowden guitar are a perfect complement to the African rhythms. The Zulu chant resonates with the percussive beat. The Diedricks Cuckoo and the Red Chested Cuckoo add their melodic punctuation, sweet and familiar, conjuring a sundrenched morning.
TRACK 4 : THE MIGHTY BUFFALO
“The Mighty Buffalo” starts with the thunder of hooves as the herd stampedes through a cascade of guitar harmonics against rhythmic strings and a keyboard beat. The African Hoopoe calls to introduce the song and the Black-collared Barbets bid farewell as the mighty hooves fade into the distance.
TRACK 5 : MARCH OF THE ELEPHANTS
“The March of the Elephants” is a true celebration of the power, rhythm and majesty of this magnificent animal. Imagine the scene, the end of the day and the heat slowly mellows as the sun dips down. Suddenly there is a tremor in the earth and out of the dust marches a huge herd of elephants, thirsty, exuberant, thundering down on the waterhole. Their joy and excitement is contagious.
A classic Russian polka gives the beat and is complimented by African tones from the xylophone and cowbell. The Scandalli accordion conjures up the steady march of the elephants feet harmonized with sweeping strings recorded on the classic 80’s Yamaha DX7 synthesizer.
TRACK 6 : WARTHOG WISDOM
In a complete change of tempo the “Warthog Wisdom” is a cheerful song, upbeat and energetic with a touch of whimsy. Inspired by the most famous warthog of them all, Pumba, it is light and witty. Starting with an African Swing it will get your feet tapping and fingers snapping and bring a smile to your face. Listen for the mouth harp, a instrument of yesteryear, and the dulcet tones of the laughing dove.
TRACK 7 : THE WATERHOLE
At the waterhole the entire food chain gather in a celebration of the the giver of life, water. In the song “The Waterhole” the music shaker and off beat Latin Congo drums conjure up the nervous energy of the antelope as they approach. The slap style bass signals the rising tension as the predators arrive, mingling suspense, fear and excitement. All must refresh themselves at this meeting place, friends will greet and enemies challenge.
TRACK 8 : THE CACKLING HYENA
The track “The Cackling Hyena” is inspired by the iconic spotted hyena call, the whoop that makes your hair stand up, reverberating across the plains as the sun sets. It is an uptempo running melody, with rich tones from the superb Taylor 814ce acoustic guitar, that conjures a hyena pack on the move. The percussive section builds to an eerie high pitched keynote which resonates with the hyenas call. To celebrate its famous vocal talent, this is the one track where the animal call runs consistently through the whole song, a guest vocalist if you like, with harmonies courtesy of the Grey Go Away bird as a rowdy counterpoint.
TRACK 9 : FLIGHT OF THE FISH EAGLE
The call of the African Fish Eagle is one sound which resonates with all South Africans. The song, “Flight of the Fish Eagle” reverberates through the strings of the Lowden f25c guitar followed by the soaring flight with sweeping strings and keyboard melody. The Fish Eagles’ cry provides sweet musical punctuation.
TRACK 10 : CROCODILE TEARS
“Crocodile Tears” is our Jazz song. It is upbeat and catchy with all the appeal of big band swing. Who knows it may even get you on the dance floor!
TRACK 11 : A GIRAFFES JOURNEY
The track “A Giraffes Journey” celebrates this gentle creature with just a touch of humor thrown in. A classic swing tempo with a strong bass line recreates the rolling gait of this elegant animal. The Scandalli accordion was used to add a French flair and African undertone. The strong percussive guitar riff joins the verses and chorus recreating the journey of giraffe across the African savannah.
TRACK 12 : THE HUMAN HUNT
The unmistakable, and melodic, clicks of the Khoisan language begin the musical story of “The Human Hunt”. It is a story of respect and gratitude. The hunt is an event in which the whole community participates. From gentle anticipation through patient stalking of the prey, the tension mounts to the musical crescendo of the successful kill. Grateful celebrations follow, rejoicing in the gift of food and life.
TRACK 13 : THE LAST RHINO
“The Last Rhino “is a majestic song with strong rhythm and bass complimented by guitar arpeggios, strings , keyboard and xylophone. Acoustic percussion adds texture to the beat, building tension into an uplifting melody. The purple turaco can be heard in the background with its crescendo “ko ko ko” cry so familiar to us. These birds are fruitarian and often live around the waterholes where the rhino come to drink
TRACK 14 : HIPPOPOTAMUS BLUES
In “Hippopotamus Blues” we have a song which combines various musical techniques. A simple guitar riff is followed by a bluesy chord progression and punctuated by a cappella percussion. The image of a lumbering hippo dissolves into the grace of a lyrical underwater ballet. In the background the Burchells Coucal calls for rain and the Water Thick-knee pipes his whistling crescendo
TRACK 15 : LEOPARDS LAMENT
“The Leopards Lament” is a stunning group of acoustic guitar, strings and delicate piano riffs running in descending scales and wonderful melody lines. The hooting call of the Spotted Eagle Owl and rustling leaves conjures up the still African night alive with the silent hunt
TRACK 16 : AFRICAN SUNSET
Every unique and sundrenched day in Africa culminates in the glory of the African sunset. The final track, “African Sunset”, celebrates this final burst of colour before night draws its curtain on the African veld. The Firey-necked night jar calls as we gather around the fire to listen to the familiar animal sounds piercing the night. An African instrumental melody lends atmosphere to this quality time for reflection and socializing. Finally with the fire embers dying, Africa goes to sleep…. yet a new day awaits