Originating from the eastern part of Cape Town, South Africa, Amampondo, meaning "the people of Pondo" take pride in sharing traditional South African music with the world.  While a good number of musicians and groups out of Africa head for the mainstream music scene, the eleven-person percussion and dance group of 22 years strive to preserve traditional South African music. In addition to the historical musical instruments, they also share their history through the words of their songs. Not o­nly will Amampondo be remembered in the musical history books in years to come, you may also find their name o­n Nelson Mandala's list of favorite musicians. They also performed background music for a poem recital by Desmond Tutu after he won the Nobel Peace Prize. Amampondo's show at the Kola Note last July 10, which was entirely acoustic, was absolutely mesmerizing. You may not be courageous enough to get up o­n the dance floor and risk being invited o­n stage to dance, but you won't be able to help but sway in your chair or tap your foot, hand or any other body part to the beat of the music. Amampondo is not o­nly passionate about their music and performances, but also about their audience. In a short interview, the group's producer, Chris Lewis told us that the filled to capacity venues along with the crowd reaction and participation bring tears to Amampondoâs eyes. The music is fabulous and infectious. The energy of the group is never ending as they pound away at their drums and play their various instruments. Their voices are melodic and the sounds of wilderness made me feel like I was out in the wild. And the dancing·simply amazing!  Not o­nly can they sing and dance, but also at the end the show, o­ne of the members performed some interesting acrobatics and then finished off the show by doing a handstand. He walked across the stage in this position, then descended from the stage into the audience (still in this position!) and then did some kind of fancy flip back o­nto the stage! This group truly catches the attention and the hearts of all music lovers, whether they have an interest in African Music or not. The band will be traveling for the rest of the week to places like New York and Washington, but will return to Montreal for an outdoor show o­n Saturday, July 21 at Place Emilie-Gamelin (St. Catherine East corner Berri). They will hit the stage at 9:15pm – A show not to be missed. It's free. You can also pick up their new CD "Vuyani" (which means celebrate) in stores now.

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