This is a marimba composition of mine that I have arranged and performed on karimbas. The painting was created during the process of working on the music.
painting: “The Silent Wars” acrylic on canvas 130 x 93 cm 2016 Published by Phillip Nangle.
Moon Full of What?
The day can’t turn into night
The moon’s shining too bright
Unknown sounds mingle, emerge
The man paces
He shakes his head, his leg, his house, his bed
The cosmos rages
Ring around the moon in silent weather
The showdown abates
The kettle boils
Fridge-car, car-fridge-stove, car-fridge,
stove-fridge-car, stove-fridge-car, fridge-stove, car-fridge
Modern Man Chant Main Chorus:
Lead Solo Chanter: (higher pitch, more nasal)
More Chorus Tenor Lead X3
car-stove-fridge-car, kettle, kettle, kettle
Moooooooonn!! said the cow
Moooooooooo! said the car
Mona!! said the man
Monday! said the night
shining light as day
painting nyanganjanja (oil on board) and poem by P. Nangle 2005
The Last Preacher’s Last Sermon.
Preacher: Drunk in quaint country church, empty wine bottles scattered around the pulpit.
The Congregation: Motley, sparse and rowing with oars attached to the pews which have been re-arranged into the shape of a sea vessel.
Gob. A female speaker with a gentle singing voice inside a large cardboard box.
To all of you and those like yourselves playing pot-luck with your fate, your circumstances dished out to you, unaware of your creative capacity and responsibility for your life: You have failed miserably to attain to the purpose of your existence which is to be co-creator with God in yourself and your environment around you!
Surely if God is almighty and consists of everything that exists then by making a resemblance in some form or other of all that we know to be, the essence of God will then speak to us in that form and we will be able to ask It questions thereby eliminating this recent discomfort of God unknown to us. It was soon after Kleilat Bamboo (a South African from Vioolsdrift) mastered the snowflakes creation program that the computer programmers exhausted the whole world’s possible programming phenomena in all its forms. These programs were assembled together on one divine and monumental occasion and since then the people of the earth have had once again thank Gob, direct access to God. Even though God presented Itself by an unusual name: “The Wirl Hold’s Gob,” people take this as near as dammit to mean: “The Whole World’s God.” The discrepancy they attribute to those still undiscovered perpetually mutating worms and frogs in certain impenetrable tropical rainforests whose textures and habits have yet to be programmed and added. Others are convinced it’s the earth’s core lava that is moving rather peculiarly. Either way Gob was accepted over time and with some alterations managed to prove Itself. Now old Father Hillander, the last practicing preacher, living in the remote hills of Ireland presents his final service because Gob has declared the end too nigh for another.
“You had it comin’ to yer! Yer a bunch of lazy sinners…Row!! Row yer boat into the lofty skies to yer place in the Heavens to rest with Isis and Osiris, row yer way through the Milky Way, join the Kings at Orion, go as a crowd no matter how tatty ‘n skimpish yer are..! Row! Row! This is yer last Sunday to rehearse! Aye! You had it comin’ to yer… the end is Nigh… let you know to row as ye pass to the other side for fear of the vessel slipping uncontrollably into Hell. Row now this last time to be sure you take the action with you when you go sailing through the skies. Send wine to all hands on board!”
Mother in congregation: (To her children)
“Have you done your homework?” “Not yet Mommy.”
“Well you run along home and do your homework. You don’t want to arrive idiots in Heaven!”
“What does Gob say?”
“The Gates of Heaven have moved to the Entrance of Hell”
“Change rowing direction! This is where Anti-Karma kicks in. No more neighborly niceties and being good to one another! It’s plunder, plough asunder, pilfer, pinch, all the meanness you can muster to stand you in good stead as you enter Hell! Row…, Rooow…, Rooooow!!!”
painting “Wirl Hold’s Gob” mixed media on paper and writing by P. Nangle
“And so why another coffee?” he thought, “Well why not? It is another day!” Another extraordinary day it turned out! The Shona Mysteries had engulfed him and the coffee turned half-cold. This occurred regularly to the coffees in some vain hope that not being piping hot, the another coffees “why not?” arising from the “why” in the first place, a worry, would stop. Cold or hot he knew the caffeine that comes wrapped in that bean does the same thing each time.
Now any serious coffee-drinker knows that this muddy liquid requires an accompanist or two; “one himself,” he thought “and another the muddy leaves of my good lady Tabakka! Well, that completes the Trinity, creates the Tabernacle, a muddy cloud round the head, my self-engrossed ritual of being Separate and All in One.”
With the thought of yet again becoming a flat muddy fish burrowed under the sea-sand awaiting some foot, he reached for the tobacco pouch and papers. En-route his hand touched on the coffee’s ear, gently enough not to break the adhesive quality of the sugar crystals that threatened to create the tabletop and cup inseparable. “I like that!” he thought while spreading the lovely Lady Leaves onto a Master Leaf. “This adds diction! The cup like me is sitting fast, held by sugar spilled in a jittery stir of the fourth cup. Yes! Sitting fast, not standing slow or lying medium pace.”
Her Highness or Cleopatra rolled up in her carpet, he prodded his last Lion head into both ends of his new-made friend and proceeded in a task so remarkable, even miraculous, that each time it was performed it was as if it was the first. What he set about doing was to place her one end at his most intimate expression, between his lips, and her other he effected to burn by command of a tiny piece of the Sun. “Aaah, now I have my Mother and my Father! And I am the Son! Vulcan, Valerian, the Phoenix rising, the transmutation of my any concern into a moment of enshrouded blissful now.”
A great big fish began flattening itself out around him, pierced by sunlight swords now apparent to have their source in tiny holes in the wall. The fish was lazy, moving slowly, and after a few fishy kisses upon his lips it became obvious that it was agitated and being a mudfish, could not breathe in the air. He blew a few smoke-rings and reached for the brown shoreline to lift up to the gaping fish. Anticipating a minor sugar-snap release scenario and steadying himself so as not to spill what is as once as treasured as the spinal fluid of the whale and a sticky mess splashed and ringed on tables and documents, he grabbed onto the ear or nose of the cup and pulled. There was no give and he pulled again slightly harder, muscles flexed to absorb the shock of surely then the give of the sugar crystal adhesion.
No give! “My Goodness!” This time he pulled at the nose or ear of the cup with enough force that if it had come loose a sticky mess would have been ensured. Instead the table moved a twitch. He held onto the cup for an eternity while the fish grew and guffawed in breathless spasms and was joined by smaller growing bigger fish which filled the room-plate like sand-dunes in the desert of his black-sea-lessness. Time passed his index, middle fingers and thumb hanging onto the ear as though it belonged to an errant child whose guardian was checked, lefted, righted, stopped and started by ear control. He put down the roll-up and used that hand to counteract the force at which he honestly now did not know when the cup would liberate itself from the table. He would find out, starting with slight pressure and slowly increasing. He squeezed and pulled on the ear of the cup, pulling harder and harder, more and more until in complete exasperation the table began to drag itself in tiny bumps across the floor.
“I don’t believe it, this is ridiculous, this is absurd!? How can my cup be stuck to the table?!”
The Fish was dying a horrible death and fearful of a disaster ritual, he plunged his nose and mouth deep into the cup to resuscitate the rapidly depleting cozy golden moment. No fortune or reprieve was granted for the “why”, a worry, which were a dime-a-dozen, had made a three-quarter cup of coffee to which his hopefully slurping lips were out of reach of yet which soaked his moustache wet up to nose height. The fish was all skeleton now and like a mist clearing, a glimmer of life in an umbilicum thinning to nothing. Quickly, in fear of a separation or possibly even divorce he plucked her half-butt roll-up to his lips and mouth-to-mouthed the ailing fish which instantly died in a fizz in his whopping, sopping moustache. The life cycle of the ceremony with all it’s parts running off each other was broken. Divorce, not only eminent, had now taken place. The shafts of light were gone, the sun dead, the sea cold and black and stuck to the table. He tried twisting the cup to the side using the ear as fulcrum, clockwise then anti. Only he turned and his chair with him. Getting a spoon from the kitchen he sipped at the sea. This was not like subtracting insult from injury.
With his mother and father gone he was no longer the only begotten son but rather a lonely baby in a designated area’s cold sand-pit playing with cat-shit because neither the father nor the mother had given even 2 minutes time to play with baby in the sand-pit which is as long as one needs to smell that the cats have no where else and never did have anywhere else to dig their pooh away. Daddy did one day dig with baby at the sand-pit when he was too sick to go to work and unfortunately he being bunged up smelt nothing and he being strung out saw nothing but his self; absorbed in a vacant space as he absent-mindedly broke up baby’s plastic toy.
painting sun moon njanja fish (oil on board) and writing by P.Nangle ( both early 2000’s)
Another White-Bakkie Man
Imagine standing at a four-way stop holding one raised fore-finger into the air, being observed by the rush-hour traffic of a morning of a day’s activity taking place. Nothing to do, hungry, dejected, seeking one day’s employ for one man to lift and get. The fortunate, full, financed, for a fleeting moment are uncomfortably scrutinized by the action-seekers, the failure for whom to yet again be hired hangs as an inevitable pit of doom in the rising sun; the later the day, the less the chance. And then another white-bakkie man returns the one finger gesture except it’s his middle finger! What happened?!!
White-bakkie man interviewed:-
“Yeah, I know it’ a pretty hard-core sign, means Fuck You! and all that but it’s a pretty hard life and if you haven’t got a job it’s pretty much Fuck you…ain’t got no job, I’m just trying to survive myself..you know? So Fuck-off Man…!!”
So what do you make of that hey??! It’s all about getting around and to do things and survive…everythings available there, tittbits and the whole smackeroo and life is give and take. What’s your Luck?
Imagine the discomfort.
Standing in the rain blue work-clothes drenched one finger raised to heaven choking on the fumes of bored commuters not needing help it was 6 this morning, then 7, then 8 must be past nine now the traffic’s thinning another day of nothing better go back to nowhere try get dry.
Sing to the tune of “Wakiki Man”:
White-Bakkie Man, White-Bakkie Man,
Another God-damn White-Bakkie Man..
Sing Country/Western style with N. American accent:
He’s a White-Bakkie Man
With his own Family plan
and he don’t give a damn
’cause he’s just another
painting white bakkie man (oil on canvas) and writing by P.Nangle 2005
“Oh No! A Chromatic Kora!!” (in the making) Oh dear, couldn’t resist..haha! What you can do with that 12 string Jumbo Guitar forgotten in the cupboard! (Handlebars still to be put on).
The strings sit in two ranks of 6 whole tones of the chromatic scale. Notice there are no gaps in the upper rank of the chromatic marimba in the photograph because it is also in a double 6 layout (2 whole tone scales). In considering building a chromatic mbira a good option is this layout with pitches ascending in semi-tones alternating left, right, left, right etc..(as in the progression of notes of the kalimba and the kora) The double 6 chromatic layout is symmetrical and each particular chord shape in the fingers or the mallets remains the same throughout like with the ascending bar chords on the guitar.
This music I performed on bowed mouth bows which complement the painting “The Medicinal Flower Water of San Giovanni.”
On the 24th of June an ancient tradition here is to pick from the abundance of Spring a bunch of wild flowers and soak them overnight outdoors in water. The following morning to wash in that water restores beauty and grace and regenerates those who use it.
Music Notation Series
I painted “The Boiling Ferment” (acrylic on canvas 104x67cm) round the same time that I arranged and recorded this piece of music “Nhem.5/7” which was performed on 3 octave karimbas.
These took place during the process of my partner and I producing 220 litres of our own wine. Although growing one’s food oneself is time-consuming, the satisfaction of doing so is immense.
Art and Music by Phillip Nangle
Painting “Sweet Nyamaropa” acrylic on canvas 103 x 93cm 2015
Nyamaropa performed on mbira instruments that I build. (Njari and Karimbas – 2 and 3 octave).
This painting is one of the works from my Music Notation Series which depict pieces of music that I perform.