Vusi Mahlasela

Last night I attended my first real concert here at Middlebury College. “Culture” is at a premium here in the rural setting so it was a delight to see Vusi Mahlasela, a South African singer/composer/guitarist perform.

What first struck me was the lucious harmonies and rolling melodies of a singer-songwriter type act. But his songs are so much more than that because there is an infusion of emotion that is so much deeper than any pop song can muster. His voice rings with a range of several octaves. His voice is relaxing in every way. Each song has its own meaning and feel. Vusi performed alone with just his guitar and voice.

Vusi spent considerable time pontificating on various social issues between and during songs. A lot of his emotion and inspiration comes from growing up in Apartheid in South Africa. He wore a shirt honoring Nelson Mandela and in support of an AIDS-support program.