Dizu Plaatjies is the founder and former leader of the South African group, Amampondo. He is a graduate of the University of Cape Town School of Music and now lectures in their Department of Ethnomusicology in African Music. Since leaving Amampondo he has started a new ensemble called Ibuyambo. Dizu and the new group have presented numerous shows in a number of European countries, and perform regularly in South Africa.
Plaatjies is the son of an African traditional healer and late lady teacher Ntombiza, has himself been initiated in the Xhosa/Pondo tribal tradition. His interest in African percussion music has taken him to numerous countries on the continent with the result that he now owns a substantial collection of handmade musical instruments from sub-Saharan Africa. His latest recordings made for the label Mountain Records, entitled, Ibuyambo (2005) and African Kings (2008), illustrate this knowledge and interest.
He was married to his partner Vuyo Mbewu on 27/9/08. The couple have two children Ukwanda and Azile. Plaatjies has 4 children.
HIS warm smile disguises a serious, experienced and spiritual person. Dizu is the founder and former leader of South Africa’s internationally celebrated marimba group, AMAMPONDO.
He led Amampondo in performance from busking as a band of drummers on the streets of Cape Town to concert stages from Canada to Taiwan and many lands in between. The group played more than once at the prestigious Edinburg Festival and they wowed crowds at the Mandela Birthday Concert in Wembley Stadium. Their show, Feel the Pulse of Africa ran to packed houses at Johannesburg’s Market Theatre and the Baxter Theatre in Cape Town. The live recording from this show became their first commercial album success, being released in the USA and Europe as well as at home.
Dizu´s compositions and arrangements of traditional songs appear on 5 albums by his former group. His ability and willingness to collaborate with other artists is one of his many talents. In a project entitled, Intsholo, he worked with Willi Haubricht in arranging African music for a brass quintet, marimbas and percussion. In totally another direction his playing can be heard on the Techno-Dance tracks of Juno Reactor, with whom he also appeared on stage in Japan last year.
On this album Dizu has liberally mixed various traditional African instruments and songs with his own original lyrics and melodies. For example on the title track, Ibuyambo, he has arranged a melody from Zimbabwe for marimbas associated with Mozambique and placed a Congolese choir over the instruments. On Equonce, he applies elements of Hip-Hop music and the tongue clicks of the San people, to the rural chant from children’s game. In this way he has created a unique neo-traditional blend of sounds. He describes the new CD as a musical journey through sub-Saharan Africa.
As teacher and solo performer he has recently visited the USA, Scandinavia and Holland. He has performed in the Czech Republic, where his collaboration with local folk artist Jifi Pavlica has made Dizu a major attraction in that country.
He now spends most of his time teaching at the University of Cape Town’s Music College.
percussion, marimba, vocals, arranger
Genre: African, traditional / indigenous
This biography courtesy of Mountain Records