The !Gubi Family stand alone performance lasts between 20 and 60 minutes, featuring a variety of different songs, dances and exotic acoustic instruments, including the mouthbow, the Gau Gau, a handheld four stringed instrument and a bow that is beaten with a stick while tapping on a biscuit tin. The three young men, occasionally joined by some of the elders, dance while accompanying the rhythm using leg rattles made from moth cocoons, while the rhythm is also kept by a Djmebe drum.
The !Gubi Family are also available to perform as part of a double or triple bill with the Kakatsitsi Master Drummers from Ghana and the Bwiti musicians from Gabon. Such a set includes traditional San material as well as traditional fusion tracks with the other two tribes.
The !Gubi Family performing with the Kakatsitsi Drummers in 2008
The Meaning of the Songs
The !Gubi Family perform a mixture of traditional songs and dances, handed down through the generations to the current elders, and new compositions, preserving the traditional form, by the younger members of the group.
Nqale: A prayer song – our opening prayer, performed by !Gubi with accompaniment from Anna.
!Goma: The bee song, performed by Gubi using the mouthbow with an amazing array of harmonics. Traditionally, the bees show the San the tree where you must chop the trunk to get to the honey to eat and they play this song to send the bees to sleep so that they can collect the honey.
//Gudsau! The song of the dove. It sounds like the crying of a dove, which is a healing sound/song. It gives you breath, the spirit that allows you to be out of your body and see things.
Gau Gau: A healing song, performed by Gubi on an four stringed instrument using a recycled oil can as a resonance chamber. The peopole gather around the fire and start to sing. The doctor will see that there is a sick man in the group and this song is going to heal him.
Kan DoDo: A song, sung by Anna accompanied by the bow that is beaten with a stick while sitting on a biscuit tin, that speaks of the old days. The San often had to walk for miles to find water and the sand would get very hot. The children would cry to their parents to put them up on their shoulders to escape the burning sand.
//Xam: The Lion song. He is strong and teaches the San what they need to know , giving them the strength to catch the animals we need for food.
//Xoye: [Kili kili] The song of the ostrich.. The male ostrich is playing in the veld he sees the woman and he calls her. You see them playing with one another as they run around. John, Magnus and Johannes dance the Ostrich to the song performed by Maria and Anna, with Gubi making a star turn with a kind of indigenous beat-box, mimicking the sound of the mail Ostrich as it courts the females.
Siku Kwane: A new song, accompanied by a vibrant dance, that says we are children that are playing our music for you all.
The !Gubi Family are available to deliver dance workshops, lasting 20 minutes for a variety of different age groups including children, adults and families of all ages. They can also hold clapping and singing workshops for similar age brackets, lasting between 20 an 60 minutes.