by Mthakathi

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    Bonus PDFs of album artwork included - 16 page CD booklet w/ liner notes, front/ back covers and inside sleeve.

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With the release of his ground-breaking debut solo album "Ownership," Safro-Rock singer / songwriter / guitarist / producer Ema (a.k.a Mthakathi) expands the world fusion movement decidedly and unabashedly rock-wards.

Ownership is a fiery 12 song, multi-culti mashup of finely crafted rock, vibrant African infusions & magnetic story-telling. Ema's thought-provoking lyrics and dynamic voice are girded on each track by striking ethno-sonic landscapes packed with South African voices, dizzying percussion beds, searing guitar solos and soaring sax rides.

Ema's reputation as an innovative song-smith, an arresting guitarist and an engaging performer who puts on spectacular multi-culti live shows, leaves little doubt that he is indeed the magic man: Mthakathi


released August 1, 2008

words and music > ema
published by umthakathi music (bmi) c&p 2008

produced by ema

engineered and mixed by ema
additional engineering by h.t. eggers
recorded at ikhaya studios, ridgewood, nj. usa
kalamazoo studios, johannesburg, south africa
additional recording at howard-up-there studio, marshall, va. usa

mastered at gateway mastering by adam ayan

coordination and planning in johannesburg - pops mohamed and khaya mahlangu
down-to-the-wire coordination of ekurhuleni choir girls session - ralf schmitt
horn arrangement assistance and coordination for new jersey sessions - barry olsen
pops mohamed appears courtesy of kalamazoo records
emma eggers appears courtesy of her dad
"welcome song" (traditional mi'kmaq) used by permission - kenneth little hawk publishing (bmi) and transhumance music (bmi)
creative input, technical assistance and honest feedback - david pitman, h.t. eggers and mike shupp
business - patricia preztunik and david pitman
legal - jonathan peck and terry hogan

graphic design - karen schulz
front cover photo - mark lewis
back cover and insde jacket photo> rich rozycki
booklet photography - ema, lynn spinnato, rich rozycki, patricia preztunik, ken (that's "s" as in "sugar") shulack and stafford smith
design concept - karen schulz and ema

samples used under the terms of the creative commons sampling plus 1.0 license - creativecommons.org/licenses/sampling+/1.0/
train23.wav - www.freesound.org/samplesViewSingle.php?id=19807 author: LG
Gare de triage - Limoges (87) - France (2002) -1.mp3 - www.freesound.org/samplesViewSingle.php?id=7514 author: ingeos
www.freesound.org/samplesViewSingle.php?id=11700 author: bram
trainwhistle SBB Re 420 euroblues.wav www.freesound.org/samplesViewSingle.php?id=20065author: euroblues

there were numerous unavoidable obstacles that helped to ensure that this album didn't get made "too hastily"; scheduling conflicts proved to be a particularly challenging one. but in spite of that, every single musician who came on board, from san francisco to soweto, very generously (and patiently) worked around the difficulties to show up and lend their talent, skill and spirit to the project with a magical enthusiasm, and for that i'd like to express my great respect and undying gratitude to (alphabetically):

ashish joshi, bakithi kumalo, barry olsen, brahim fribgane, chris dawson, emma eggers, faith kekana, george farmer, ian herman, joe cardello, jon walsh, khaya mahlangu, kris jefferson, little hawk, mar gueye, mcoy mrubata, michael rennie, nery arevalo, nosiphiwo magqabi, peter brainen, pops mohamed, presilla majodina, ralph schmitt, raul rothblatt, seipati masango, sepenati magqabi, stella khumalo, sydney mavundla and tiye giraud.

ngiyabonga nonke nina. niyimbawulayami.

thanks for support, encouragement, love and friendship - basil, thomas, beeker, joey, chris, homeboy, pops (ishmaelo! ghooi mealies!), lauren shapiro (hi noo!), barry crystal, ralph warnock, marshall hughey, webo, the ekurhuleni youth choir, lehlohonolo "lucky" litelu (ukuphi 'mfowethu?) joe kane at bang music and of course my mom and dad - diane and fred.

special thanks - thuli dumakude (ngemphela uyosisiwami), mfaz'omnyama khumalo (in memorium), nganani beck, welcome msomi, lar gratz (for starting me out on the right path)
and herb smith for teaching me how to be a musician.

but most of all,
to z - without whom, none of this, from the very start, could have ever taken place. you are my best friend and my true love.

(p.s. i don't suppose this will substitute for a brownstone in manhattan or a villa in cap d'antibe will it?

c & p 2008 ema. all rights reserved
manufactured and distributed by anthr-o-tone records TM "the WORLD ROCKs!"
fbi anti-piracy warning: unauthorized copying is punishable under federal law
artist's polite plea: please don't pirate this music; all of us who made this album depend on the income from both
physical sales and digital downloads in order to feed our families and continue to make a living as artists. thanks.



all rights reserved


Mthakathi New York, New York

WORLD MUSIC ON JET FUEL! Singer/songwriter/guitarist/producer Mthakathi (pronounced m-TAA-gaa-tee) takes the rock/world fusion movement into the realm of Safro-Rock. His music, drawn from a lifelong immersion in South African culture, is a fiery mutli-culti rock mashup with a dose of world world elements.
An innovative songsmith and arresting performer, Mthakathi is the definitive "Safro" rocker
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Track Name: Interim Man
seasons change like citadel sentries
they issue, tacit warnings to move on
lest i become just another entry
in the book of vagrants on the lawn
still i sit here unmoving
with all my extremities asleep
and the hope of fortunes improving
removing, all the toxic doubts that i keep

"maybe i'm not religious enough"
"maybe i'm not prodigious enough"
"maybe i'm not litigious enough"
suddenly 20 years is pissed away

and i stand in this cage
spartan and pale
swallowing my rage
all stand and hail!
the interim man

everything's moving in the sky
planets, birds and aeroplanes
but nothing moves in front of my eyes
it's all, brake lights glowing red in the rain
i stare into those red reflections
and i see salieri nodding at me
and all my middling selections
in places i don't want to be

"maybe i'm not impressive enough"
"maybe i'm not aggressive enough"
"maybe i'm not expressive enough"
and then wham, i'm blind-sided

staring at this wreck
incredulous and stunned
the signals went unchecked
and i am the one
the interim man

the cracked marble, vaulted ceilings and verdigris trim
the tedium of waiting at each station
the boarding call washes through the hall and i'm off once again
but never to a final destination
but i don't want off
no i don't want off of this
i don't want off this train
i just wanna drive

it's a fine line that we straddle
between measured patience and inertia
all those gates i never rattled
it's the open ones that can hurt ya
so when all the mechanisms start failing
and all the systems go haywire
you can hope for the best and grab the railing
or go arms akimbo into the fire!

"maybe i'm tenacious enough"
"maybe i'm pugnacious enough"
"maybe i'm perspicacious enough"
and then suddenly i'm airborne!

off of this floor
gravity free
waiting no more
never to be
the interim man
Track Name: Jozi
as i look up at the buildings on pritchard street
the sun is splashing my face
there's a maskanda song runnin' round my head
who could ever call this an ugly place?
when it's so beautiful and
my heart's so filled with love and
so filled with love for you
just like, my first girl

we jo jo wejoziwami bo
i'll always come back to you

I kept hearing how sick you were
how you'd given up on life
and how your children were all tsotsis (gang youth)
who only know the language of the knife
but they only see jaundiced skin
I feel the febrile blood
the blood that brings the healing
the healing for all

we jo jo wejoziwami bo
i'll always come back to you

after all this time you still feed me
like the lioness nursing another's young
you are my isiginci (guitar) my mealie meal
and every mbaqanga song that i've sung
you are my imbawula (fire pot)
i warm myself at your fire
the fire that now needs tending but shall
never die

we jo jo wejoziwami bo
i'll always come back to you
ngizobuyela kuwe njalo bo!
Track Name: Regina
pacing at the picture window, staring towards the shore
here she comes up third avenue
a cotton print wrap, a tropical tan and her hair pulled up
and i think, "gaugin should've had such a view"

in spite of times, peppered with distractions
after twenty years i still feel this way
she still gets my heart pounding, she's still my sole attraction and she
gets more beautiful each day

baby you're still the one

she navigates a crowded room with a prank in mind
god i love to watch her laugh
she's funny, smart and generous but she suffer's no fools
with a turn of a phrase she can cut you in half

everytime the idiot inside me tries to
tunnel out into the light of day
she stuffs him down, covers up the hole and
goes on to love me anyway

love me forevermore

she rolls her eyes at compliments, shakes her head at high praise
she'd hate me saying "she rescued me"
but she pulled my soul out of the mud and let me fix myself
she said "baby, build a bridge, get over it and go!"

and all the times i thought my ship had sailed as
i stood waiving from the shore
she kicks my ass on in and says, "the waters not so deep"
"so baby don't fear nuthin' anymore"

you know you saved my soul
Track Name: Windy Day
all those souls
i hear a song in the blustery sky
all those souls
is it for them, or for us that we cry?

the dust cloud stampeded across the turnpike
sheets of littered paper whirled and danced
wings of airplanes teetered as they landed
and i said to myself "this isn't happenstance"
woza moya (come spirit)

today the crestfallen gather in their grief
the heartbroken sit in the dirt with head in hand
somewhere a dog whines for no apparent reason
a collective sigh blankets all the land
woza moya!

all those souls
brushing their fingers across every face
all those souls
reminding us not to lose our place

the car had trouble staying in the lane
the powerlines like jump-ropes in full swing
the clouds, they seemed to move deliberately
like the elders gathering to council the king
woza moya

because today the disconcerted will look for guidance
the angry will rattle sabers and bang drums
the frightened will rant about security
the wise will ask, "how far have we come?"
woza moya

all those souls
they signal caution when we're on the wrong track
all those souls
they whisper louder than the fool can shout back

i've watched them caress the veldt grass in transkei
i've heard them whistle down wall street's corridors
i've seen them shake the tea trees of nuwara eliya
and felt them pounding carolina's shores

i know they kiss the cheek of the starving child
and kick sand into the tyrant's murderous eyes
and cool the stinging burns on the migrant's back
you know i've seen them rip the flags behind emperors telling lies
woza moya

all those souls
tapping at windows and toppling walls
all those souls
i hear it as a clarion call

all those souls
bending crops and shutting dynamos down
all those souls
i believe they're all around
all those souls
busting glass and leaving candles lit
all those souls
you can hear their message if you just listen to it
all those souls
feel it in your skin, i think you'll find
all those souls
not a single one of us has been left behind
Track Name: Flat Earth
another monument to progress
a steel colossus looming in the sky
a dirty fingered totem in the wilderness
and if it were to stop we surely all would die
so the myth is bound
the dark blood in the ground
there's so much more to be found
if we stay behind with all of those
who think the earth is flat
who think that there are still
no consequences that can stop the "grand advance"
such arrogance

another mad dash for resources
a brutish land grab for the "chosen" ones
they demonize the victims, rationalize the act
the "will of god" exacted at the ends of guns
how do you square your soul?
how sweet the fruit you stole?
now that you have dug this hole
jump in and languish with the ones
who think the earth is flat
claiming ownership
of everything but that which truly stains us all
they rise and fall

another caesar has ascended
mugging for the circus as the bread is hurled
he's just another fucker with an army
a craven little punk who wants to rule the world
stroking all the fears
passing out the spears
watch how deftly he
endears himself to all the ones
who think the earth is flat
who think that war is still
the only answer that can set everything right
here comes the night

so what about the ones, who think the earth is flat
do they come along
or perish in a vat of stubbornness and fear
the time is here...
Track Name: Ramboda
good day sir
what can i get for you?
mineral water? yes sir
how do you like the view?
yes sir the falls are beautiful

you're from america?
i'd love to go there someday
have you been many places?
how do you like our country?

have you come down from kandy?
you know, north of there
the rebels are still fighting
but we are safe here
life goes on

did you stop for fresh coconut milk?
did you see the elephants bathe?
have you seen the women
picking tea on the hills?
one of them is my mother

so, you're ready to order sir?
what's that you ask?
your driver sir?
he'll eat with us behind the building
you want what we're having ? really?

here is your bill sir
thank you very much
perhaps you could write your address on the back
i could write to you
i could write to you
...pleasure sir.
Track Name: Ache
"this is all innocent" he reassures himself
"i break no trust being" here
then she leans over, he catches a glimpse
of that hellenistic skin underneath her cashmere
and he starts to tremble, starts to shake
starts questioning himself:
"will i crack, will i break
will i put my ring on the shelf"
he starts shifting nervously in his chair
he can't even look in her eyes
and he no longer hears what she's saying
for the tormented voice that's inside:

"don't make me, don't make me
don't make me ache for you"

once self-assured now conflicted and confused
at this point there's nothing to hide
then she brushes his shoulder with that perfumed hand
and he feels himself twisting inside
and he starts to stammer, starts to stutter
starts wishing he were dead
he can't even summon a coherent phrase from the fraying wires in his head
and he clings white-knuckled to the table
as if it were his crumbling self-control
as if it will keep him from slipping into that covetous mud in his soul

"don't make me, don't make me
don't make me ache for you"

"this is excruciating" he moans to himself
as his conscience starts leaking away
the knot in his chest is now a fiery serpent
asking "what are you willing to pay?"
and he snaps and jerks, scrambles and lunges
toward the nearest door
but the tangle of chair legs conspires to bring him
face to face with the floor
now he lies there in a crumpled pile of
humiliation and shame
she looks at him bewildered
he wishes he could simply burst in to flames
'cause nothing in his mind will
ever be the same...
Track Name: Everything That's Broken
standing in this crumbling structure, shoring up the frame
reaching out for every falling fragment of remains
a most impressive show of knee-jerk prehensility
but as soon as you grow tired, all the pieces will fall free
and your heart sinks like shale into the silt of the stream
don't you tuck in your tail 'cause you can't fix
everything that's broken.

driven by the torment of your insecurities
and the outstretched hands of parasites telling you to be
mother theresa, superman and santa all in one fell swoop
until you find yourself perpetually jumping through the hoops
like a faithful little terrier you wait for your reward
how much kicking can you take, before you find yourself awake

damn the torpedoes, no quarter, full speed in the red
the onus of your altruism rears its ugly head
retching all your debts and smearing all your joy with bile
because you cannot take an inch and give away a borrowed mile
and then dictate your rescue from deep in the well
oh, you can't fix
everything that's broken
Track Name: Los Rancheros
rollin, rollin, rollin 'cross the western planes
stirrin up the dust of history
stolen, stolen, stolen were the native claims
and they sell freedom across the seven seas

bow-legged and walkin' tall
they dig their spurs into sovereign walls
the west was never really won at all

pistol-packin, whips-a-crackin' git along!
keep the white hats clean for heaven's sake
a hundred john wayne movies cannot be all wrong
so kill the prairie dogs and feed the snakes

we know they're near we smell the stink
we're not as dumb as the ranchers think
a hearty breed can drive itself extinct

so when the conestogas circle on the trail
with fear of flaming arrows* piercing their bowels
they won't hear the bugle blowing down the rail
because the cavalry's roped in their own corral

this ain't no novel by louis l'amore
the good guys die in bad guys' wars
and as the sun goes down they stand and scream for more

yippie tie-yie-yay!

* a noted hollywood myth
Track Name: For a Whistle
*dedicated to Emmett Louis Till and Mamie Till Mobely*

wait a minute bo! where you going? you didn't kiss me goodbye
how do I know I won't ever see you again?
mothers exaggerate, to make a point. he rolls his eyes
turns round and kisses her, then runs back to the train
little did she know, how prophetic the words as they left her mouth
she gazed at the watch that he, left in her hand
soon a spark would set ablaze, the jim crow south
and her boy would be the sacrificial lamb
for a whistle

wait a minute bo! his cousin cried out and grabbed his arm
out here in the cotton fields that kinda talk is fine
but we finishing up early and goin in to town, there'll be, white folks around
you say the wrong thing and you cross a dangerous line
a line like a river of fiery spit
with a stench, you can't ignore
so keep your head down and always talk polite
but a little mischief in the grocery store
brought flashlights to his door
and they took young Emmett Till forever into the night
for a whistle

"give me a hammer mr mortician" she held out her hand
"if you can't open this box, I certainly can"
i'm going to show the world what they did to my son
let them, see what I've seen
the soul-less lie that passes for civilized man "
as the truth rang out at Robert's temple
the locals closed ranks,
they said "our ways aren't yours to inspect"
so evil walked free and justice abandoned
by the river bank
wrapped in barbed wire with a gin fan tied round it's neck
and they whistled...

wait a minute sheriff, judge, mr.newsman
mr president
you're supposed to stand up for the citizenry
as a young mother buries her murdered son
the world takes note
that you failed at your charge so miserably

wait a minute bo! you rest easy. it's gonna be alright
Mrs Parks is sittin' on a bus, just up ahead...
Track Name: When the King Leaves
they came, with outstretched hands
spread fingers, sifting the sand
"there's treasure locked in the land"
the keys are at our command

"if they buy into it we got it made
all we need is to continue the charade"

"and if the natives get restless, you blacken the sun
let in enough light to show that you're the one
and that life as they know it ceases when you're gone
for sure they'll keep singing along..."

what happens if the king leaves?
we all fall down!

the fields are fertile and lush
the coffers teeming and flush
keep it coming control or crush
the dissident is made to hush

all it takes is one light bulb to go on
next thing you know a new line has been drawn

and then the natives get restless and the soldiers get scared
the ministers warn that "we are not prepared"
a change is occuring and dissent grows strong
and the aristocracy's wrong, when they sing:

what happens if the king leaves?
they all fall down!

the harbor is stained with tea
the fruit rots in the factory
now burning the embassy
reclamation and sovereignty

the blunted regents cry "savages gone wild"
but no one wants to be someone else's bastard child

and when the natives get restless and the village gets wise
the sleeping giant will open its eyes
expell the intruders and their sophistry
calling "everyone come out and see..."

what happens when the king leaves?
Track Name: A Million Years
a god-forsaken jungle
on the eastern rim
there's razor wire, where the country's split
the rain runs in rivulets
off his helmet brim
he can't keep "this god damn cigarette!" lit
he thinks about his daughter
in the christmas play
swallows all his sadness
in the clearing, a flash of orange
the night becomes the day
silence becomes madness

she walks out of the flames, naked and screaming
a little orphan girl
he throws down his rifle, drops to his belly
and crawls to her
he cradles her in his flack jacket and starts crying in the rain:
"please, god, give, us
a million years of peacetime"

an unwanted incursion
in an ancient place
there're people here that shouldn't be
an unforgiving heat
in a shadeless space
it is a caustic recipe
the young boys playing
in the date palm grove
were running 'round with sticks in hand
their movement spooks the troops
on the bomb pocked road
and now they lie in crimson sand

with shins in the dirt, sobbing and wailing
the families of the dead
while jittery recruits stand over them, pointing guns at their heads
but they all become one when an errant rocket
showers them in a fiery rain
and now they all dream
of a million years of peacetime

a salmon sun rises
on a KZN (KwaZulu-Natal) shore
ugogo (grandmother) walks with child in hand
commissioners scoot chairs
on a scarred wood floor
they've all come to heal this land
quietly she stands
anemic and frail
but with dignity she waits her turn
to give her account
of torture and betrayal
and the smell when flesh and kerosene burn

the gallery recoils in revulsion
the hallway fills with sobs and cries
even the stoic outlander
looks to the rafters with tears in his eyes
she pulls the child in close, holds up a charred skull and says
"this is what we've paid
and now you owe us
a million years of peacetime"

Sibiza uxolo sonke thina!
(We call for peace)