AMAMPONDO – meaning the Pondo people or the Pondo tribe, in Xhosa, are a traditional percussion ensemble from Langa Township, Cape Town, South Africa. The band started in the early 1980s and went on to become an international name in African music over a career of more than 25 years.
Patrick Lee-Thorp of Mountain Records wanted to create a Best of compilation album for the band that could be sold on the iTunes store. The digital sleeve is only made available to the purchaser if they download the whole album and it contains a great piece of writing from Patrick, which covers the band’s history and how he came to discover them.
The cover photograph was shot by Patrick in the early days and had been used on one of their albums before so it was up to me to do something fresh with it. I have recently been experimenting with African masks in my personal art, which inspired me to highlight the mask-like tribal markings on their faces by increasing the contrast and upping saturation. The idea to set the band members’ on a black background with just the bright colours and whites showing through was a direct reference to the Album’s title “Langa Nights” which has connotations in the the glowing embers of the drum fires used in the informal settlement of Langa.
The album title’s typography was inspired by the traditional beadwork of the Amampondo tribe.
Click here to view or buy the album from the iTunes store.