- Title: SOUTH AFRICA: FOOTBALL/SOCCER - Vuvuzela: the new Mexican wave?
- Date: 8th June 2010
- Summary: VARIOUS OF VUVUZELA ORCHESTRA PERFORMING OUTSIDE
- Embargoed: 23rd June 2010 13:00
- Location: South Africa
- Country: South Africa
- Topics: Arts / Culture / Entertainment / Showbiz,Sports
- Reuters ID: LVACZWDOKJ4186FXWPZSVE5E0IF8
- Story Text: They're loud and they're colourful - and now World Cup host South Africa's vuvuzela is set to dominate this year's Beautiful Game.
Come to South Africa for the World Cup and there's one thing you're sure to see, or more importantly hear, at every stadium - the vuvuzela.
The 60 cm, bright plastic horn has become the sound and symbol of South African football.
But the small trumpet has been castigated for being too loud and noisy.
Enter Pedro Espi-Sanchis, a musicologist living in Cape Town who decided to use his knowledge to transform the vuvuzela into a musical instrument.
In 2006, he formed the Vuvuzela Orchestra, an eight to 10 man band that also includes, a trombone player and a Kudu horn.
In the run-up to the World Cup, the orchestra's popularity is growing; playing at large football events and at small corporate functions like this one, in Magalisburg, in the North-West province. The orchestra's repertoire is made up of local football songs and anthems.
"So the vuvuzela, I looked at the vuvuzela and thought, it makes one pitch, you can make many. If I make it longer or shorter and that's how I created seven notes, seven different notes which give me the three chords that underlie the music that we play generally or the two chords from a traditional chord sequence, like the bow, the musical bow chord sequence," said Espi-Sanchis.
The man to thank for this celebrated noise-maker is Neil van Schalkwyk of Cape Town.
The 37-year-old former mold-maker turned his passion for football and his knowledge of plastics into a business opportunity.
Van Schalkwyk spent two years developing the vuvuzela, which is based on the home-made tin-horns called 'umbombu' that adorned South African stadia in the 1990s.
And while horns have always played a part in South African culture, from the earliest kudo-horns, no one was prepared for the popularity of this new plastic version.
Van Schalkwyk initially named his horn the boogie-blaster, but fans dubbed the noise-maker the vuvuzela - which means 'pump' or 'lift up'- and it became a required accessory for any South African football supporter.
By 2003 van Schalkwyk's nascent company was moving 500 units a month, but in 2004 when South Africa won the right to host the World Cup, the horizons changed.
Last year, Masincedane was selling 15,000-20,000 vuvuzelas a month and that number increased to 50,000 since December in the final build up to the tournament.
For as low price as 60-80 rands (10 U.S. dollars) depending on how elaborate and colourful you want it to be, vuvuzelas are available to locals and tourists alike.
Van Schalkwyk is even prouder of the latest version of the horn, which is made from three pieces of injection-molded plastic.
The new vuvuzelas are made from more durable plastic, are available in multiple colours to match team and country uniforms, and are 20 decibels softer to placate the European crowds and commentators who complained the vuvuzelas were too loud at last year's Confederations Cup.
But most importantly for van Schalkwyk, his vuvuzelas are stamped with the 'Made in South Africa' logo.
"You know, it was something new, it was a bit of a shock to the system. When people starting to get to know more about it a bit more, I think they will embrace what this thing is capable of doing," said van Schalkwyk about the criticism.
"I mean its our symbol of celebration. You know, considering the past, we've been able to celebrate life in various manners, and I think the vuvuzela is a symbol of the way we can celebrate and how we could like the rest of the world to enjoy their celebrations as well," he added.
And Espi-Sanchis can't agree any stronger.
He believes the vuvuzela will have global appeal. He plans to travel to the next World Cup in Brazil in 2014 with the orchestra to play both African and Brazilian football tunes.
"The next world cup in Brazil, we should be there and we should be making music, real nice music. The mixture of the African, South African and Brazilian, oh," said Espi-Sanchis.
Now, as the world's eyes focus the southern tip of the continent, the World Cup is about to introduce the successor to the 1986 Mexican wave, which forever changed the look of football crowds.
For sure, the vuvuzela will forever change the sound of a packed football stadia around the globe.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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