This cycle was inspired by a collection of field recordings made by the composer Kevin Volans in the South African province of Kwazulu-Natal in 1976-77. Most of these folk songs involve a singer with accompaniment of chorus, guitar, or concertina. The title "Hlaba Igama" is Zulu for "strike up a tune."
In Shaka's Call the saxophone functions as the leader and the piano is the chorus in a "call-and-response" song invoking the historical Zulu King Shaka.
The buzzing sounds of bees and other insects are mimicked by the saxophone in Summer Music while the pianist imitates a concertina accompaniment.
Walter Duma's Walking Song builds to a tragic climax and dies away reflectively.
Memories is a song sung by Jane Zuma about leaving her homeland of Swaziland and traveling to South Africa.
As the startling and mysterious nocturnals sounds in the outer registers of the piano start dramatically and fade away, the Musicians Passing By in the Night begin softly and get gradually closer, the saxophone is the voice of Michael Mhlongo, while the middle register of the piano transcribes Alson Detha's guitar. The musicians disappear, but then return to pass the microphone once more before fading away altogether.
The artists in these recordings are Todd Gaffke (saxophone) and Debbie Yasutake (piano)