Listening Session: A conversation between carved records by Masimba Hwati and Paul Stan Nataraj

Two images side by side showing two people performing sound
Image courtesy of Masimba Hwati and Paul Stan Nataraj
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A listening session based on a sonic conversation between Masimba Hwati and Paul Stan Nataraj. The experimental sonic conversation will be based on the albums: A Thank you Mr DJ by Yvonne South Chaka Chaka and Fear of a Black Planet by Public Enemy.

A Thank you Mr DJ

A 1987 Record by African Singer Yvonne South Chaka Chaka. The record opens a nostalgic door that leads not only into Masimba Hwati’s childhood home but also to Soweto by way of a radio news broadcast.  “I have faint memories of floating pieces of news about how violence in the last days of apartheid in South Africa was escalated by the sabotage activities of Umkhonto weSizwe in several cities and other news of a landmine exploding under a vehicle in the township of Jabulani Soweto. In these cases, I approach sound via a methodology of nostalgic immersion and specific cultural reflection”. The record has been mediated and carved by Paul Nataraj as he engraved and part of Masimba Hwati’s research into Toyi toyi a Southern African Protest Dance and military drill.

Fear of a Black Planet

Is 1989 public enemy album that Paul Nataraj carved with the names of hundreds of Black people and people of colour who had been killed in police custody, detention centres, at border crossings, across Europe, in the UK and USA these names are engraved onto the surface of this record. “This record was given to me by an old friend who converted to Islam many years ago. He made the decision that he no longer needed his records and so gave them to me for safe keeping. When passing on the records in 2001 he expressed the desire to move away to the middle east, to fully embrace his faith. After he left that day, I didn’t see him for many years, then suddenly in 2017 I bumped into him again in Blackburn town centre. After a conversation shared over a couple of cigarettes, it became clear that he had been struggling with his mental health, and was no longer pursuing his faith. The story of this particular record, with all of its deeply entangled 'intra-relations', both micro and macro, global and local, mobilised Paul to consider the 'nomadic materiality' of the vinyl record, an idea which he has recently theorised in an article for Riffs musicology journal.

About the event

Free. Limited Capacity.

Booking is required.

The duration of the event is 90 minutes. A rest break is not included. Seating is available.


Find information about getting here and our building access and facilities here.

This event will be held in The Space.

Speakers will use microphones.

This event is wheelchair accessible.

If you have any questions around access or have specific access requirements we can accommodate, please get in touch with us by emailing or phoning 0115 948 9750.

Masimba Hwati

Masimba is a multi-disciplinary artist who works internationally. He holds an MFA from University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and is a PhD in Art practice, candidate at Akademie der Bildenden Künste -Wien. He is a CWPS Umich(Center for World Performance studies) 2019 fellow. He is also a 2019 Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture alumni. He studied sculpture at Harare Polytechnic in Zimbabwe. He has shown in several prestigious places internationally is collected in various Museums worldwide.Sonic signatures, edited by Derek Purdue, Alibhe Kenny, Katie Young, 2023; Sokunge 2021; der Seeteufel, 2022.Hwati lives and works in Vienna and Harare.Albums Include lakes Nights 2020,Hwati Collino 2022 release dunder Alien passengers Label in Warren Michigan.

Paul Stan Nataraj

Paul is an audio maker from Blackburn in Lancashire. His PhD project ‘You Sound Like a Broken Record’, was voted in the top ten experimental albums of the year by 'A Closer Listen' magazine 2018. His work explores musical materiality, memory, the personal stories attached to music, and how our relationship with listening and the listened to, changes over time. His last album ‘Cobblestones & Kitchari’ was released in May 2020 on Fractal Meat Cuts. He is currently working as a researcher on the 'Migrant Memory and the Postcolonial Imagination' project for Loughborough University. 

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