In the first half of March, 2018, I took part in a walking seminar with scholars, artists and activists from around the world on Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa, facilitated by Professor Nick Shepherd from the School of Culture and Society at Aarhus University.
One of the sites we visited during our seminar was the ruins of Red Hill Village from where people had been forcibly removed during the Apartheid era. Architect Ilze Wolff introduced us to the history of the site, and most of the melody and words to 'Man/Home' came to me immediately after, just before leaving the site again. I sang some words into the audio recording app on my phone, and most of what was on that original memo ended up in the finished song. I later added the guitar parts and a few more words and gave the song its current structure, but it basically all arrived that late, sunny afternoon under the South African skies.
It is written in the first person, and I envision it giving voice to a previous inhabitant of Red Hill Village during the forced removals. I believe the last people were removed in the 1970s, and some people still come back to commemorate the lives they used to live here, and the people they used to know from here, all these years later.
Being open to the creative process I think we may sometimes channel an unlimited range of stories, sentiments and undercurrents not presently visible or audible. Maybe 'Man/Home' is an example of such channeling. It felt, indeed, like an instance of the song singing me. It was only later, after revisiting those first audio notes and applying some songwriting decisions, that I felt I became a singer of this song.
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