Sharon Katz’s “We Can Be The Change”

Article Contributed by Leighton Media | Published on Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Sharon Katz’s “We Can Be The Change” is out, and reaching fans, inspiring them to be the change. “We Can Be The Change” is world music and encompasses work with border themes both in her native Africa and in North and Central America.

Produced by Malcolm Nhleko (sound engineer for Ladysmith Black Mambazo), “We Can Be the Change” is available on all streaming and downloading platforms.  https://ditto.fm/we-can-be-the-change

Sharon says that “’world music’ for us has always been about reflecting, understanding, and stretching the boundaries of the melodies of life,” and she’s found the connections of all the people she’s been visiting and collaborating with the past 3 years, “the rhythms and voices from Cuba, South Africa, Mexico and USA that swirl, meet, are influenced, and change from the musical encounters on this album, so do our human relationships. We can be - and must be - change agents.”

A highlight of the album is there are two versions of “We Can Be The Change”—one of Sharon with her musical partners in South Africa and another with musicians from Tijuana Mexico, San Diego, and Cuba. Sharon wrote the original track for The Peace Train’s 2016 tour, “Putting the United Back in the USA.” Her vision has always been to communicate “to the younger generation that we absolutely must commit ourselves to social justice. If we do not believe that things can change and act with conviction and commitment, then nothing will ever change.”  

For the first time in Sharon's recording career, there are a number of Latin collaborations, all with traditional partying energy—“Santiago,” “Africa Y Cuba,” and “Vamos En El Tren De LaPaz” recorded in Cuba, “The Time Is Right Today,” a song she wrote in 1992 on behalf of Nelson Mandela’s Post Apartheid Vision. "This recording is symbolic of the work I am honored to do in Latin America, bringing communities together in a spirit of respect, peace, and shared humanity. We’re so grateful to José Aquiles Virelles Rodriguez; and all the fabulous Cuban musicians he brought together for these sessions. It is a story of musical worlds uniting to express our collective African experience.”

She recorded “Hamba Kahle Go Well Mandela” in South Africa, and added trumpet player Frank E. González in Cuba, 2019. The song was written when Nelson Mandela passed in 2013 “’He taught us well,’ so now it’s up to us to bring justice to the world.”

Songs she recorded solely in South Africa were “Rocking Chair,” “Bayajabula” about reality and optimism, and “Warm Heart,” which was written in 1993 “as we struggled to end Apartheid and heal our country.  Now when those in power have caused so much damage in the world, it can be difficult to maintain hope, but we must persevere and continue to “let the warm heart sing.” Bandmate Wendy Quick and Sharon wrote “Rocking Chair” about building a school in the rural area of KwaNgcolosi, outside of Durban, South Africa.  

The South African and Grammy-nominated World Music Performer made history with co-founder/bandmate Nonhlanhla Wanda as Sharon Katz & the Peace Train in 1992 when they formed South Africa’s first, 500-voice multiracial choir. They organized a courageous tour on board a train –The Peace Train – to promote a peaceful transition to democracy. When CNN filmed Sharon jumping out of a helicopter with her guitar to teach rural people about the voting process through song, Sharon Katz & The Peace Train were propelled into an international career that has spanned four continents and coast-to-coast US appearances. They have performed at venues all over the world.