The three short Limbezi Interludes were composed for two Audiobooks produced by Justin Neway.  They are both thought-provoking listens expertly read by the author, Richard Michelle-Pentelbury.

Audiobook 1: Admission: A Story Born of Africa

Admission: A Story Born of Africa (Sample Reading)


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Admission: A Story Born of Africa,” is about free-spirited Adam Broadford growing up under difficult personal circumstances in the political and cultural turmoil of post-colonial Northern Rhodesia becoming Zambia, and in apartheid South Africa.  His natural intelligence, curiosity, and independence often lead him across the color bar to gain wisdom from his Zulu mentor, M’Dhala.  The result is severe conflict with his unenlightened and abusive white guardians, and merciless taunting from his adolescent white schoolmates.  Rays of hope occasionally shine into Adam’s life from chance encounters with supportive people who have a lasting positive impact on him.

As a young man, Adam endures the betrayal of physical abuse by his guardians, the moral repugnance of fighting for the South African Defense Force (SADF) in the Angolan border war, and the hardship of falling in love with a girl whose father forbids their relationship.  His time with Felicity is exhilarating, but the future of their relationship is in serious doubt.  While working between military service call-ups, as a steam train stoker on the South African Railways (SAR), something in Adam finally snaps.  Rejecting a life of desperation and, taking his future into his own hands, he goes AWOL from the army and prepares to flee his homeland.  With the military police after him, he leaves Felicity with a fateful promise, and stows away on a ship leaving Cape Town, bound for Southampton, and the prospect of a brighter future.

Audiobook 2: Transition: An Adam Broadford Story From Africa to Canada

Transition: From Africa to Canada (Sample Reading)

Transition: Adam Broadford’s Story from Africa to Canada (Sample Reading)


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In “Transition,” the sequel to “Admission,” no sooner has Adam started his journey to the new life he seeks, than his past threatens to overtake him – on the very same ship in which he makes his escape from South Africa.  But the ship’s staff are sympathetic to his plight and do their best to assist him.  With help from an old friend living in Britain, and with the UK immigration authorities on his tail, he sets off on a bicycle, earning his keep along the way as he cycles the length of the country, staying off the beaten track all the way north to the Orkney Islands.

Each leg of Adam’s journey of transition, brings reminders of the inescapable truth we all face – wherever you go, there you are.  Despite the many encounters he has along the way with helpful and loving people, and the many difficulties he successfully overcomes, his past still haunts him.  His promise to Felicity gives him no peace.  But his time of solitude in the Orkney’s, allows him to turn inward and shape his path to resolution.  With the help of a friend he made on the ship when leaving South Africa, he obtains an immigration visa and heads for the frigid far north of Canada in winter.

Adam earns a good living in Canada and gains new insights working with a construction crew in the frozen expanses of Northern Ontario.  He makes new friends and saves enough money to travel back to South Africa one last time, before finally fulfilling his ambition of settling in Canada.  He is driven to keep his promise to Felicity, the love of his life.  So driven, that he is willing to return to South Africa despite still being wanted by the military police, and the likelihood of a court martial with its inevitable outcome of imprisonment.  The unexpected shock that awaits him shortly after arriving in his homeland is, once again, life-changing.

The Design of the Interludes

The Limbezi interludes embody the broad elements of Adam’s dramatic story, and provide a few moments of reflection and continuity between its major sections.  The word “Limbezi,” is a contraction of Limpopo and Zambezi, the names of the two great African rivers that flow near where Adam grew up.

The hammered marimba ostinato that moves us through Limbezi Africa, sets an African mood with its sound and rhythm.  The percussion is also African, with bass drums, symbolizing Adam’s Zulu mentor, M’Dhala, supporting a complex repeating riff played on a native drum set.  The strings evoke a sense of the vastness of Africa and represent the limitless possibilities of Adam’s youth.  Against this background we hear the percussive chanting of deep bass voices so characteristic of Africa, along with a crowd clapping and chanting in higher tones also in a typically African style.  These symbolize the constraints of Adam’s cultural environment in Africa.  A penny whistle periodically pierces the air with a distinct trill, representing Adam’s inquisitive and independent nature attempting to break free from the constraints around him.

Limbezi Britannia, given Adam’s time in Britain and it’s former colony, Canada, is structured in a similar way to its African counterpart, but now the ostinato comes from a harp playing some of the same notes and rhythmic elements as the marimba, but in a way that conveys a more European feel.  The African-style bass drums still support the music from below, but the complex riff from the drum set is gone, creating more space and emphasizing the sense of openness and possibly from the strings.  The chanting and clapping of the African crowd are gone, replaced by a piano with a percussive yet melodious sound, connoting the reduced constraints that Adam experiences outside of Africa.  The penny whistle has become a flute, but its melody and rhythm are unchanged, just like Adam’s fundamental nature.  Limbezi Britannia retains a subtle but recognizable African feel to remind us of Adam’s roots, but is different enough to give us a picture of the more European world that Adam experiences during his transition to Canada.

Limbezi Transition begins with Limbezi Africa which then flows into Limbezi Britannia with its mostly European feel and retained African elements, and then flows back into Limbezi Africa.  It tells some of the story of Adam’s transition from Africa to Britain but with the inevitable pull back to Africa.

The chord pattern that underlies the interludes, and its lack of musical resolution, give us a sense of expectation but without the satisfaction of closure, much the same as Adam’s journey through life.

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