10 songs & 1 book to celebrate 40 years of Surinam independency

November 25, 2015

suriname vlag

happy birthday Surinam! The former Dutch colony celebrates 40 years of independency today.
During the festivities swinging music will be heard on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. It seemed appropriate to me to select 10 personal favourite tracks from my own collection to celebrate this festive day here in Amsterdam and Surinam. May these gems be heard around the world, as far as  Paramaribo…Kawina, Kaseko, disco, surinam soul, latin, mambo …all from different decades and representing the most typical styles of  Surinamese music.

sranan gowtu book cover

At the same time I would like to pay attention to a special book which recently appeared; “Sranan Gowtu’ by Diederik Samwel. Published by Nijgh & Van Ditmar in association with record label Top Notch which already released two compilations with the stars of the Surinamese music in 2013.

The first step in the revaluation of Surinamese music started in 2013 with the collector ‘Sranan Gowtu’ with songs from six different decades. The compilation is packed with Creole music, calypso, Kaseko music, winti songs, salsa, soca, dancehall to the timeless pop hit ‘Wasmasjien! ” by Trafassi. Besides digitally and on CD this compilation is also available in gorgeous red and green vinyl.

However, this is only the beginning. The purpose of Sranan Gowtu is not only to provide an overview of the range of beautiful Surinamese music, but also to go in depth with compilations of individual performers. So meanwhile the best work of  Dear Hugo, Trafassi, Max Nijman, Papa Touwtjie and Kid Dynamite has been republished.

And here are my 10 favourite songs from Surinam….

suriname ost herman vander horst watermarked

Big Jones and his Kawina Band -Ala Pikin Nengre

from the soundtrack ‘Faja Lobbi ‘; a film by Herman vander Horst (1960)

a kind of ballad about the town of Paramaribo. In the introductory solo singing, all the children (ala pikin nengre) are called to go to the town (foto) to admire everything that may be seen there; the houses (hoso), the big ship (biggie boto), the factories, the machines, the cars, the shops (wenkri) etc. Finally we arrive at the market (wojo) where we find an endless variety of articles, and an equally wide variety of people.

big jones -par'bo mambo label watermarked

Big Jones -Par’Bo Mambo

rare mambo track that celebrates life in the capital Paramaribo

coco valoy -juliana label watermarked

Coco Valoy -Juliana

great latin instrumental by a member of Los Virtuosos

orchestra tropical tata vodoe cover watermarked

Orchestra Tropical -Tata Vodoe

the kasekomasters -boroe cover watermarked

The KasekoMasters -Boroe

max nijman and the new faces -sugar label watermarked

Max Nijman and The New Faces -Sugar

ricky -poeirie label watermarked

Ricky -Poeirie

erwin bouterse watermarked

Edwin Bouterse and his Rhythm Cosmos -Disco Party

spooky -music watermarked

Spooky’s Express -Express

instrumental version called ‘Express’, while the vocal side is called ‘Music’. Clearly a remake/rehash of ‘Soul Finger’, the big instrumental hit of 1967 by The Bar-Kays.

billy jones & the stars -all my brothers are clean label watermarked

Billy Jones & The Stars – All My Brothers Are Clean

more Surinamese music in subsequent posts.


Do Not Sell At Any Price -The Wild, Obsessive Hunt for the World’s Rarest 78rpm Records by Amanda Petrusich

November 6, 2015

do-not-sell-at-any-price 1

You need this book. Really. Especially if you are -just like myself- an obsessed collector of long lost music.

It is one of the most intriguing and well researched music books ever written on the 0bsessive hunt for the World’s Rarest 78rpm Records.

see also Caluza’s Double Quartet -makwaya music on 78 rpm

“A thoughtful, entertaining history of obsessed music collectors and their quest for rare early 78 rpm records” (Los Angeles Times), “Do Not Sell at Any Price” is a fascinating, complex story of preservation, loss, obsession, and art. Before MP3s, CDs, and cassette tapes, even before LPs or 45s, the world listened to music on fragile, 10-inch shellac discs that spun at 78 revolutions per minute. While vinyl has enjoyed a renaissance in recent years, rare and noteworthy 78rpm records are exponentially harder to come by. The most sought-after sides now command tens of thousands of dollars, when they’re found at all. “Do Not Sell at Any Price” is the untold story of a fixated coterie of record collectors working to ensure those songs aren’t lost forever.

Music critic and author Amanda Petrusich considers the particular world of the 78—from its heyday to its near extinction—and examines how a cabal of competitive, quirky individuals have been frantically lining their shelves with some of the rarest records in the world. Besides the mania of collecting, Petrusich also explores the history of the lost backwoods blues artists from the 1920s and 30s whose work has barely survived and introduces the oddball fraternity of men—including Joe Bussard, Chris King, John Tefteller, and others—who are helping to save and digitize the blues, country, jazz, and gospel records that ultimately gave seed to the rock, pop, and hip-hop we hear today. From Thomas Edison to Jack White, “Do Not Sell at Any Price” is an untold, intriguing story of the evolution of the recording formats that have changed the ways we listen to (and create) music. “Whether you’re already a 78 aficionado, a casual record collector, a crate-digger, or just someone…who enjoys listening to music, you’re going to love this book” (Slate).



Scribner |
288 pages |
ISBN 9781451667066 |
June 2015

– See more at: http://books.simonandschuster.com/Do-Not-Sell-At-Any-Price/Amanda-Petrusich/9781451667066#sthash.uBOoq898.dpuf


diggin’ in NYC -update October 2015

October 29, 2015

things move fast in NYC. Faster than a devoted collector can handle sometimes. On my last safari in NYC I noticed that an update to  diggin’ in NYC -top 5 record shops-is necessary. Quite a walk!

 academy records 1

New location checked 12th October 2015


Academy Records Annex

85 Oak Street, Brooklyn, NY 11222



A year ago my favourite recordshop re-located to Oak Street, a few blocks more up north. It’s quite a walk from the subway but the scenics of the river and the skyline of Manhattan on a clear sunny day are just mindblowing.

Change trains at Union Square Station for L Train, stop Bedford Avenue. Leave the subway, cross the street and go down to Berry Street, then continue along the waterfront.  Long walk but soothing after the huzz&buzz of Manhattan, quite unreal. It felt like stepping out in a different world onto a movie set.

academy records 2

academy records annex

The new Academy Annex is airy with high ceilings, nice wide spacing of bins, even a few listening posts. Second hand vinyl galore here…although not as huge in stock as in bygone days. The shop remains a well recommended address in NYC with daily fresh supply at reasonable prices. I dug the broad selection of vinyl in every genre.Rare vintage records abundant on display on the walls. A limited supply of new produced vinyl in the rock genre is available. The extra attraction are the ‘dollarbins’; -3 for $ 5 second hand vinyl. Many DJs search for house 12” and disco classics here.


rough trade NYC

rough trade NYC

Rough Trade NYC

64 North 9th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11249




Housed in a big old warehouse along the quays of the East River a new branch of the famed UK record label Rough Trade opened within walking distance of Academy Annex.  A big record shop on the main floor, and a concert hall as extra attraction. British indie bands and a wide variety of American artists find a shelter here at night. See the signs on the walls for a daily calendar.

The shop is huge and looks like a cocoon of hi- polished metal stands filled with the latest import and 180 grams vinyl reissues !! An exemplary stocked selection of all brand new published vinyl in all genres. Rough Trade rules the bins here for sure but what a highly surprising  selection of music can be found. There is even one tiny square meter of selected vintage vinyl, for serious cratediggers only.


Township Soul & Boogie Vol 13; Letta Mbulu -I’ll Never Be The Same (Mosadi) -Tamla Motown

October 21, 2015

see also hey sista, go sista, soul sista -Township Soul & Boogie

hey sista, go sista, soul sista -Township Soul & Boogie Vol 2

as part 13 in the series Township Soul & Boogie I proudly present one of Letta Mbulu’s rarest albums in existence. It may be one of those records that people sometimes refer to as a ‘holy grail’. “I’ll Never Be The Same (Mosadi)”  is without a doubt an ultra rare ‘lost’ Letta Mbulu LP, released only in South Africa on the Tamla Motown label in 1973.

Letta Mbulu -I'll Never Be The Same front watermarked

Actually, this LP is a compilation of material that was previously released on several albums with  some new songs added, probably recorded between 1970-1973. Parts of this album consists of songs that Letta recorded frequently as part of musical aggregates put together by Hugh Masekela – most spectacularly as part of the anonymous collective known as Africa ‘68 (which was also later credited as “The Zulus”), where she took the lead on “Uyaz’ Gabisa,” “Noyana,” “Aredze” (which she’d earler performed on Letta Mbulu Sings) and “Kedumetse.”

All tracks on this LP beautifully showcase Mbulu’s gorgeous vocal capacities and the heritage of Zulu songs stand out as proud witnesses of Letta’s South African origins.

Born and raised in Soweto, South Africa on 23 August 1942,  she has been active as as singer since the 1960s. While still a teenager she toured with the musical King Kong, — but left for the United States in 1965 due to Apartheid.

In New York she connected with other South African exiles including Miriam Makeba, Hugh Masekela and Jonas Gwangwa, and went on to work with Cannonball Adderley, David Axelrod and Harry Belafonte.

On screen, her singing can also be heard in Roots, The Color Purple (1985), and the 1973 film A Warm December,[ and she was a guest on a Season 6 episode of Soul Train. Mbulu also provided the Swahili chant in Michael Jackson’s single, “Liberian Girl”. Producer Quincy Jones has said of her: “Mbulu is the roots lady, projecting a sophistication and warmth which stirs hope for attaining pure love, beauty, and unity in the world.”

see her full biography presented by douglas payne

Letta Mbulu -I'll Never Be The Same back watermarked

Letta Mbulu  ‎– I’ll Never Be The Same (Mosadi)
Tamla Motown ‎– TMC 5242

South Africa  1973

Letta Mbulu -I'll Never Be The Same label 1 watermarked

A1 I’ll Never Be The Same
A2 Kedumetse
A3 Now We May Begin
A4 Moya
A5 I Won’t Weep No More

Letta Mbulu -I'll Never Be The Same label 2 watermarked
B1 Because Of You
B2 Uyaz Gabisa
B3 You Touched Me
B4 Aredze
B5 We’ve Got To Learn To Love

source; Wikipedia

thanks to reader and collector Afrikola!


New Hope Mzansi House Mix – ADE 2015 by Eddy De Clercq

October 13, 2015

see also August Mix Special! From Bubblegum 2 Kwaito

the ADE -Amsterdam Dance Event-, the largest dance conference and festival in the world starts this Wednesday 14th October 2015. 3,000 participants –professionals from around the world-are expected and the clubs and venues will be inhabited by an estimated 350,000 visitors. Now that EDM (Electronic Dance Music) has become mainstream worldwide the program will showcase the biggest dj-stars over a number of five nights. But mainstream commercial big money music is not only what’s up. This year the focus is strongly on the booming electronic music  scenes of Africa as well. High time for Mzansi House!

In the fringe of the festival a small selection of hot and happening African music can be heard. In addition, the documentary “Future Sound of Mzansi”, about current South African dance music, is on show in De Balie.

Black Coffee in studio

DJ / producer Black Coffee: “There is no specific sound going on in Johannesburg, everything is happening. Commercial house, deep house, all kinds of house. Everyone has their own favourite sound. All I can say, because we’re African, it just revolves around rhythms. The rhythm gives us hope. ”

The first raves in the early 90s emerged in South Africa as Black Coffee remembers. The 39-year-old DJ began ten years ago and has become the most famous DJ/producer from South Africa.

Belgian/Dutch DJ/producer Eddy De Clercq played on one of the first raves in Durban,”Mission to Mars” in 1996, and is very impressed by Black Motion: “That to me is the ultimate South African house group. Especially live, when they perform with a band featuring some very strong percussionists and singers. Their sound is not typical Electronic Dance Music but relates more to the original house-vibe. Sexy and spiritual. Black Motion makes the most melodious jazzy house and their driving rhythms are just irresistible. Listen to their track “Rainbow” for instance, which is more pop oriented house music, such an innovative way of creating dance music. ”

Amsterdam Dance Event

14/15/16/17/18 Oct 2015

Black Coffee & Friends perform on October 16 in Radion, Amsterdam. Pat Thomas & Kwashibu Area Band with DJ Afrobot on October 17 at Pan-amafropeans in OT301 and on October 18 at Danse Danse in Tolhuistuin, Amsterdam. DJ Eddy De Clercq mixed this compilation of his favourite tracks of Mzansi House especially for Soul Safari. Hear some of the best tracks by South Africa’s Black Motion, Culoe De Song….and more.

New Hope Mzansi House Mix – ADE 2015 by Eddy De Clercq

Black Motion ft XoliM-Rainbow
Culoe De Song ft Shana- Amasiko
Black Motion ft Mckenzie-Mother of Earth (intro)
Black Motion ft Zulu -Bhana Shilolo
Black Motion ft XoliM-Set Me Free (main mix)
Black Motion ft Mckenzie-Mother of Earth
Black Motion -Bilouwa
Black Motion ft Fearless Boys & Udu -Black Channels
Black Motion ft Celimpilo -Kakaramba
Cathy Battistessa -Une Nouvelle Humanite (Da Capo Touch)
Culoe De Song ft Busi Mhlongo -Wabeba


a tribute to Nomzamo Mkhuzo, diva of New Brighton jazz.

September 19, 2015

nomzamo greeting her fansIt seemed someone had performed a rain dance as the rains came pouring down merciless last sunday. No wonder we were soaking wet when we arrived at the Douglas Ngange Mboba Memorial Hall in New Brighton, a township near Port Elizabeth, thanks to an invite from Diane Thram, who has been researching jazz in New Brighton since 2009.

We had come for an event in honour of singer Nomzamo Mkhuzo (b. 1938), one of South Africa’s grand divas of jazz. And we were among the first to arrive. In two’s and three’s several musicians arrived with their instruments, the soundchecking had begun. Local musicians and singers were expected to come and play for free that afternoon, as a fundraiser for Nomzamo Mkhuzo.

The benefit concert was organized by Vulyewa Luzipho, a vocalist who is a longstanding member of The Jazz Divas aka Metro Jazz Queens, residing in Port Elizabeth. This vocal group started performing in 2004 and is the moniker for the united talents of Shirley Lebakeng, Vulyewa Luzipho, Welakazi (Webro) Mosia and Nomzamo Mkhuzo who was a member until she became too frail. All of these vocalists were present and performed acappella that day – showing of their immense talent as jazz singers.

After a long wait, the concert was opened by keyboard player Jury Ntshinga, who sang a wonderful version of the jazz standard ‘Moody’s Mood’. Vocalist Thandeka Marwanqa joined him to make the rendition even richer.

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Then veteran saxophone player Patrick Pasha came on stage and introduced Nomzamo.He remembered some great moments of his dear friend, how they grew up in houses where church hymns were sung every Sunday. Local songs in Xhosa were popular with the whole family, and records by Ella Fitzgerald were played. ‘She was my biggest influence, I adored her music.’ says Nomzamo Mkhuzo who grew up listening to Ella’s records. Despite the fact that her father thought she was too young, she started her career as a vocalist with the Barnacle Bills Big Band when only 16 years old. Her talent was already apparent, she was born to sing. Nomzamo went on to tour extensively with the Junior Jazzmen throughout the late 50’s. Later she teamed up with her husband, guitarist Jamani Skweyana. They recorded for SABC as the ‘J-J Quartet’. Nomzamo is known for her powerful voice and ability to capture a crowd with the energy she brings to her singing. She was very popular through the 70s and 80s especially for her jazz compositions sung in Xhosa addressing social issues in tunes that embody New Brighton jazz. Nomzamo was a founding member of the Metro Jazz Queens in 2004 and continues to perform occasionally, most recently at her 75th birthday (25 May 2013) hosted by her musician collegues and friends at the Red Location Museum.

Nomzamo is now 78 and although she is frail and confined to a wheelchair, she has lost none of her strenght of voice nor the willpower to perform.

Diane Thram, director of the International Library of African Music (ILAM)  researched the history of jazz vocalists, big bands and what followed on the jazz scene in New Brighton from the 1940s-90s. This project was initiated as part of the ILAM-Red Location oral history project that culminated with curation of the ‘Generations of Jazz’ permanent exhibition at the Red Location Museum in 2013. Nomzamo Mkhuzo was one of the first musicians interviewed. Diane Thram discovered that Nomzamo Mkhuzo was still alive and lived in a rundown small cement house, in poor conditions.  That was back in 2009.  Nomzamo’s singing is documented on 2 concert DVDS created by ILAM from their documentation of two concerts produced as part of the oral history project, the first in March 2010 entitled ‘Jazz Heritage Concert’ and the second for the opening of the ‘Generations of Jazz’ exhibition in June 2013. Nomzamo sings solo and with the Jazz Divas on both DVDs. Locals know Nomzamo – those of her generation have never forgotten her and her powerful voice.  For younger musicians involved in the concerts, it was a discovery of one of the great voices of jazz for which Port Elizabeth is famous. After all, after Cape Town and Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth is famous around the world for its jazz.

Amasiko sang by Nomzamo Mkhuzo at the ILAM/Red Location Museum concert in New Brighton, Port Elizabeth.

And rightly so. Nomzamo’s performance during the concert that day was a gem in the rough the way she can still sing and hit those high notes. When Brown Sugar, a young male vocalist backed by the band Take Note, sang Nomzamo’s composition, ‘Into Zangoku’, Nomzamo joined him to create a duet in which she did a impressive scat – their performance made clear that New Brighton Jazz is still alive and kickin’. Proof of a living jazz heritage. Three generations of jazz musicians and singers were on stage last sunday afternoon. I witnessed three generations of love.

parts of this content is based on Generations of Jazz exhibit catalogue (ILAM 2013)

to obtain copies of the DVD and/or the Generations of Jazz exhibit catalogue contact ilamsales@ru.ac.za or go to www.ru.ac.za/ilam

generations of jazz catalogue


From Kwela to Hop; the Great South African Songbook

September 5, 2015

remarkable news from Joburg that I like to share with you. Regulars of Soul Safari will be familiar with kwela and pennywhistle player Lemmy “Special” Mabaso.

See also something new from Africa -Kwela with Lemmy

Penny Whistle Kwela -Alexandra Shamber Boys, Benoni Flute Quintet

Soul Safari presents Township Jive & Kwela Jazz (1940-1960)

From Kwela to Hop; the Great South African Songbook 2

In a corner of a Joburg restaurant where this year’s Moshito Music Conference and Exhibition was being launched, sat an unlikely pair; hip hop pioneer Emile YX and pennywhistle player Lemmy “Special” Mabaso.

The pair, it turned out, were the faces of this year’s conference, which takes place on September 10th and 11th 2015.

Aptly titled “From Kwela to Hop; the Great South African Songbook”, Moshito aims to trace the tracks of early South African music, right up to the hip hop we hear on our radios right now.

From Kwela to Hop; the Great South African Songbook 1

Emile YX and pennywhistle player Lemmy “Special” Mabaso with friends

Mabaso, who was a giant of kwela music told me: ‘I haven’t got a recording studio to record my own kwela music, but I want to bring the penny whistle back to music’. He’ll get to do just that through the Moshito Music Festival which will celebrate the wrapping up of the conference on September 12 at Newton Park.

Here, he will perform alongside Kwela Tebza-the nephews of Mabaso’s colleague Jack Lerole -while the likes of Simphiwe Dana and Birdie Tribute Mboweni also perform.

The theme “From Kwela to Hop; the Great South African Songbook” forms part of the three new concerts and festivals taking place at the Market Theatre and the inaugural annual Moshito Music Festival in Newtown Park.

But before the formalities take place, the event will kick off with an opening concert at the SABC’s M1 Studios on 9 September.

On the opening night, singer Judith Sephuma will entertain music lovers with her music. She will be accompanied by Maru Tarang featuring Indwe, Maya Kamaty and Tribute “Birdie” Mboweni.

The Moshito Music Conference and Exhibition takes place at SABC Radio Park Auditorium in Auckland Park, Joburg on September 10 and 11. To view the full program and details, attend or register visit http://www.moshito.co.za/

report by Helen Herimbi /The Herald 


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