A good day to all. Monday started with my weekly visit to the Noordermarkt flea-market where I found a few interesting albums this morning.

‘Rhythms Of Freedom’ was originally released in 1987 by Varagram, the label of the Dutch public television and radio. These rare live-recordings were made during the 1987 festival ”Culture in Another South Africa” in Paradiso, De Melkweg and Het Muziektheater in Amsterdam.  Artists as diverse as The Genuines, Ntsikane, Sabenza and the African Jazz Pioneers played Amsterdam’s most prominent music venues during a national manifestation against Apartheid.

African Jazz Pioneers 1987

Contemporary stars such as Abdullah Ibrahim, Jonas Gwangwa, Hugh Masekela and Miriam Makeba have learned the trade from them; the African Jazz Pioneers, the original Grandfathers of South African Jazz. The Pioneers are not a permanent formation, but are playing in ever-changing combinations. In 1955 we find saxophonist Ntemi Piliso for example, already present at jam sessions in Sophiatown, the famous melting pot of cultures and colors. Then very popular styles like American swing, Marabi and township jazz, are still accentuated by the raw sound of the Pioneers.

African Jazz Pioneers -Woodpecker

The Genuines 1987

The Genuines are a four-piece band from Cape Town (Ian Herman, Hilton Schilder, Gerard O’Brien and Mac McKenzie) who play the traditional ‘Kaapse Klopse”-like goema sometimes is called, in a rock-and funk-jacket. Brutal, challenging and at times sensual, their music openly accuses the apartheid system. Electric banjos, Duma drums, bass, keyboards; The Genuines take position. For example, in South Africa they played a benefit concert for the families of striking workers. Politically conscious musicians with an obvious penchant for lively, happy music from Cape Town. The lyrics are a mixture of English and Afrikaans, “moppies”.

The Genuines -Struggle

Other artists on this album are Ntsikane, a percussion group from Cape Town and Sabenza, the group around Basil ‘Mannenberg’ Coetzee who is accompanied by Paul Abrahams, Paula Goldstone, James Kirby and Tich Arendse.

Sabenza 1987

Sabenza plays not only jazz, even goema, funk and traditional kwela pop up in their music.

Coetzee:“Look brother. The apartheid system would push us in different boxes. Xhosa, Soto, brown, white and so on. But we believe we are one. We are all South Africans and via our music, we try to give that message. ” See also my previous post on Sabenza.

Sabenza -Where Do We Go From Here?


musical selections from ‘Rhythms Of Freedom’ released in 1987 in Holland by Varagram 9190

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