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Mqonga Sikanise 78rpm Gallotone Xhosa/Mpondo

October 7, 2010

Good day to all. Two discs landed on my doormat last week. Two shellac discs I had bought from a German dealer who acquired these in the 70’s from an old record shop in Cape Town. Alas, the man hadn’t packed very well… The first record came in it’s full glory while the other was completely broken in two neat parts. Poor packaging results into this…

It hurts my soul to see a broken record …ouch! but playing the pristine  shellac soothed the feeling of loss.

From the original 78 rpm, featured here and now is Mqonga Sikanise, an obscure artist of Xhosa origins who sings and plays the concertina on this recording.

Singing is not the right word I guess, it is more a myriad of shouting, yodeling, grunting and stomping vocals. A wild style of telling a story, accompanied by the same instrument some tribes use in their dancing, like the Amadoda, grown men from the Xhosa tribes who tell their stories with instruments like the concertina.

See also my previous post on Xhosa/Mpondo tribal dancing.

The recording was probably done in the field by Hugh Tracey for his “Sound Of  Africa” series in order to present African music to a general audience. Parts of the Hugh Tracey field recordings were released commercially as shellac discs in the early 1950’s by Gallotone Records, South Africa.

Mqonga Sikanise -Tikoloshe Gallotone Records GB 1823

Mqonga Sikanese-Into Ezimnandi Gallotone Records GB 1823


Mqonga Sikanise -Wayi Hunzapi Lenomo/Ndithakatha Kancini

Gallotone Records GB 1825

3 comments

  1. eina! sorry for that breakage Eddy – it hurts me to read of it .. I was in Windhoek and picked up some 78rpm pressed in SA: including Elvis and Jordainaires and two others with Elvis; plus Duane Eddy and a few others in addition to one or two South African Kwela / Vastrap cross-overs. If you are interested in the Elvis etc – e-mail me.


  2. Eddy, I broke a 78 of Al Bentley (SA rock n roller) but managed to fix it carefully with glue between two pieces of glass….plays fine on an old 78 player but probably not with a fine stylus


  3. Have found very similar to one of records in album. Going to glue the pieces after ongoing research.



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