Zulu Motor Trophies 2011 -Carnival Coon Minstrels

March 23, 2011

Following on from another previous post this week, Zulu Motor in which I described discovering a box on the shelves of a dusty old bookstore in the hinterlands of the Karoo, the moment has come to unveil  its content. A  box  filled with 78 shellac discs  and a few 10” albums that must have belonged to a passionate collector. The  box had been mailed and delivered  in 1959 to a  lover of music who lived in George.

Words fail me to express the joy of finding this. !

An amazing selection of discs, ranging from the usual Italian tenor favourites by the likes of Beniamino Gigli and Joseph Schmidt, and as I flipped through the content some long of out-of-print pristine kwela jazz and black African 78’s turned up. Rare recordings that link the historical connection from the earliest South African choir singing to modern groups like Ladysmith Black Mambazo and minstrelsy coon sounds that were the prime inspirational source for jazz musicians like Abdullah Ibrahim’s Dollar Brand.

Caluza’s Double Quartet, Solomon Linda’s Original Evening Birds, Michael’s Nightingales, a few hits by the Manhattan Brothers, Spokes Mashiyane …even a bundle of novelty picture discs! Never have seen those African pic discs before but more on that matter later .

The recording of the original 78 has not been processed (take out hiss etc. ) so natural dynamics have been preserved.

Coon Carnival Minstrels -Die Rietjie-More, More Tannie

Coon Carnival Minstrels -Hanover Street Melody

More on Carnival Coon and minstrelsy music in following posts.


  1. Nice find Eddie! Enjoy the trip.

  2. i like it Zulu Motor Trophies 2011 -Carnival Coon Minstrels « Soul Safari after this im your rss reader

  3. My name is Sandile Caluza, the grandson of R.T. Caluza. I reside at Ulundi, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa.

  4. I am really interested in the Carnival Coon Minstrels – which sound so much like the American spirituals by the Fisk Jubilee Singers and Virginia Female Jubilee Singers versions of “Oh Mary don’t you Weep” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L85wibtImgM
    I can hear similarities???
    Would you happen to have any great links that discuss the origins of the Coon Carnival ? I have read that it originated in the 1830’s but then also again in the late 1890’s. I am doing a research paper on South Africa – Cape Town and the Coon Carnival Minstrels – really interesting.

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