over the weekend I dug into the finds of my latest SA trip last March. Still a few boxes of records to unpack, an activity that always brings a lot of joy and new insights in South African music history.

Like this single by The Kwela Kids Plus One featured here today, released in September 1969. I had expected the standard Kwela jive fare but was totally surprised by the sophisticated jazz beats.  The guitar of Joshua Sithole binds the rhytmic structures nicely together and adds an unique touch of jazz excellence. While the flute on ‘Duke In Soul’ is paying homage to the horn section of the Duke Ellington Orchestra indeed…

The Kwela Kids Plus One -Our Strange Ways

Writer of these songs  is Joshua Sithole,  his music taking inspiration from the kwela and mbaqanga styles.

As a self-taught lead guitarist Joshua began busking with the Kwela Kids in 1959 in Cape Town and later with Sipho ‘Hotstix’ Mabuse in his group The Beaters in Johannesburg. Note also the misspelling of his name as Joshua Sitole on earlier recordings.

The Kwela Kids Plus One -Duke In Soul

In 1978 he went solo and played in venues around the country, thrilling audiences with his distinctive style. During the eighties he became known to Durban audiences through his various residencies at places like the Lonsdale and Westville Hotels.

Sithole was born in Rylands, but his family moved to Gugulethu during the era of forced removals. He was committed to his family and to passing on his skills to others. Josh Sithole, one of Cape Town’s best-loved musicians and a favourite of many South African music-lovers, died on Sunday 20 June 1999.

excerpts from an article from the AFRICAN INVASION OF ROCK website

see also Joshua Sithole: Joshua Sithole’s Africa 

One thought on “SA Kwela Jazz -The Kwela Kids Plus One -Joshua Sithole

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