To start the week I propose this rare album by South African group Jabula, found just last friday on a local flea-market, not so surprising since Holland has always had a long tradition with the ANC. During the struggle against Apartheid Holland supported the cause and sheltered South African artists in exile. This often resulted in releasing music locally that was banned  in South Africa during those days. The record was recorded and released in London, UK. The pressing is on Jabula Records, and I noticed that it was published in 1979. There are other releases on Virgin and Plaene. See label and cover for more details.

Jabula -Siakala -We Are Sad + Our Fathers

Jabula -Let Us Be Free


side A

1. Jabula Happiness

2. Baile-They are Gone

3. Listen To Me Crying

4. Naledi

5. Badishi-Herdboys

Side B

1. Thandi

2. Siakala -We Are Sad

3. Our Fathers

4. Let Us Be Free

Musicians featured on this album

Vicky Busiswe Mhlongo -lead vocals, Ken Eley -Tenor, Soprano, Madumetja Ranku -Guitar, percusssion, Mgotsi Mothle -Bass guitar, acoustic bass, backing vocals, Graham Morgan -drums, percussion, Sebothane Bahula -leader, African drums, percussion, Willy Cheetham -congas, percussion, backing vocals, Dudu Pukwana -alto, Eddie Quansah -trumpet, George Larnyoh -tenor, flute, Peter Van Der Puije -baritone, Jean Alian Roussel -keyboards, Maureen Koto Lembede -background vocals.

Produced by Dave Bloxham. Artwork and painting by the late South African artist Dumile Feni.

Published Jabula Records 1979 -JBL 2002 UK

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Two other albums; ‘Afrika Awake’ and ‘Zuid Afrikaanse muziek’ are also in my collection and I will happily provide rips in case there is any interest, just let me know! More info on Jabula in future posts…

Jabula was formed in 1974 and consisted of:

Julian Bahula, lead vocals, formerly of Philip Tabane’s Malombo Jazzmen

Ernest Mothle, bass guitar

Lucky Ranku, guitar and percussion

Eddie Tatane, percussion

The four members that became Jabula met in London where they were living after leaving South Africa.  Under the Apartheid regime, traditional African music was largely banned from radio and even private play, and groups who performed it were often forced into exile.

Here is an excerpt from Jabula’s Music own website

The year was 1964; the venue, Orlando Stadium, the era’s music mecca of South Africa; the occasion, the Castle Lager Jazz Festival, organised by impresario Sipho Sydney Sepamla, the internationally known poet. Three young men from Mamelodi, a township in Pretoria, created a great impact on the crowd of 60.000; the new sound of their music heralded a cultural awakening.

 This was the public birth of the Malombo Jazzmen, consisting of leader and guitar wizard, Philip Tabane, flautist and harmonica player, Abbey Cindi and Julian Bahula on traditional African Drums. These drums gave the group it’s distinctive sound and became known simply as Malombo drums.

In the 60’s, festivals in South Africa were run on a competitive basis, and the honours went to the Malombo Jazzmen; primitive yet sophisticated, simple and soulful. The 1964 Castle Lager Festival was the first time that Julian Bahula had played for such a large crowd of people and he describes his drums as sounding like a call for freedom.

see also this excellent post on Jabula at freedomblues

a discography(not complete) can be found here

5 thoughts on “Julian Bahula & Jabula -a call for freedom 1979

  1. Hi ,did you find this one in a carton on Waterlooplein ? ,as I found one there,the beginning of last week,but passed it up,as I had it already. Interestingly I believe this one was not recorded in Holland,whereas the other two was.This was originally released on Virgin in1975 and later with the same cover on Plaene,but this is the first copy on the Jabula label that I have seen.Like Africa Awake that was the first record to come out on Jabula Records.Africa Awake also saw release on Plaene,but with a different cover and name,African Soil.There is another rare Jabula that came out in Sweden,Freedom Yes! Apartheid No! on A Disc BS 790218.This was together with the Freedom Singers which included Thembi Mtshali on vocals,Cecil Barnard on piano and Victor Ntoni on bass.One of the the songs covered by Freedom Singers is Hleziphi,by Aby Cindi,which closes back the circle to the original Malombo/Malompo Jazz. Let the music flow ! afrikola

    1. hi Afrikola, yes, the record was found in a box on the Waterlooplein.

      The record was indeed not recorded in Holland but in London, UK. The pressing is on Jabula Records, and I noticed that it was published in 1979. See the label and cover.

      thanks for your additional info on Jabula,

  2. How amazing ! , if I had checked out the labels,this record might not have been here 😉 Always something new ! afrikola

  3. Hi Eddy, thanks for the great site!

    There is quite a comprehensive discography for Julian Bahula, his time with the Malombo Jazz Makers and Jabula at the flatint blog here:

    Also for more info such as liner notes on early Malombo albums check out the flatinternational website here:

    Thanks again!

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