Todays post features one of the most charming and unusually good lounge records found in South Africa on my last safari during the past few months
I am happy to add this rare album to my ever-growing collection of music for restaurant, nightclubs and lounges
The album “A Cosmopolitan Night With Silva Bera and Her Rumbadores” was recorded live in the mid 60s at the Lourenco Marques Restaurant in Johannesburg, while the cover photo was taken at another restaurant/club The Casino in Johannesburg
The repertoire represents that cosmopolitan sound that was ever so popular in the 60s in the nightlife and restaurants where the South African well-heeled big city dwellers came to dance and romance; Cha Cha, Tango, Baion, Rumba and Mediterrean popular music. All arranged and played by a South African female bandleader and singer accompanied by The Rumbadores and choral group The Mellotones…
A very well know group working in the same style and sound as Silva Bera were The Chakachas, a Belgian based group of Latin soul and Afro Cuban studio musicians, founded in 1958 by bandleader Gaston Bogaert.
See also my previous posts
A Cosmopolitan Night With Silva Bera and Her Rumbadores
Silva Bera was born in Istanbul. Her father is a Turk, her mother is Greek and her grandmother is Italian. At the age of five she started playing the piano, singing and composition at the Conservatoire of Athens for twelve year. It was there that she learnt her unique microphone technique and stage presentation. Apart from Miss Bera’s remarkable musical ability she speaks Turkish, Greek, French, Italian and English fluently and sings in many other languages like Hebrew, Portuguese and Spanish.
She came to South Africa as a young singer and has performed in most of the best Johannesburg restaurants, where she has thrilled her audiences with her husky voice and Continental charm. She is accompanied by Her Rumbadores and she is probably the only woman bandleader in the country and although she finds this difficult, she will never lose courage, as she hopes to make her contribution to music in South Africa.
She has become known as the Catherina Valente of South Africa and although she is very proud of this status, she prefers to be known by her own style. South African musicians like Dan Hill and many others have helped and inspired to success and she is most grateful tot hem.
Silva Bera’s versatility and vibrant personality are predominant on this variety packed album.
see also my previous post on Dan Hill and Dana Valery
Listen to both sides of this rare album in its original sequence with live audience participating…
MAMADU is a fast cha cha which she sings in Brazilian.
She sings HANEGEV, a sad desert song, in Hebrew and in a man’s voice. A soldier sings to his mother from the desert, telling her that it is his duty to fight.
SALADE DE FRUITS is sung in French with a cha cha rhythm. The girl’s fiance name is Fruit Salad. She asks him to marry her because she likes him and everything he does.
POR DOS BESOS is sung in Spanish and Italian and is a Tango Cha Cha. It is the story of a girl who tells her boyfriend not to joke with love and to marry her. This is an extremely difficult song to sing because the lyrics alternate between Spanish and Italian with every two words.
Miss Bera sings IMITTOS in Greek and the rhythm is a baion.
The Rumbadores open Side Two of the record with their own special interpretation of GOLDEN GIRL, which is followed by Miss Bera singing in English her own arrangement of AROUND THE WORLD in a cha cha rhythm.
There are two songs which are special features on the album, introducing the drummer of the Rumbadores, Stefano La Placa, who sings LET ME CRY and TINTERELLA DI LUNA.
Miss Bera sings AL DI LA in italian and in a slow rock style.
SIFIRIZO is her own composition, which means I’m Whistling. It is a slow baion and is sung in Greek. It is about a street girl who blames society for what she has become and walks the streets whistling when she is looking for a man.
BAN DI RUOLA is a fast cha cha sung in italian.
All the choral backings on this album are provided by The Mellotones.
Silva Bera and Her Rumbadores –A Cosmopolitan Night With (Continental Records ZB 8025- South Africa)
Also re-issued as Silva Bera and Her Rumbadores:Turkish Delight (Black Cat Productions 2016)