Guitarist Ray Phiri R.I.P. (1947-2017)

ray phiri

Ray Phiri (born 23 March 1947, Hermansberg, near Nelspruit, South Africa – died 12 July 2017, Nelspruit, South Africa), whose guitar work reached a worldwide audience through his distinctive contributions to Paul Simon‘s hit Graceland and Rhythm of the Saints LPs, has died at the age of 70.

The BBC brings word of Phiri’s death, which took place at a clinic in the South African city of Nelspruit two months after he was diagnosed with lung cancer. He’d been hospitalized for several weeks, during which time he was the unwilling focus of a crowdfunding campaign to help defray his medical costs; according to an interview excerpted in the BBC’s report, he asked fans to let him “suffer [in peace with my] pain, on my own with my dignity.”

Phiri’s last public request reflects his lifelong approach to dealing with tragedy and misfortune. Among South Africa’s most widely respected musicians, he rose to prominence with his group Stimela (“train” in the Nguni language), a pioneering fusion band whose blend of smooth jazz with the Afropop mbaqanga sound proved popular — although not with the South African government in the apartheid era, during which Stimela’s records were occasionally banned and the state reportedly even tried spying on the group.

International stardom for Phiri proved somewhat fleeting — although his beautiful tone is instantly recognizable to anyone who listened to Simon’s music during the Graceland and Rhythm of the Saintsera, his tenure in Simon’s band was fairly brief given the massive success those albums enjoyed, and in later years, he alleged that he’d never been fairly credited or compensated for his work. Speaking with the Sunday Times, he spoke of his feud with Simon, but concluded — as he so often did — on an optimistic note.

“There’s bad blood with Paul Simon,” said Phiri. “He never gave me credit on the album for the songs I wrote, and financially we hardly got any royalties. But maybe I wouldn’t have been able to handle all that wealth. I sleep at night, I have my sanity and I enjoy living. The big rock ‘n’ roll machine did not munch me.”

In more recent years, Phiri continued to deal with personal struggles, including the death of his third wife in a 2014 car crash, yet he saw his musical legacy continue to grow — particularly at home, where the fall of South Africa’s racist apartheid regime opened an era in which his talents were not only acknowledged but valued by the state. In the wake of his passing, the African National Congress issued a statement praising Phiri’s inestimable contributions to the national culture.

“Ray Phiri was a voice for the voiceless and a legend of our time,” it reads. “An immensely gifted composer, vocalist and guitarist, he breathed consciousness and agitated thoughts of freedom through his music … He has played his role in unearthing and support new talent in the industry and has been an ardent and vocal advocate of the call for greater investment in local content development and the development of the industry as a whole.”

See also

Discovery of the Week -Thoughts Visions and Dreams -Ray Phiri

Stimela -Look, Listen And Decide 1986

banned records from South Africa

 

Kipper the Cat Show -Township South African 78s radio show

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listen to this radio show with some truly rare South African 78’s like Black Duke & Peter Makana’s  “Baboon Shepherd” as featured on Soul Safari’s last compilation Township Jive & Kwela Jazz Volume 4 LP

On this edition of the Kipper the Cat Show an amazing selection of Township South African 78s can be heard.

The 78s cover roughly a ten year period from about1957 to 1967 (yes they were still making 78s in South Africa then) and amongst others features Kwelas, Sax Jives, and some stunning vocal harmony group records.

The tracks chosen were lovingly selected jointly by the Kipper The Cat team and afrrican Music specialists Lucas Keen and Chris Peckham.

SA boogie/disco/Mbaqanga & some rare jazz

 

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vungu-vungu-yini-themba

the-special-5-isondo-liyadilaya

the-pedlars-at-the-club

the-big-six-you-have-got-to-be-straight

the-big-six-ngoaneso

tou-nontsiki-label

tou-imini-label

the-toppers-akukho-label

the-special-5-isondo-liyadilaya

the-special-5-indoda

the-blue-revues-spook-mahala

sophie-mcgina-thabo

mike-makhalemele-15th-ave

lujo-zip-up-your-boots

lujo-that-somebody

lionel-pillay-plum-label

lionel-pillay-cherry-label

izinkanyezi-label-b

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and a few rare field recordings as well….

AFRICAN SANCTUS – For African tapes, choir, operatic soprano, light soprano, shouter, African drummer, rock drummers, two percussion, electric guitar, bass guitar, piano, and Hammond M.100 organ.

amankentshane-mtaka-mtimande

abathokozisi-somandla

abathokozisi-maskihonze-kumdali

a-h-c-in-zion-thina

abakhwenyana-inkunzemnyama

abafana-beishingishane-nomoya

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rare recording of an actual auction of tobacco in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). Published by Tobacco Auctions Limited, Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia

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Township Jive & Kwela Jazz -new Volume 4 (1940-1965)

This is an exclusive offer for readers of Soul Safari!

180 grams vinyl LP edition including Registered Airmail Worlwide € 20

 Payments via PayPal. Fast delivery worldwide!

Buy Now Button

Downloads via iTunes are available now.

 KwelaJazzVol4iTunes

the fourth issue in the series ‘Township Jive & Kwela Jazz’ selected by Soul Safari.

Another outstanding collection of rare gems from the International Library of African Music (ILAM) Archives, South Africa.

Soul Safari presents Township Jive & Kwela Jazz Volume 4 (1940-1965)

Catalog nr. UP 2016.007 LP

Side A
1-Stamkoko -Izintombi Zesi manje manje (1965) 02:16
2-Udali– Maphela  (1960) 02:38
3-Sabela –Maphela  (1960) 02:30
4-Usana Lwam’– Mississippi Brothers & Beauty Diloane (1940) 02:36
5-Ukhiye–Susan  Gabashane & Her Honeybees  (1960) 02:46
6.Ukuhlupheka – Susan Gabashane & Her Honeybees (1960) 02:35
7.Umsakazo E Grahamstown– Alabhama Kids  (1960) 02:27
8.Lizzy–Mississippi Brothers (1940) 02:17
9.Asinamali– Alabhama Kids (1960) 02:21

Side B
1.Baboon Shepherd–Black Duke & Peter Makana (1950) 02:35
2.Battle Of The Flutes–Black Duke & Peter Makana (1950) 02:37
3.Shukuma Duke-Black Duke (1950) 02:27
4.Duke Blues-Black Duke (1950) 03:00
5.Black John–Peter Makana (1950) 02:20
6.Blood Mixture-Peter Makana – (1950) 02:15
7.Egoli Zinyozi –Alfred Dlezi & Dlamini (1950) 02:31

Township Jive & Kwela Jazz vol 4 (1940-1965) coming soon!

Soul Safari is proud to present a brand new release

Township Jive & Kwela Jazz 4 (1940-1965)

coming soon!

KwelaJazzVol4iTunes

Discovery of the Week -Thoughts Visions and Dreams -Ray Phiri

TVD front watermarked

On my recent safari my attention was drawn immediately to this album, the artwork and the name Ray Phiri performed magic.  Chikapa “Ray” Phiri of course is well known for his work on Paul Simon’s “Graceland” album and popular South Africa bands like The Cannibals and Stimela, a hugely successful mbaquanga/fusion outfit which released several platinum-selling albums. But I have never seen this album before….so that’s why it is Discovery of the Week. File under African Jazz, Boogie, Funk, Soul….

 Thoughts Visions and Dreams

A Man-A Dog-And A Cow

Featuring Ray Phiri

TVD back watermarked

Thoughts Visions And Dreams are:

Ray Phiri: guitar; Ntokozo Zingu: guitar; immy Mngwandi: bass guitar; Donald Laka: keyboards; Isaac Mtshali: drums;Emelio Zulfar Hassan: percussion; Mcoy Mrubata:tenor sax; Bakhiti Khumalo

Guest artists:

Teaspoon Ndelu: alto sax;Mandla Masuku:alto sax;Sello Mpatsoane: trumpet

Singers:

Mandisa Dlanga, Marilyn Nokwe, Phumzile Ntuli, Nomuntu Kapa, Beaulah Hashe, Lloyd Lelosa, Wings Segale and Ray Phiri

 TVD label watermarked

A side

“Thoughts Visions And Dreams”

“Step Out Of My Life”

“Nothing Makes Sense”

B side

“Play That Sax”

“Cupid Shoot That Arrow”

“Dreams Of A Missionary”

Recorded in 1985 at RPM Studios Johannesburg.

Released in 1989 Gallo Records South Africa

4 hour music special -South African jazz, soul & funk -Listen@Radio 6 Vrije Geluiden (VPRO) -26th July 2014

Radio 6 Vrije  Geluiden (VPRO) -20.000h-24.000h

een 4 uur durende muziekspecial over Zuid Afrikaanse jazz, soul & funk door dj Eddy De Clercq & Frank Jochemsen. In dit programma gaat samensteller Eddy De Clercq terug naar de geschiedenis van jazz en de diverse invloeden van Nederland en Engeland in de muziek van Zuid Afrika. Vooral in Cape Jazz is dit duidelijk terug te horen maar ook in latere stijlen als township jive & kwela jazz zitten elementen welke Westers aandoen maar verweven worden met typische Zuid Afrikaanse melodieën en zang. Maar ook de excellente soul-jazz uit 1969 -een belangrijke periode in dit genre- komt aan bod, alsook de Mzansi House van 2014 naast enkele eigen producties van Eddy De Clercq & Friends, opgenomen in Zuid Afrika. Luister!

Radio 6 Vrije  Geluiden (VPRO) -20.000h-24.000h

A 4 hour music special about South African music; jazz, soul & funk by dj Eddy De Clercq & Frank Jochemsen. In this program, compiler Eddy De Clercq dives deep into the history of
South African jazz and the various influences of the Netherlands and England on the music of the country. Especially in Cape Jazz these influences are clear, but also in later styles as township jive & jazz kwela  Western genres like R&B and jazz are interwoven with typical South African melodies and vocals. But also the excellent soul-jazz of 1969an important period in this genre- is discussed, as well as the Mzansi House 2014 alongside some of Eddy De Clercq’s own productions, recorded in South Africa.

The programme is presented in the Dutch language, but the music speaks for itself. Listen!

Vrije Geluiden 26 Juli 2014
dj Eddy De Clercq & presentator Frank Jochemsen

Vrije Geluiden Radio 6 20.00h-24.00h -26th July 2014-Theme: South Africa