GROUNDBREAKING SOUTH AFRICAN MUSICAL ‘KING KONG’ TO DEBUT ON CD

king kong london programme cover
King Kong -London UK 1961 theater programme -cover

GROUNDBREAKING SOUTH AFRICAN MUSICAL ‘KING KONG’ TO DEBUT ON CD‘King Kong’ – Original London Cast Recording to be released on September 28th 2018

Stage Door Records is pleased to announce the debut CD release of ‘King Kong’, the groundbreaking South African Jazz Musical. The Original 1961 London Cast Album of ‘King Kong’ will be released on September 28th 2018.

see also King Kong -Original London Stage Cast 1961

‘King Kong’ was a pioneering South African musical which portrayed the life and times of the heavyweight boxer, Ezekiel Dlamini, known as “King Kong”. Born in 1921, after a meteoric boxing rise, his life degenerated into drunkenness and gang violence. He knifed his girlfriend, asked for the death sentence during his trial and instead was sentenced to 14 years hard labour. He was found drowned in 1957 and it was believed his death was suicide. He was 36. Billed as a ‘Jazz-Opera’, ‘King Kong’ featured music by Todd Matshikiza and lyrics by Pat Williams. The production was first staged at Johannesburg’s Witwatersrand University Great Hall, opening on February 2nd 1959 and went on to take South Africa by storm.Nelson Mandela attended the opening night and is on record as highlighting the show as his favourite musical. The original South African production starred Nathan Mdledle, Ruth Nkonyane, Dan Poho and Miriam Makeba, helping launch Makeba’s international singing career.

king kong london 1961 production LP cover front watermarked gecomp

West End theatre impresario Jack Hylton was determined to bring the ground breaking South African musical to London, insisting that as many of the original cast members as possible transfer with the production. ‘King Kong’ subsequently opened at London’s Princes Theatre on February 23rd 1961 and ran for 201 performances. Critics praised ‘King Kong’ for its inventive staging, stand out performances and vibrant score.

In more recent times, ‘King Kong’ has been recognised for the pioneering role the production played in breaking down racial barriers, defying the colour bar and uniting black and white South Africans at the height of the apartheid era. In 2017 the musical was profiled by BBC Radio 3 and later revived in South Africa by the Fugard Theatre Company.

Stage Door Records are pleased to debut the Original London 1961 Cast recording of ‘King Kong’ on CD. The recording is complemented with selections from the Original 1959 South African Cast recording, including many songs that were subsequently cut from the London production. The CD concludes with a handful of bonus tracks including pop covers of ‘Back Of The Moon’ and ‘The Earth Turns Over’ by Elaine Delmar and a jazz instrumental of the show’s title song by Terry Lightfoot’s New Orleans Jazzmen.

see also King Kong -programme The New London Version 1961

king kong london programme titel pagina 20
King Kong -London UK 1961 theater programme -detail

 

‘KING KONG’ – ORIGINAL LONDON CAST RECORDING (STEREO)
1. SAD TIMES, BAD TIMES – Company
2. MARVELLOUS MUSCLES – Nathan Mdledle, Company
3. KING KONG – Nathan Mdledle, Company
4. KWELA KONG – Orchestra
5. BACK OF THE MOON – Peggy Phango
6. THE EARTH TURNS OVER – Sophie Mgcina
7. DAMN HIM! – Joseph Mogotsi
8. GUMBOOT DANCE – Company
9. KING KING – Company
10. BE SMART, BE WISE – Ben Masinga, Sophie Mgcina, Lemmy “Special” Mabaso
11. CRAZY KID – Lemmy “Special” Mabaso And The Alexander Junior Bright Boys
12. TSHOTSHOLOSA – ROAD SONG – Company
13. QUICKLY IN LOVE – Nathan Mdledle, Peggy Phango, Stephen Moloi, Ben Masinga, Patience Gcowabe
14. IN THE QUEUE – Company
15. IT’S A WEDDING – Company
16. WEDDING HYMN – Company
17. DEATH SONG – Nathan Mdledle
18. KING KING (Reprise) – Company
19. SAD TIMES, BAD TIMES (Finale) – Orchestra

‘KING KONG’ – ORIGINAL SOUTH AFRICAN CAST RECORDING
20. SAD TIMES, BAD TIMES – Company
21. MARVELLOUS MUSCLES – Nathan Mdledle, Company
22. KING KONG – Nathan Mdledle, Company
23. BACK OF THE MOON – Miriam Makeba
24. PETAL’S SONG (THE EARTH TURNS OVER) – Ruth Nkonyane
25. DAMN HIM! – Joseph Mogotsi
26. STRANGE THINGS HAPPEN – Ruth Nkonyane, Joseph Mogotsi
27. BETTER THAN NEW – Nathan Mdledle, Company
28. MAD – Dan Poho, Company
29. QUICKLY IN LOVE – Miriam Makeba
30. IT’S A WEDDING (Original South African Cast Recording) – Company
BONUS TRACKS
31. BACK OF THE MOON – Elaine Delmar
32. THE EARTH TURNS OVER – Elaine Delmar
33. KING KONG – Terry Lightfoot’s New Orleans Jazzmen

see also King Kong, the first All African Jazz Opera 1956

For more information visit:  http://www.stagedoorrecords.com/stage9057.html

king kong 1
King Kong -1959 South African 1st release

kwela swingsters

 

Dance for All Juniors ‘Phepezela’. Choreography by Hope Nongqongqo

Music in this video: “Pennywhistle” by  Mango Groove | Mduduzi Magwaza / Sipho Bhengu

from the album Grand Masters Collection: Pennywhistle & Marabi

The Kwela Swingsters is Australia’s leading exponents of Kwela, South African penny whistle jive music!

Band leader Andy Rigby learned the Kwela style penny whistle playing while he was living in Botswana in the 80’s. The unique way of ‘bending”  the sound of the penny whistle gives the Kwela swing music its distinctive vibe.

With its rhythms rooted firmly in swing, add a lot of South African vibe and you have one happy dancing band.

The Kwela Swingsters have got many a foot dancing at leading Festivals in Australia:

  • Canberra National Folk Festival
  • Port Fairy Folk Festival
  • Fairbridge Festival

Lost Dreams; Grande Hotel Beira, Mozambique

In one of the grandest hotels in the world, born of and to luxury, today you enter ‘at own risk’. More than 2500 people live there without water or electricity. They have taken possession of the building and manipulated not only the stones but also the dreams. A journey through present and past of a city in a city; a story about colonial megalomania, revolutionary vanity and feeling at home.

grande hotel beira mozambique afbeelding

The Grande Hotel Beira was a luxurious hotel in Beira, Mozambique built by entrepreneur Arthur Brandão. It was open from 1954 to 1964, after which the holiday resort was used as military base and prison in the Mozambican Civil War. It has since fallen into disuse, and is currently home to numerous squatters, who have stripped the building of construction materials to provide a limited source of income.

Its failure wasn’t completely because of the revolution or government rule but the construction and maintenance costs were too high and they didn’t receive enough guests because of more affordable and better located competition.

In 1964, after ten years of operation, the Grande Hotel was closed by the Companhia de Moçambique. The construction costs were three times more than the original budget, and the hotel never made any profit. The anticipated number of wealthy guests never came and the workforce was too large for the amount of guests actually received. Every elevator, for example, had its own operator present. The hotel needed a lot of maintenance to keep it in its luxurious condition.

Listen to Kumbe Siyengetile [Mozambique] – Francis Baloyi, Sangaan Band

See also this Belgian documentary by  Lotte Stoops filmed in Beira, Mozambique in 2010. Winner of the Biarritz International Festival of Audiovisual Programming 2012

grand-hotel-mozambique.2

In several documents it was claimed that the reason for closure was the refusal of the regime to grant the hotel a casino permit. Any realistic estimation would have predicted the failure of the hotel. The white residents of Southern Africa couldn’t afford this level of luxury and Beira was not known, internationally, as a prime holiday destination for wealthy people. Destinations like the Bazaruto archipelago at Vilanculos, the Mediterranean city life style of the Mozambican capital Lourenço Marques, the South African Krüger national park and the Victoria Falls in Rhodesia where more famous across the world.

A cheaper alternative to the Grande Hotel was the Ambassador Hotel. This hotel opened just after the inauguration of the Grande Hotel and was preferred by business people because it was situated in the Baixa (downtown) area, where most of the business offices were located. Remarkably, Arthur Brandão was also the owner of this hotel.

Happy New Year 2018! Cape Comic Songs

 

Happy New Year 2018! And what better way to celebrate the New Year with some classic Cape Comic Songs of The Cape Town Street Parade then and now…

Gabriel Bayman croaks Cape comic songs

Backed by Ballie & his Bolle

RCA 32-248 South Africa

Gabriel Bayman Cape Comic songs cover

Over the years the Coloured people of the Cape Peninsula have developed a musical sound of their own, which is as much part of the Cape’s heritage as it’s sparkling white beaches and autumn-hued vinyeards. Drifting on the evening air the plink-a-plonk of banjos and guitars and almost brazen sound of saxophones pour from labourers cottages on the farms of Constantia or from the warren-like, sprawling slum of District Six; from shanties tucked amid the Port Jackson Willows and sand dunes of the Cape Flats or the neatly terraced fisherman’s cottages of Hout Bay comes the sound of the Cape Carnival Beat.

 

And with the advent of the New Year all the joy and some of the sadness of the people whips though the streets of Cape Town in a kaleidoscope of coloured silks and beaming faces during the Carnival.

The songs which they sing –many of them wreathed in passed history, others reflecting history being made today- and the music which they make are as distinctively part of the Peninsula as the heavy white clouds hanging over Table Mountain –the so-called Table Cloth.

Gabriel Bayman is well known as broadcaster and for his characterisations of the Cape Coloured Folk whom he knows so well.

Though he did occasional stage work, including Waiting for Godot (1959) for the National Theatre Organisation (NTO), The Amorous Prawn (1961) at the Alexander Theatre, The Physicists (1963) for the Langford-Inglis Company, A Flea in Her Ear (1968) for the Johannesburg Repertory Players and Canterbury Tales (musical) (1970-71) at the Civic Theatre in Johannesburg, radio listeners were frequently exposed to his voice, even though they did not always realise that it was him. Amongst the programmes in which he featured were 33 Half Moon Street, written first by Adrian Steed and then by Douglas Laws (1965-66), General Motors on Safari, produced by Michael McCabe (1965-69), Squad Cars, directed by David Gooden (1968-85), Eloquent Silence (1969) produced by Cecil Jubber and The Challenge of Space, with Donald Monat (1969-70).

And Bayman starred in a few locally produced movies as well; “The Cape Town Affair” is his best known, a 1967 glamorized spy film produced by 20th Century Fox at Killarney Film Studios in South Africa.

Commentators describe the film as dull, slow-paced, poorly acted and tedious. The film does, however, paint an interesting picture of life in South Africa under apartheid as seen from the point of view of official government policy. All the leading characters are white and even street scenes contain few non-whites.

He also brought out a number of long-playing records, including Die Stories van Oompie Boetie Baradien, Kindersprokies Oorvertel and Gabriel Bayman Croaks Cape Comic Songs. (FO)

Source; ESAT Gabriel Bayman

 

Gabriel Bayman Cape Comic songs label

The origins of many of the ‘moppies’and ‘goemaliedjies’which you will hear are often obscured by time. In the late 1940’s one of the main hit numbers of the year was the song “Mona Lisa”, which blared from juke-boxes and radios throughout the country. The Coloureds took it to their hearts and developed it into a song along their own particular-and sometimes peculiar lines. Every year the winning troupe of the Carnival sings a particular song on its way back to District Six as it marches along Somerset Road. Invariably it is an adaption of the ‘hit of the year’and in this instance ‘Mona Lisa’ was the song. Naturally the words and even the theme was altered, and it ended up as a bawdry, frivolous street song which caught the enthousiasm of everyone who heard it.

Gabriel Bayman -Mona Lisa

Gabriel Bayman -So Lank As Die Rietjie In Die Water Le

Gabriel Bayman -Beestepote

Gabriel Bayman -Veepoot Kwela 

Gabriel Bayman -Ry Hom Boetie Ry Hom

Gabriel Bayman -Die Sop

 

Perhaps the most delightful of all the lyrics on this record is ‘Ry hom, boetie ry hom….’ A racing song if ever there was one! In the old days, when races were run on the Green  Point Common this is a song that certainly was sung. A lady visitor from Britain wrote in the 1860s  “how curious it is to see one of our elegant English jockeys being beaten to the post by a wizened little Hottentot”. One can only imagine that the ‘wizened little’ jockey concerned was egged on to the winning post with this cry.

For any South African, English or Afrikaans speaking, this record is a real party piece, guaranteed to set feet tapping and partners twirling to the ending, the traditional farewell, “Baiei Terima Kassie”, “Maak Vir Julle Klaar Om Nou Huistoe te Gaan” want Tante Fiena draai, tot die eerste hoender kraai.

Liner notes by Peter Schirmer

See also

songs and dances from Cape Malay fit for a king

Happy New Year 2015 from Cape Town

Best African music finds 2017 # 6 ABAFANA BASEQHUDENI -Umdumo -mbaqanga South Africa

one post a day for the remainder of 2017 featuring a selection of some of my best finds of African music last year…not necessary brand new releases. Mostly vintage records found during my travels all over the world.

Best African music finds 2017 # 6

ABAFANA BASEQHUDENI -Umdumo (‘Mighty Thunder’)

Gumba Gumba BL 89 1976 South Africa

abafana baseqhudeni -umdumo cover watermarked

Abafana Baseqhudeni is a male mbaqanga group formed in 1975 by members of the Mahothella Queens and Space Queens. Umdumo (‘Mighty Thunder’) was produced by West Nkosi and Marks Mankwana and became their biggest album in 1976.

abafana baseqhudeni -umdumo label watermarked

Abafana Baseqhudeni -Biyela Wami

Abafana Baseqhudeni -Bayajabula Bonke

Abafana Baseqhudeni -Dabula Amazwe

Abafana Baseqhudeni -Isihlahla

Abafana Baseqhudeni -Mabuyemendweni

Abafana Baseqhudeni -Hambizwe

See also

14 Mbaqanga gems in da Yuletide Mix 2011

Soul Brothers & Sisters -Township Soul & Boogie vol 7; Mbaqanga

Best African music finds 2017 #7 -Farafina –Bolomakoté Burkina Faso

farafina-en-tunisieone post a day for the remainder of 2017 featuring a selection of some of my best finds of African music last year…not necessary brand new releases. Mostly vintage original pressings found during my travels all over the world.

#7 Farafina ‎– Bolomakoté

veraBra Records ‎– veraBra No. Germany 1989

 

farafina -bolomakoté cover watermarked

Farafina is a group of percussionists / dancers from Burkina Faso in West Africa, founded orginally by Mahama Konaté.

Excellent workouts on traditional African instruments like the balafon and djembé are recorded on this album, one of the standout tracks of ‘Bolomakoté’ is the track “Moroman Wouele”, an amazing rhythm journey with hypnotic chants! The track starts seductively like a North African belly dance morphing gradually into a faster samba rhythm. The latin theme re-appears even stronger on the B-side….dance-floor friendly album for sure.

Farafina’s ability to expand their music without denying their traditional instruments has enabled them to experience new forms and record with musicians such as Jon Hassell, the Rolling Stones, Ryuichi Sakamato, Daniel Lanois, Billy Cobham, Joji Hirota….

In 1988 Farafina worked together with Jon Hassell on an ambient/experimental album ‘Flash Of The Spirit’. The group played several times at the Montreux Jazz Festival, and stole the show at the famous Nelson Mandela’s birthday concert in the London Wembley Stadium.

farafina -bolomakoté label watermarked

A1 Moroman Wouele 4:22

A2 Bolomakoté Mahama 3:42

A3 Mandela 3:06

A4 Nianiae Lomina 4:54

A5 Kodine 5:08

B1 Samba 4:20

B2 Patron Mousso (Instrumental) 5:40

B3 Goulikanairi Ye 2:53

B4 Kabouroudibi 6:23

 

Farafina_2008_2-500-1

 

Credits

Balafon – Baba Diara, Mahama Konaté

Djembé – Paco Yé Adama

Flute – Soungalo Coulibaly

Lead Vocals – Mahama Konaté, Paco Yé Adama, Soungalo Coulibaly

Maracas – Souleyname Sanou, Soungalo Coulibaly

Percussion [Bara] – Beh Palm, Baba Ouatara

Percussion [Doudoum’ba] – Baba Diara

Percussion [Doudoum’ni] – Souleyname Sanou, Tiawara Keita

Talking Drum – Tiawara Keita

Voom-Ba Voom -Rock ‘n Roll in South Africa

 

In the 1930’s African Jazz Music became an important feature in the lives of many urban Africans and some remarkable talent began to emerge in Johannesburg.

In 1952 the Union of Southern African Artists came into being with the dual function of promoting the talent that had already been shown to exist in the musical and dramatic field and to act as an Artist’s Equity. The union promoted Township Jazz concerts which were the first large scale African entertainments to be presented in the capital of South Africa, and arranged for white and non-European audiences to see and hear a wide range of entertainment by black and colored artists.

South African Institute for Race Relations presents African Jazz and Variety

The Woody Woodpeckers -Fanagalo 

Fanagalo is a pidgin or simplified language, based primarily on Zulu. It is used as a lingua franca, mainly by workers in the gold, diamond, coal and copper mines.

the-woody-woodpeckers   This rare 10″  includes two songs by The Woody Woodpeckers, a group around  songwriter and musician, Victor Ndlazilwane, who was awarded the Metro FM Lifetime Achievement award in 2006 in South Africa. During his early career, Ndlazilwane was part of the legendary Woody Woodpeckers group as well as the Jazz Ministers, both of which were signed to Gallo Record Company. The Jazz Ministers were the first African jazz band to perform at the prestigious Newport Jazz Festival in New York.

King Jeff & His African Jazz Troupe -Rock Around The Clock 

At the end of the 40’s and mid-50’s when Rock ‘n Roll swept through the world like a tsunami, a bleached derivative of American Jazz and R&B music was popular in South Africa. Black and white musicians, singers and performers catered for the refined taste of the well heeled visitors and sophisticated dancers that frequented the big hotels and nightclubs of the big cities like Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban.  There existed a circuit of hip hangouts and palaces of nocturnal pleasures; theaters, nightclubs, bars and restaurants where live music was an extra attraction to the fine dining and luxurious surroundings. Valet parking included. But the jungle rhythms of the American originals  were a wee bit too adventurous to serve as a soundtrack for an exquisite night out at The Colony Hotel or The Beachcomber. So more musicians, singers and bands turned towards the then popular sound of the Mediterranean countries like Italy or Portugal. Many landed in Johannesburg , the city of gold & diamonds where riches and fame was to be found aplenty.

a night at Franco's watermarked    Such a nightclub/restaurant was Franco’s, located in downtown Johannesburg. The nightclub was a famous hangout for the city’s well-heeled crowd, musical entertainment consisted mainly of evergreens from around the world, sometimes local songs were included in the repertoire. A mixed bag really, something you can dance to or just listen to in the safety of a segregated environment.

The Beachcomber in Durban and The Grand Hotel Beira in Mozambique were similar hangouts, where well-to-do visitors from Portuguese Angola, the Belgian Congo or the Rhodesias could unwind on a dream holiday. Or they came to make a business deal, or simply to be entertained by the best of performers around.

Grande Hotel, a beautiful Art Deco resort in Beira, Mozambique opened in 1955.

The Three Petersen Brothers and Nico Carstens and his Orchestra

The Three Petersen Brothers, Mervyn, Basil and Andy, are really brothers who belong to one of the oldest theatrical families in South Africa. They are versatile and musically gifted, touring the country, appearing on stage, in variety and as cabaret artists in every nightclub in South Africa, in addition to regular radio performances. ‘On Safari’ is their first LP recording together with the famous Nico Carstens Orchestra.

from the original liner notes by Anton De Waal of ‘On Safari’ Columbia 33JS 11011 South Africa 

Three Petersen Brothers -Voom-Ba Voom 

Three Petersen Brothers -Pondoland

Three Petersen Brothers -Jo’burg Samba

Nigel Crawford with the Gold Diggers

“Gold Rock (You’ve Got to Dig, Dig, Dig for Gold)” is the title of a 78 rpm by Nigel Crawford with the Gold Diggers. The song explains why a small settlement in Gauteng could grow into the famed capital of ‘eGoli’, a Zulu word meaning “place of gold”. Johannesburg could not be bettered as an appropriate locale for the story of all those who came starry eyed to the big city, chasing a dream.

Nigel Crawford with the Gold Diggers -Gold Rock

Nigel Crawford with the Gold Diggers -Hamba Lala (African Calypso)

john massey and his warriors -fanagalo watermarked

 

John Massey and his Warriors -African Rock ‘n Roll 

John Massey and his Warriors -Fanagalo