‘Ndibkhumbule, Nkosi (Remember Me, Oh Lord)’ -sung in Xhosa soprano, choir & piano ‘The Lord bless you and keep you’ choir & orchestra
from a live recording of a concert held in Port Elizabeth (EC) on Saturday 5th March 2005. Visit of Chief Apostle Richard Fehr. Richard Fehr (15 July 1939 – 30 June 2013) was the seventh Chief Apostle (international church president) of the New Apostolic Church from 22 May 1988 to 15 May 2005.
The New Apostolic Church (NAC) is a chiliastic Christian church that split from the Catholic Apostolic Church during an 1863 schism in Hamburg, Germany.
on my recent trip to South Africa last January 2020 I found this LP ‘How Long’, a recording of an obscure musical, written in 1973 by Gibson Kente (born July 23, 1932, Duncan Village, near East London, South Africa – died November 7, 2004, Soweto, South Africa).
Gibson Kente was a South African playwright, screenplay writer and musician. He also taught many high profile South African performers how to act, sing and dance, including Brenda Fassie and Mbongeni Ngema.
One of his earlier works ‘Sikalo’ (1966) was already in my collection but ‘How Long’ is another eye-opener. Musically the compositions are quite diverse, from African jazz to hymns, beautifully performed by a group of singers and musicians unknown to me; Zakithi Diamini, Zakes Kuse, Mary Twala, Ndaba Twala and others.
The condition of the LP was poor, scratched vinyl, torn worn cover with the name Bra Cecil on the labels, it clearly was once a well loved record in a township somewhere….
I thought that the theme of this musical and the music fits the date and spirit of this post perfectly. The musical ‘How Long’ is a document that reminds me of the horror of the Sharpeville massacre on March 21, 1960. Exactly 60 years ago. Today 21st March 2020 we commemorate Sharpeville and Human Rights Day.
Both sides of this LP can be heard in their integrality with all the crackle and hiss but the music still stands proud.
Sharpeville massacre, (March 21, 1960), incident in the black township of Sharpeville, near Vereeniging, South Africa, in which police fired on a crowd of black people, killing or wounding some 250 of them. It was one of the first and most violent demonstrations against apartheid in South Africa.
The Pan-Africanist Congress (PAC), a splinter group of the African National Congress (ANC) created in 1959, organized a countrywide demonstration for March 21, 1960, for the abolition of South Africa’s pass laws. Participants were instructed to surrender their reference books (passes) and invite arrest. Some 20,000 blacks gathered near a police station at Sharpeville, located about 30 miles (50 km) south of Johannesburg. After some demonstrators, according to police, began stoning police officers and their armoured cars, the officers opened fire on them with submachine guns. About 69 blacks were killed and more than 180 wounded, some 50 women and children being among the victims. A state of emergency was declared in South Africa, more than 11,000 people were detained, and the PAC and ANC were outlawed. Reports of the incident helped focus international criticism on South Africa’s apartheid policy. Following the dismantling of apartheid, South African President Nelson Mandela chose Sharpeville as the site at which, on December 10, 1996, he signed into law the country’s new constitution.
A Tribute to South African Airways -Suid Afrikaanse Lugdiens-
now that most airlines face such hard times, I would like to pay this tribute to South African Airways. The expiration date of this company is no longer guaranteed, but it would be a real disaster for South Africa if this beautiful company disappears. Come on people, fly SAA as long as you can.
South African Airways was founded in 1934 after the acquisition of Union Airways by the South African government. The airline was initially overseen and controlled by South African Railways and Harbours Administration. Anti-apartheid sanctions by African countries deprived the airline of stopover airports during apartheid, forcing it to bypass the continent with long-range aircraft. During this time, it was also known by its Afrikaans name, Suid-Afrikaanse Lugdiens (SAL, lit. ”South African air service”), which has since been dropped by the airline. In 1997 SAA changed its name, image and aircraft livery and introduced online ticketing services. In 2006, SAA was split from Transnet, its parent company, to operate as an independent airline. It remains one of the largest of South Africa’s state owned enterprises. SAA owns Mango, a low-cost domestic airline, and has established links with Airlink and South African Express. It is a member of the Star Alliance.
but for how long?
On 5 December 2019, the Government of South Africa announced that SAA would enter into bankruptcy protection, as the airline has not turned a profit since 2011 and ran out of money. In January 2020, South African Airways announced that it will suspend several routes, national and international, in order to reduce its financial struggle.
to celebrate the first day of the New Year 2020 Soul Safari focuses on those great vintage soul jazz tunes as a tribute to the musicians who made them.
Real obscure and collectible titles by The Drive, The Shyannes, The Sounds or The Nightingales but also a rarity by better known Cape Jazz artist like Morris Goldberg. Enjoy this selection of original singles and a few albums, ranging from 1969 to 1985…all from the Soul Safari collection.
Soul Safari will continue in 2020 reporting on music that is made NOW… as well as unearthing the lost gems of South African dance music past. Covering music from soul to jazz to underground disco to old skool kwaito, bubblegum and forgotten music library classics.
Soul Safari 2020 Happy New Year -Soul Jazz Mix tracklist
The Shyannes -Osakai The Go-Aheads -Go Ahead (pt 1) The Shyannes -Half Moon The Nightingales -Dyambo Sons Of Thunder -Break Down Soul Breakers -Crying Soul Nr. 2 The Sounds -Good People The Drive -Stuck In The Middle With You Soul Giants -Soul Prayer The Jazz Clan -Oh Happy Day The Morris Goldberg Quartet -D.B.B. The Drive -Iphi Intombi Yam (pt 1) The Drive -Iphi Intombi Yam (pt 2) The Drive -Shambala The Shyannes -Havanna Strut The Bee Dees -Big Brother The Sounds -Coming Home The Sounds -Thiba Kamoo
Ala Pikin Nengre from Big Jones is the soundtrack of the 1960s documentary ‘Faja Lobbi’ by Dutch filmmaker Herman van der Horst. The award winning documentary shows the different population groups of Suriname: from the Indians, Maroons, Creoles, Hindustani, Javanese, Lebanese to the Chinese.
With Ala Pikin Nengre, Big Jones sings of the city of Paramaribo and the Market Square of Paramaribo. The music that Big Jones and his band made popular is called ‘Kawina’ and can be considered as the first real Surinamese ‘Folk’. The music was played during ‘dansi dansi’s’ (festivals) and ‘verjari’s’ (birthdays). In terms of instruments, the composition of the bands changed over time. The texts varied from improvisation to old stories, such as that of the spider ‘Anansi’. Big Jones was one of the first Surinamese artists whose music was recorded on an LP.
Strut Records presents the definitive remastered edition of Miriam Makeba’s ‘Pata Pata’ for the latest instalment of Strut’s Original Masters album reissue series.
The all-time classic of South African music, and international breakthrough for Makeba, has been mastered by The Carvery from the original reel to reel tapes,available in its mono and stereo versions for the first time. Living in exile in the US after the anti-apartheid film ‘Come Back, Africa’ gained international attention, she quickly built her career in New York during the ‘60s, mentored by Harry Belafonte.
After a period with RCA, she revisited to one of her older hits ‘Pata Pata’ with early vocal harmony group The Skylarks. Rerecording this time with producer Jerry Ragovoy, the new version brought a lighter uptempo R’nB arrangement, adding some English lyrics. “It was my first truly big seller,” Makeba recalled “In the discotheques, they invented a new dance called the ‘Pata Pata’ where couples dance apart and then reach out and touch each other. I went to Argentina for a concert, and across South America, they are singing my song.”
Other songs on the album include a version of the traditional Xhosa classic, ‘Click Song Number One’ (‘Qongqothwane’), the atmospheric ‘West Wind’, later famously covered by her friend Nina Simone, and a version of Tilahun Gessesse’s ‘Yetentu Tizaleny’ which Makeba learned on a trip to Addis to perform for Haile Selassie at the Organisation Of African Unity.
Physical formats also feature brand new sleeve notes alongside rare photos from the time of recording and session details.
‘Pata Pata’ is released on 6th September on 2LP, 1CD, streaming and digital.
South African singer and musician Johnny Clegg has passed away. He was 66 years old and died of the effects of pancreatic cancer. Clegg is one of the symbols of opposition to the racist apartheid regime in South Africa: although it was forbidden, he founded interracial groups. Long before American singer Paul Simon discovered South African music, Johnny Glegg was working with local Zulu singers and musicians.
In South Africa itself, Clegg is regarded as a symbol of the multiracial rainbow nation of the post-apartheid era.
In 1969 he founded his first interracial group Juluka. Their music was not played on South African radio, because interracial groups were prohibited under the apartheid regime. Juluka’s music is politically engaged: various group members were regularly arrested and concerts of the group often interrupted.
With his second group Savuka (“we are awake” in Zulu), Johnny Clegg breaks through internationally. Johnny Clegg and Savuka brings a mix of western and African music long before rock groups like Talking Heads or Malcolm McLaren, spiritual father and manager of Bow Wow Wow a.o. infused pop music with African rhythms. The lyrics of Savuka are often a mix of English and Zulu. In France Glegg is nicknamed “the white Zulu”.
Well-known songs from Johnny Clegg are “Scatterlings of Africa” – which was featured in the soundtrack of the movie “Rain Man” in 1988 -, “Asimbonanga” – “We never saw him”, about Nelson Mandela – and “Dela”.
for the Holland Festival on Saturday 22nd June 2019 I will be reviewing and playing South African music during The Listening Party. Like this fresh new sound by Bongeziwe Mabandla – “Ndibuyile” (Popsicle Studio Session) and “Yini” from a live performance at The Lyric Theatre
today’s post features a series of records that fits perfectly into my favorite category ‘Music For Restaurants, Nightclubs & Hotel Lounges’ with gorgeous covers. After a few years of digging I finally completed a full set of 5 volumes of ‘In Tune with South Africa’ by keyboard player Albie Louw. And after some research I found out that the guy was more then just tickling the ivory….read more
The following is extracted from Volume III of the 1986 edition of South African Music Encyclopedia (J.P. Malan, ISBN 0 19 570363 4)
ALBERTUS JOHANNES (ALBIE) LOUW, baritone, born 10 February 1926 near Malmesbury, South Africa
After initial training in pianoforte and singing at Stellenbosch, Louw continued his study at the College of Music in Cape Town. His pianoforte playing was supervised by Cameron Taylor and Lili Kraus and for singing he successively had Lucy Greathead, John Andrews, Alessandro Rota and Gregorio Fiasconaro as teachers. During his College years he became a member of the University’s Opera Group for whom (up to 1970) he interpreted a range of repertoire operas which included Don Giovanni, Tosca and Le Nozze di Figaro. He accompanied this group on their tour to England and Scotland in 1953 and sang in The Consul by Menotti. He had an exceptional occasion in 1961 when he interpreted the title role at the premiere of John Joubert’s Silas Marner in Cape Town. As a pianist he played with the Cape Town City Orchestra at least once in a performance of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. Since the establishment of the Regional Councils for the Performing Arts (1962) he has undertaken concert tours and the singing of opera roles for CAPAB, NAPAC and PACT.
Springbok Radio’s “Shell Show”
His main interest, and the one to which he has devoted the most time and attention, lies in the domain of light music, especially in the world of broadcasting for which he has performed both as pianist and as singer and in combination with his own Albie Louw Salon Orchestra in the transmission of innumerable entertainments. His orchestra became renowned through years of participation in Springbok Radio’s “Shell Show”, often in arrangements by Louw himself. Another popular group which owes its existence to his initiative were the Safari Singers, who interpreted his arrangements of folk songs, as well as his original lyrics. Their performances were characterised by Louw directing, singing and playing the piano at the same time.
In 1978 he orchestrated and conducted for NAPAC the musical “Aladdin” and in 1979 he conducted “Annie” during the last two weeks of its season in Cape Town. In the same year he undertook a concert tour with his Safari Singers for CAPAB, as part of the 50th anniversary celebrations of the FAK. He has supported the tenor Gé Korsten in various shows, e.g. in the TV show for which he composed the song In die Kaap Maak die Boere Lekker Wyn. Albie Louw also had a studio in Cape Town where he taught singing and pianoforte playing.
not an unusual practice with the big record companies…when no individual art work was available for a certain record then another cover was used. Just like this original 7″ ep by the Benoni Flute Quintet and the Alexandra Shamber Boys and Girls that became a twin cover for Albie Louw ‘In Tune with South Africa Volume 5 -Kwela’