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

Happy New Year 2015 from Cape Town

Minstrel Carnival: Historic agreement reached – Patricia de Lille

Cape Town Mayor says City will provide financial and logistical support to ensure that the events are properly managed

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The Cape Cultural and Carnival Committee consists of representatives of the Minstrels, Malay Choirs and Christmas Bands responsible for organising events at various venues throughout the city.

These events start with the annual Minstrels Carnival during the festive season and end in April when the final competitions are held.

They are a highlight for many communities in Cape Town, and people come out in their thousands to watch the annual road marches and parades.


This year the City will provide R2 million in funding to the committee to organise the various events.

This will go toward toilets, fencing, security, safety, medical services, logistics and public relations, to be arranged by the Cape Cultural and Carnival Committee.

These funds will be released to the Cape Cultural and Carnival Committee for the Minstrels, Malay Choirs and Christmas Bands and carnival events for 2014/2015.

Patricia de Lille – Mayor of Cape Town

 17 November 2014images (3)

 see also Kaapse Kloppe -Cape Town Carnival January 2nd 2013 Cape Town

Coon Carnival Time cover gecomp

Maurice Smith presents The Golden City Dixies in Coon Carnival Time.

With Majiet Omar, Henry Wilson, Alfred Stokes, Solly Bagus, Eddie Davis, Danny Williams and The Coon Carnival Band.


Side 1. Al die Dixies-Alfred Stokes/Die Doring –Henry Wilson/Nellie Gray –Majiet Omar/Rietjie In Die Water –Eddie Davis/Faith Can Move Mountains –Danny Williams.

Side 2. Sous Boonties –Henry Wilson/Grietjie –Majiet Omar/Gone Fishing –Majiet Omar and Alfred Stokes/Kossies Van Die Kaap –Eddie Davids/Apple Pickin’ Time In Georgia –Solly Bagus/My Mama Was ‘n Hottentot-Alfred Stikes/ Compere –Solly Bagus

see also songs and dances from Cape Malay fit for a king

images (5)

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


The Golden City Dixies live in Pretoria

‘Coon Carnival’ is a somewhat misleading title for the album presented here today.

While most songs of a minstrel troupe are the comic songs -“Moppies” and “Lietjies”- that have been handed down by tradition and which are the feature of the Cape Town Carnival there will also be found some of the American songs which are more frequently heard in present-day Carnivals. … Not in the case of this album ‘Coon Carnival’ by The Golden City Dixies on which all songs are live versions of famous hits by American crooners, one exception being ‘Pata Pata’ originally made famous by Miriam Makeba.

Each track is being introduced by MC Dave Bestman and the accompanying band plays a tight selection of slow ballads, uptempo rock and a quite surprisingly good version of ‘Pata Pata’ by Sophia Foster.

see also Kaapse Kloppe -Cape Town Carnival January 2nd 2013 Cape Town

Coon Carnival with the golden city dixies dave bestman

Coon Carnival with the golden city dixies label gecomp

Sophia Foster -Pata Pata

Miley Martin -No Matter What


Coon Carnival with the golden city dixies tracklist

Coon Carnival -The Golden City Dixies live in Pretoria 1971 – MFP STEREO 5758 South Africa

songs and dances from Cape Malay fit for a king

Al is er een prinsje nog zo klein

This little song has perpetuated the determination of the people of Holland to make their little prince their ruler…

…and  today’s post starts in the spirit of this song, as the Dutch have recently celebrated the inauguration of King Willem Alexander and Queen Maxima on April 30th 2013. Times may change but centuries old traditions die hard. One of South Africa’s longest standing traditions is the parade  of die Kaapse Kloppe during the Cape Town Carnival. These colorful minstrels and dancers are the most visible representatives of the cultural diversity of Cape Town. Their music has also  inspired jazz musician Abdullah Ibrahim and many others.

See SA Jazz -Abdullah Ibrahim speaks! Staffrider interview with poet Hein Willemse NYC Dec 1986.

And Kaapse Kloppe -Cape Town Carnival January 2nd 2013 Cape Town

cape malay 4

To celebrate the New Year, in the first week of January, a song and dance celebration is held with many groups of local musicians, dancers and choirs from the Cape Malay population being present during the  festive parade through the streets of Cape Town. The music during this event is just too unique to keep hidden the rest of the year so today’s  post shines a light on a few well known gems and their origins…

There are a number of Cape Malay choirs. They compete annually for awards, and competition is keen. The choirs are experts in harmonising even without instrumental accompaniment, but the traditionally established instruments of the Cape Malays are the banjo, the guitar, the ‘cello (slung guitar-like over one shoulder) and the ghomma (pronounced khoma) – a drum made by stretching a skin over one end of small wine vat.

It was more then three centuries ago that the forebearers of those who are now the Cape Malays were brought to these shores of Southern Africa on board the vessels of the Dutch East India Company and other ships plying the Far Eastern trade routes for spices and exotic produce. In those days the Cape Malays were the slaves and servants in the small colonial community that the Dutch established. They brought with them their distinctive cultures and crafts which have been adapted and utilised so that they still make a valuable contribution to life at the Cape. The Malay Quarter remains from those far-off days. An extensive restoration programme has been implemented…so that this place of warm colours and rich culture will be preserved for posteritiy. Its way of life is Islamic. There are many mosques and minarets.

cape malay 1

The Cape Malay community is one of song. This repertoire of song is unique in Africa, for it has become, in some respects, a merging of Eastern music with old Dutch ‘liedjies’ (folk songs) and melodics. Perhaps too, the harmonising for which the Cape Malay choirs have become famous may have been assisted by the singing of sea shanties during the long voyages from the East…for the choirs often sing without  instrumental accompaniment.

The repertoire consits mainly from the wedding songs, special ceremonies, informal occasions and picnic melodies and from songs sung during the celebration of the ‘tweede Neue Jaar’ -the Second New Year. Annual choral competetions are a feature of Cape life. These songs are a priceless heritage.

cape malay 5

Alabama -Januarie Februarie March (Daar Kom Die Alibama)

no collection of Cape Malay songs would be representative without this theme song, based on the visit of the Confederate clipper ‘Alabama’ to Table Bay in 1863. Ghammaliedjies are often strung together, which explains the insertion of the well-known Januarie, Februarie March.  


At the picnic, a ring (krans) is formed, the players joining hands and walking in a circle while one verse of an old traditional song (generally a wedding song) is sung. At the end of the verse, the drummer who sits in the middle of the circle, starts a ghommaliedjie and the players split up to dance in groups of three. Ghommaliedjies are also known as afklopliedjies. 

Oom Jakkal

an amusing example of a moppie (an Afrikaans comic song) in which the Cape Malay in some way get linked with their old rulers of Batavia (Holland)

Die Beren

a moppie, an old Dutch folk song also called ‘ik zag twee beren broodjes smeren’ (I saw two bears grease sandwiches)


a good example of a moppie. This type of song often reflects local conditions. In this case, the singer tells how he meets various girls carrying delectable baskets of butcher’s meat.

see also The Golden City Dixies live in Pretoria

Malay Quarter cover

All songs and some text from the album ‘Malay Quarter’ released by Gallo South Africa, early 1970

Kaapse Kloppe -Cape Town Carnival January 2nd 2013 Cape Town

Happy New Year 2013!

Kaapse Kloppe -Cape Town Carnival

January 2nd 2013 Cape Town

kaapse klopse foto

Read more on Kaapse Klopse  in the Mother City and Cape Minstrelsy in my previous post  SA Jazz -Abdullah Ibrahim speaks! Staffrider interview with poet Hein Willemse NYC Dec 1986

While most of the songs heard during the colourful parade  are the “Moppies” and “Lietjies” that have been handed down by tradition and which are the feature of the Cape Carnival, there will also be found some of the American songs which are more frequently heard during Carnivals.

Here is a rare 10” recording, probably recorded in 1956 that represents ‘The Coon Carnival Company’, a group of musicians, singers and a compere. Some of the spirit and enchantment of the Coon Carnival can be heard,  gay as a fiesta, colourful as Mardi Gras. Here is the A-side recorded in its full length, only the crackling noise of the original record has been cleaned. Side 2 follows on request.

Maurice Smith presents The Golden City Dixies in Coon Carnival Time. With Majiet Omar, Henry Wilson, Alfred Stokes, Solly Bagus, Eddie Davis, Danny Williams and The Coon Carnival Band.

Side 1. Al die Dixies-Alfred Stokes/Die Doring –Henry Wilson/Nellie Gray –Majiet Omar/Rietjie In Die Water –Eddie Davis/Faith Can Move Mountains –Danny Williams.

Side 2. Sous Boonties –Henry Wilson/Grietjie –Majiet Omar/Gone Fishing –Majiet Omar and Alfred Stokes/Kossies Van Die Kaap –Eddie Davids/Apple Pickin’ Time In Georgia –Solly Bagus/My Mama Was ‘n Hottentot-Alfred Stikes/ Compere –Solly Bagus


The Golden City Dixies have a large repertoire of feeling good tunes, some of the old Dixieland variety, others more modern. The troupe have made a feature of mimicry , and their impersonations of American singers are so lifelike that hey have often been accused of miming their songs to the accompaniment of gramophone records. The song ‘Gone Fishing” is included as an example of this type of song.

Maurice Smith was a local Durban promoter who picked up local acts from the street to record them.

Here is the story how Maurice Smith discovered The Golden City Dixies.

Although the Carnival is associated particularly with the Cape Province, an enterprising singer of Malay origin, Majiet Omar, decided to spread the idea of Coon Music even further and it was he who thought of forming a Coon Carnival troupe in the Golden City, Johannesburg.

At that time Coon competitions were held annually in Johannesburg, and Majiet, helped by his father, formed a troupe, The Dixie Merrymakers.

The owner of the hall was telephoning the police, when the Durban promoter, Maurice Smith appeared on the scene. He had been passing by, heard the singing, went in and watched the show from the back of the hall. He extricated them from their plight and took them to a cafe for their first real meal in days. There the idea of the ‘Coon Carnival Company’ was born.

Excerpts from the liner notes of ‘Maurice Smith presents The Golden City Dixies in Coon Carnival Time’ South Africa  RCA T33001

Zulu Motor Trophies 2011 -Carnival Coon Minstrels

Following on from another previous post this week, Zulu Motor in which I described discovering a box on the shelves of a dusty old bookstore in the hinterlands of the Karoo, the moment has come to unveil  its content. A  box  filled with 78 shellac discs  and a few 10” albums that must have belonged to a passionate collector. The  box had been mailed and delivered  in 1959 to a  lover of music who lived in George.

Words fail me to express the joy of finding this. !

An amazing selection of discs, ranging from the usual Italian tenor favourites by the likes of Beniamino Gigli and Joseph Schmidt, and as I flipped through the content some long of out-of-print pristine kwela jazz and black African 78’s turned up. Rare recordings that link the historical connection from the earliest South African choir singing to modern groups like Ladysmith Black Mambazo and minstrelsy coon sounds that were the prime inspirational source for jazz musicians like Abdullah Ibrahim’s Dollar Brand.

Caluza’s Double Quartet, Solomon Linda’s Original Evening Birds, Michael’s Nightingales, a few hits by the Manhattan Brothers, Spokes Mashiyane …even a bundle of novelty picture discs! Never have seen those African pic discs before but more on that matter later .

The recording of the original 78 has not been processed (take out hiss etc. ) so natural dynamics have been preserved.

Coon Carnival Minstrels -Die Rietjie-More, More Tannie

Coon Carnival Minstrels -Hanover Street Melody

More on Carnival Coon and minstrelsy music in following posts.