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.
my best festival experience this year definitely was in South Africa in the city of East London, nowadays called Buffalo City, during the first big Maskandi festival on 2nd March 19….what an amazing pow wow of tribes! Ngiyabonga!
The program was spread over the whole day, from noon till midnight so I only had the change to witness only a few artists and dance groups….here is my impression of that magical day.
next saturday I will be travelling to East London, nowadays called Buffalo City, in the Eastern Cape province for the first big Maskandi festival in that era.
Maskanda or Maskandi is a Zulu folk kind of music, which has evolved and has become big in South Africa. Maskandi music is largely popular and mostly consumed in the Kwa-Zulu Natal province, given its rich Zulu heritage and significance to the Zulu tribe. In popularity Maskandi is the 2nd top selling genre in South Africa, after Gospel music.
In Durban the genre is called ‘‘the music played by the man on the move, the modern minstrel, today’s troubadour.” It is the music of the man walking the long miles to a bride or to meet with his chief; a means of transport. Maskandi music tells us of many stories of society, about one’s view of life and personal experiences. This style of music is distinguished by an instrumental flourish (izihlabo) that sets the tone at the beginning of each song, in a picked guitar style and rapidly spoken section of Zulu praise poetry, called “izibongo“.
The content is not always praise, though, and with pop, house and other influences Maskandi it has become more about the story telling ethic and the modern migrant culture, than simply about the musical style.
It is the music of the man who sings of his real life experiences, his daily joys and sorrows, his observations of the world. It’s the music of the man who’s got the Zulu blues.”
This Saturday Zulu troubadour Phuzekhemisi is among the best-known practitioners of the Maskandi genre on stage. Other legendary performers are Mpatheni Khumalo and Bheki Ngcobo a.o.
National performers expected to perform include Phuzekhemisi, Khuzani, Mbuzeni, Amawele ka Mamtshawe, Nkunzemdaka, Shushubaby and Ntombethongo.
They will be performing alongside local Maskandi groups, Lumanyano cultural group, Sivuyile traditional dancers, 4×4 dancers, Ichawne Lebhaca and Gadla Nxumalo.
Also on the program is gospel music and dj’s like Naak-Musiq, Butho Vuthela, dj Welo, Blomzit, Mjazz, Yoba and many more.
The festival is scheduled to start at 9 AM. Check tickets and prices at Computicket.
Maskandi Festival 2019
2 Mar – 3 Mar 2019 08:00 AM – 12:00 AM
Buffalo City Stadium
Arcadia, East London, Eastern Cape, South Africa.
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…
***The Cape Town Minstrel Carnival is a long running New Year tradition in the Colored Community of South Africa. Unknown when it actually started, it is rumored to have begun when a group of African-American minstrels docked in Cape Town in the late 1800s then entertained sailors with their spontaneous musical performances. The modern day Carnival started in Cape Town’s District Six, an area that is best known for the forced removed of over 60,000 residents during the 1970’s apartheid regime. Since the beginning, every January 2nd the self proclaimed ‘Coons’ parade the streets of Cape Town with marching bands, songs, and dancers all in bright colorful outfits. These troupes then compete over the month in categories ranging from best band performance to best solo song to best outfit. Farouk Jacob of the Ken Fac troop explains, “The carnival is very important to us [because the second new year is a time when we forget our problems]. We forget about what else we all have, we forget about things happening in your home, we all joining in and have fun, we don’t want to think about any of our problems. After February then we start thinking about our problems again. Thats why [for us, its actually the time when we all come together]. Its the time when we all experience the same feeling, this is the time when we come and we have this joyous feeling in our hearts and want to share and give to people.” Photos: Charlie Shoemaker***
Gabriel Bayman croaks Cape comic songs
Backed by Ballie & his Bolle
RCA 32-248 South Africa
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)
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.
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.
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 original pressings found during my travels all over the world.
#7 Farafina – Bolomakoté
veraBra Records – veraBra No. Germany 1989
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.
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
Balafon – Baba Diara, Mahama Konaté
Djembé – Paco Yé Adama
Flute – Soungalo Coulibaly
Lead Vocals – Mahama Konaté, Paco Yé Adama, Soungalo Coulibaly
Stan Rijven is a popjournalist who ao worked for the national Dutch newspaper Trouw (1979-2014). During the 80s he was a regular dj at squad Radio 100 (Tam Tam International) and hosted for 2 years the VPRO Radio 3 program The World Receiver/ Mundial (1989/90).
Mid 80s he co-founded the magazine Afrika. Combined with his Radio 100-program Stan organised the monthly held Tam Tam Club at Cafe De Pieter in Amsterdam which became a well known spot to hear the latest African pop and World music. At the same time Stan was busy establishing IASPM-Benelux, a global music platform for the Benelux (Paradiso, march 1984). Hence the name IASPM, International Association for the Study of Popular Music. To encourage the ± 40 Benelux members to pay their annual membership fee, Stan compiled this tape Globeat in 1989 as a present. Very rudimentary mixed with one turntable and one double casssettedeck, mixing was purely by feel, without a mixing desk.
Globeat is constructed with a radio-show in mind, covering parts of Africa and some unexpected contributions from Latin-America, the USA and the Netherlands as well.
Sad news came last friday when Ouagadougou was the centre of terrorists attacks claimed by an African branch of Al Qaeda. The hostage crisis ended in The Splendid Hotel with a total of 27 deaths.
Inbetter times Burkina Fasowasknownasarelatively peacefulcountry. ThepredominantlyMuslim countrylocated inthe West Africanregionisaffected more oftenrecentlyby the violence ofjihadistmilitias.Butpreviouslythe countryremained relativelyspared fromjihadistviolence, unlike neighboringcountries like MaliandNiger.
Itcomes asno surprise to know that many French artists in the 60s and 70s went to Burkina Faso to perform or record music with local artists. Like Serge Franklin whose artistic itinerary starts in France in the 60s as an author-songwriter when he published several 45s under his own name. The singer quickly became a studio musician as a sitar player and accompanied singers like Gilles Vigneault and Georges Moustaki at the Bobino theater in Paris, respectively in 1966 and 1969.
In 1971 Serge Franklin traveled to India where he perfected his skills on sitar under the pseudonym Adjenar Sidhar Khan. As a lover of primitive stringed instruments, Franklin recorded a rather remarkable album in Ouagadougou, featuring mainly local instruments like the cora, balafon, zanza and the bow.
The album contains a beautiful version of ‘Licha Wetche’, a traditional song that was popular with many artists. See also the Bleached Zulu
“Pour Recevoir Vos Amis Comme À Ouagadougou, Afrique” by Les Griots was released in France as part of the series Exotissiomo in 1975. It is a collection of traditional songs, field recordings and newly written material by Serge Franklin, performed by local musicians.
The mountainous kingdom of Lesotho, with a few natural resources and no significant industrial development, is one of the world’s least developed nations. The country is entirely surrounded and economically dominated by the Republic of South Africa. Muchof the workforce is employed in the mines of South Africa, most of the men work in the gold and coal mines where they stay in men-only compounds on basic 6 months-contracts. This massive volume of migrant labour means that Lesotho is highly dependent on the Republic.
Bohale Ba Dinare may not be a familiar name but his music deserves your attention for sure since this album has been on my turntable for the last few days and its festive mood seems like the perfect soundtrack to welcome the New Year 2016.
happy birthday Surinam! The former Dutch colony celebrates 40 years of independency today.
During the festivities swinging music will be heard on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. It seemed appropriate to me to select 10 personal favourite tracks from my own collection to celebrate this festive day here in Amsterdam and Surinam. May these gems be heard around the world, as far as Paramaribo…Kawina, Kaseko, disco, surinam soul, latin, mambo …all from different decades and representing the most typical styles of Surinamese music.
At the same time I would like to pay attention to a special book which recently appeared; “Sranan Gowtu’ by Diederik Samwel. Published by Nijgh & Van Ditmar in association with record label Top Notch which already released two compilations with the stars of the Surinamese music in 2013.
The first step in the revaluation of Surinamese music started in 2013 with the collector ‘Sranan Gowtu’ with songs from six different decades. The compilation is packed with Creole music, calypso, Kaseko music, winti songs, salsa, soca, dancehall to the timeless pop hit ‘Wasmasjien! ” by Trafassi. Besides digitally and on CD this compilation is also available in gorgeous red and green vinyl.
However, this is only the beginning. The purpose of Sranan Gowtu is not only to provide an overview of the range of beautiful Surinamese music, but also to go in depth with compilations of individual performers. So meanwhile the best work of Dear Hugo, Trafassi, Max Nijman, Papa Touwtjie and Kid Dynamite has been republished.
And here are my 10 favourite songs from Surinam….
Big Jones and his Kawina Band -Ala Pikin Nengre
from the soundtrack ‘Faja Lobbi ‘; a film by Herman vander Horst (1960)
a kind of ballad about the town of Paramaribo. In the introductory solo singing, all the children (ala pikin nengre) are called to go to the town (foto) to admire everything that may be seen there; the houses (hoso), the big ship (biggie boto), the factories, the machines, the cars, the shops (wenkri) etc. Finally we arrive at the market (wojo) where we find an endless variety of articles, and an equally wide variety of people.
Big Jones -Par’Bo Mambo
rare mambo track that celebrates life in the capital Paramaribo