Archive for the ‘music for restaurant, nightclubs and lounges’ Category

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Last Night At The Mikado –Q&A with singer Viviana…Part Two

September 15, 2014

In my previous post Last Night At The Mikado –Q&A with singer Viviana…Part One Italian born singer Viviana remembers working and partying in Johannesburg and around the clubs, restaurants in East London in the mid 1960’s.

This is part two of an exclusive Q&A I had with Viviana. Thanks so much for the memories.

Last Night At The Mikado –Q&A with singer Viviana…Part Two

Viviana + Rene Moya

Viviana + Rene Moya

Q-did any black artists performed in Jo’burg nightlife around 1965? Was jazz music popular in the circuit you worked in?

A- a few black artists performed, but not many. I didn’t know most of their names and frankly personally I only saw a few, one of them was Hugh Masekela. As musicians we didn’t differentiate with races, and accepted talent and technique only. It was different with the laws of the country, but to all of us it never made any difference. I know they were required to enter the premises from the back door, but the clients liked them very much. As for jazz venues, I don’t recall any specific one, but I do remember a combo with Hennie Bekker (piano), Johnny Fourie (guitar), Johnny Boshoff (bass), Tony Moore (drums) they played excellent fusion and being good musicians they eventually played and produced at SABC. I worked with all of them on one nighters, shows and functions later on after they disbanded

 Q-were there any specific discotheques/places for dancing or only restaurants with dancing facilities. How safe was it to go out at night?

A- I don’t remember many discotheques except Bella Napoli in Hillbrow. Every restaurant had a band and everywhere you could dance till very late. Nobody had any problems walking around at any time at night. It was extremely safe. In fact until 1983/84 Johannesburg was still safe enough, as I remember walking in Hillbrow to go to Fontana’s to get a roast chicken at 3am, in my jammies. At that time the guys from club 58 (gay club) used to come to my flat and wake me up when they finished working, so we would make coffee and go and get food.

Johannesburg night scene around Market Street -Albie Louw ‘In Tune With South Africa vol. 6’

Q-what neighbourhoods of Jo’burg were frequented for the nightlife? Around Market Street, around the theatres?

A-Mainly the scene was in Hillbrow , Market Street, Joubert Park and Downtown. Now all these places are impossible to go to, very dangerous, and have deteriorated dreadfully.

Q-I understand that lots of the music that was featured in the restaurants/nightlife was called ‘Continental’. French, Italian, etc. Why do you think that was? Was there a certain taste for European music? Was any typical South African music performed?

A- Continental music was extremely popular and I guess I was lucky to arrive at that time as I did not have to make many changes to my repertoire. I don’t know why, or who started the trend. I guess also the Latin-american trend in movies was to blame. Typical South african music, and by that I mean afrikaans was not considered trendy enough for clubs. But there were a lot records in Afrikaans. The one modern band that was upcoming was Rabbit, they were young and rock, but they were sort of “squashed” by the media, Trevor Rabin was in that group. Eventually they left the country and I see that Trevor writes a lot of huge movie soundtracks in the USA.

 Q-you mentioned Bez Martin, a saxophone player. I do own a record by him “Shuffle With Bez, Cha Cha with Martin” on which he plays cha cha and shuffle styles of music. Were these styles played a the nightclubs/restaurants mainly or were there more styles of dancing that were popular at the time?

Bez Martin 1965

Bez Martin 1965

A-Bez was a friend for many years and I did many functions with him at the Superbowl in Sun City many years later as well. Continental music was played everywhere, but also we played a lot of swing and American classics. Whatever came from the States and we heard on the Radio, we rehearsed in the afternoon and played the same night.

A-were your bookings for a longer period or for just one night?

Q- I was always booked with a minimum 3 months contract or longer. Although we did one nighters on our night off (Sunday). Weddings etc. We worked very hard, I still can’t believe I had all that energy and still had time to party some nights after work.

A-were you touring the country and working the circuit?

Q- After Johannesburg I went on the circuit, and that means you can never take a holiday, as the bands change every 3 or 6 months (I did stay in some Hotels for a year and longer) we had an agent Maurice Fresco (after Keleti) and he kept on booking us from place to place for many years. Only top 5 stars Hotels.

Rene Moya & His Band feat Viviana LP  cover

Q-what about Lourenco Marques in Mozambique. What sort of nightlife entertainment was on offer? Were the records released by the bands/singers manufactured as a souvenir or commercially released by the record companies?

A- I know Rene’ worked at the Polana Hotel, that was very famous and came to South Africa after working in Mozambique and Angola, that was also a swinging place. I am not aware of records released commercially, but I really don’t know.

The Polana Hotel -1965

The Polana Hotel -1965

Q-have you ever performed in Afrikaans speaking places of interest. Like Loch Vaal Hotel?

A- I have never performed in Afrikaans speaking places. I only did a concert once on a sunday with an Afrikaans band, it was in a huge tent and in a little dorp (village, place) outside Johannesburg. Frankly I should have kept on doing those concerts as everyone that sang there became extremely famous in the country. Lol.

Q-does any of these places ring a bell?? The Beachcomber in Durban. The Caravelle in Johannesburg. The Balalaika Hotel – a popular country type of hotel/restaurant-. Franco Italian restaurant in Johannesburg. Tiffany’s Restaurant in Commissioner Street, Jo’burg.

A- Yes all of them, very famous. I ate at Franco’s often and got special treats (being Italian and speaking the lingo) I did sing at the Balalaika on occasions, and then much later we did a contract there for 6 months, but not in the 60s, in the 70s.

a night at Franco's

 

Q-have you ever heard of a singer called Eduardo Jaime? He was Portuguese and very famous in South Africa if I’m well informed.

A-Yes I met Eduardo, he was working with Rene’ at the Mikado before me, I believe I got the job because Dan called Rene’ when him and Eduardo were having a lot of differences and Eduardo just got fired. Rene’ and Eduardo were both very fiery. They were partners in crime though when it came to parties and girls. Yes he was Portuguese. I have no idea how long he worked at the Mikado.

The Mikado restaurant logo

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Soul Safari ebay auction

May 1, 2014

Greetings fellow music lovers, Soul Safari’s eBay auction starts today with new additions weekly.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Throughout the entire month of May Soul Safari will be listing field recordings, folk, private pressings, township jive & kwela jazz, African jazz, soul & boogie, mbanqaga,and much much more with absolutely no reserves.

Records that have been presented on these pages over the last five years are now on auction. So here  is your change to grab some rare African vinyl  as I am cleaning out my shelves to make room for new music.

 

Soul Safari's ebay auction

Soul Safari’s ebay auction

 

Soul Safari's eBay auction

Soul Safari’s eBay auction

Some highlights; a collection of ultra rare and seldom heard field recordings from ILAM, recorded by Hugh Tracey. These records were purchased many years ago directly from ILAM in South Africa from what was left of their unsold stock. All records come in their original cover with the labels attached to the back cover and are unplayed, in brand new mint condition.

More  Soul Safari favs like great 45’s by jive kings The Soweto Boys, mbanqaga queens The Manzini Girls  are now on auction.

Soul Safari's eBay auction

Soul Safari’s eBay auction

See Soul Safari’s eBay auction starting today.

Thanks  for your support and best of luck, happy bidding!

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João Tudella canta musica de Artur Fonseca-Uma Casa Portuguesa w/ the Dan Hill Quintet

March 25, 2013

joao tudella uma casa portuguesa cover

see also Celebration at Ciro’s

João Maria Tudella was born in Lourenço Marques, he studied at the Coimbra University in Portugal. He first won renown as a Fado singer, but has shown himself to be equally adept at dance band music and proved himself in several recordings to be a gifted young singer.

On this remarkable rare album ‘Uma Casa Portuguesa’, released by Gallotone at the end of the 60’s,  João returns to his Portuguese roots. The selection of songs are all compositions by Artur Fonseca who is responsible for writing the classic song  ‘Uma Casa Portuguesa’,  best known in the version by Amalia Rodrigues and hundreds others.  A rare photograph of Artur Fonseca together with Tudella at the piano graces the cover.

Radio_Clube_de_Mocambique_1967

At the time of the release of this album Fonseca was working as musical director of the Radio Clube of Moçambique, based in Lourenço Marques, nowadays Maputo.  Then the capital and biggest city of Moçambique, a thriving Portuguese colony, Lourenço Marques attracted many South Africans for busines and holidays. Gambling and the luxurious entertainment offered at the casinos were other main attractions. The many hotels of the city offered regular gigs to the many visiting artists from Portugal and South Africa.  See also Cabaret at The Moçambique.

The doors of popularity opened to João Tudella because of his two successes ‘Kanimambo’ and ‘Hambanine’, which were real hits in the field of popular music. These two discs put João Tudella in the hit parade around South Africa and in Moçambique, the land of his birth.

On this album well known South African bandleader and arranger Dan Hill, great friend of the composer Fonseca,  accompanies pianist João Tudella with a small quintet.

joao tudella uma casa portuguesa label A

João Tudella -Uma Casa Portuguesa

João Tudella -Mocambique

João Tudella -Baiao, Baiao

João Tudella -Magaica

João Tudella -Lourenco Marques

João Tudella -E Uene

joao tudella uma casa portuguesa label B

João Tudella -Uma Estrela Falou

João Tudella -Adeus Cidade

João Tudella -Holiday in Lourenco Marques

João Tudella -Hambanine

João Tudella -Macala

Hotel Tivoli  Lourenço Marques

Hotel Tivoli Lourenço Marques -1960s

thanks to Matthias Offodile for the pics of Lourenço Marques in the 60’s

this post contains excerpts from the original liner notes of the album 

João Tudella canta musica de Artur Fonseca-Uma Casa Portuguesa w/ the Dan Hill Quintet -Gallotone GALP 1107 -released in South Africa/Mozambique end of 60’s

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Last night at the Carlton, Johannesburg with Renatino di Napoli

January 21, 2012

Carlton Hotel Johannesburg luggage label

updated January 3rd 2013

my search for the history of the  sophisticated nightlife  in South Africa and in the 50’s and 60’s continues with this post about the Carlton hotel, Johannesburg SA.

 The social and cultural history of a city is reflected in its nocturnal entertainment. More than that, nightlife represents the beating heart of a society in progress.

Today, many of the places and buildings mentioned here on these pages are lost or were demolished for new buildings. So only distant memories remain and then this collection of obscure records. Music by local bands that played the lounges and restaurants of grand hotels in South Africa, Mozambique and its neighboring countries Southern Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe.

See also Celebration at Ciro’s and more posts in the category ‘music for restaurants, nightclubs and lounges’

view from the 50th floor of the Carlton Centre -2012

The Carlton hotel, part of the Carlton Centre in downtown Johannesburg -now a 50 stories high skyscraper – was once the hub of entertainment in Johannesburg , a place where the rich and famous stayed and the locals came to dine and dance.

The history of the Carlton, which opened its doors in 1906, is the history of Johannesburg.

Towards the end of the last century the lure of gold drew thousands of people to the Witwatersrand; people who were content to live in tents and shacks whilst they sought the precious metal. Soon the great mining houses began to rise and the mining camp began to shape into a town and the inhabitants craved for comfort.

Among the many brilliant and enterprising men who came to win wealth from the Reef were three men from the Kimberley Diamond Fields. They were Barney Barnato and his two nephews, Solly and Woolf Joel. Barney, already a diamond millionaire conceived the idea of building a luxury hotel in Johannesburg. The Hotel was to be called the Carlton and the site on which it was to rise was in the center of the minining town where it stands still today. At the time of Barney’s decision there was a boom, but before the plans for the hotel were completed there came the Great Crash. Owing to Barney’s untimely death the building of the Carlton was temporarily delayed.

Hotel Carlton Johannesburg in 1906

Following the end of the war at the turn of the century, a revived spirit of optimism led people’s thoughts once more to the Carlton, which the Barnadot-Joel Mining Company was determined to build. Excavation of the site was begun and the public became aware of the luxurious and ambitious plans for the hotel. This was not going to be a Victorian affair with red velvet, lace, antimaccasars and oil lamps. It was to have air conditioning, elevators and electric lights from the hotel’s own power plant -all these luxuries being advanced features in those days. Elegant furnishings and furniture from one of
London’s most famous establishments, and napery, crockery and cutlery were ordered from world-renowned houses.

At this period there was virtually no manufacturing industry in South Africa. Every item for the hotel had to be imported. To co-ordinate and expedite the delivery in South Africa of the valuable and varied articles, the hotel company chartered a recently launched Union Castle Liner, the Cluney Castle. With the furnishings came the chefs, the waiters and service staff.

On February 20 1906, the Carlton, South Africa’s first luxury hotel was opened. The people were ready for it. Beautifully gowned women and well-tailored men filled the restaurants and lounges. From the moment of its opening, the Carlton became the rendezvous of people of good taste and discrimination. It became not only the social center of Johannesburg, but the meeting place of financiers, diplomats and business executives visiting Johannesburg. Built, as it was, in the heart of the town which was just shedding the mining camp atmosphere, where roads were still dusty tracks in winter and muddy paths in summer, the Carlton, with its new look, glittered like a palace. Within it was the magic of luxurious comfort, superb cuisine and unrivaled service such as Johannesburg and South Africa had never experienced before.

The most memorable day in the history of the Carlton came in 1947 with the visit of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, and the young Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret. The Carlton served as headquarters for the Royal Family during their sojourn as guests of the city.

This BBC television film on the royal tour of South Africa in 1947 shows King George VI and Queen Elizabeth with Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret on their journey across the South African Union and the first state visit since 1939.

The Carlton closed down at the end of 1963 only to re-open in 1972 as a 600-room hotel, but sadly closed in 1997 due to the high crime rate in the downtown area of Johannesburg. Today it stands empty, the outside entrance barricaded off to try and stop squatters from occupying the building.

outside entrance Hotel Carlton, Johannesburg 1997

An outstanding feature of the Carlton has been the exotic ‘Mediterranean Room’. This mecca of pleasure seeking diners and dancers has for several years been the highlight of Johannesburg night life. Since its inception the ‘Mediterranean Room’ has featured top Continental bands who have, to a large extent, set the fashions for Johannesburg’s musical taste. The present group ‘Renatino di Napoli’ are a fitting climax to sad departure from the Johannesburg scene of a superb night spot.

 

Today’s record is the LP “Last Night At The Carlton” with Renatino de Napoli from The Mediterranean Room, released in 1963.

Renatino di Napoli was born in Naples in 1938. Whilst still a boy his artistic feeling and musical qualities were very apparant. His group’s first dates were in the beautiful Neapolitan towns and environs of Capri, Ischia and Sorrento. The group then progressed rapidly to Rome, Turin, Milan and San Remo, always playing and interpreting the best that the Neapolitan songs have to offer the world.

“Last Night At The Carlton” with Renatino de Napoli

from The Mediterranean Room.

Side A

Renatino di Napoli -O Mandulin

Renatino di Napoli -Frida

Renatino di Napoli -Caterina

Renatino di Napoli -Come Te Non C’e Nessuno

Renatino di Napoli -Dicintencello Vuie

Renatino di Napoli -La Ragazza Col Maglione

Side B

Renatino di Napoli -Cuando Caliente, El Sol

Renatino di Napoli -Ca Tua Eta

 Renatino di Napoli -Paperon Di Paperoni

Renatino di Napoli -Et Maintenant

Renatino di Napoli -Il Toro Non Sbaglio

Renatino di Napoli -La Novia

Renatino di Napoli group comprises;

Antonio Favilli -piano
Nino Fenderico -drums
Mario Molitano -vibraphone
Givoanni Zangrandi -electric guitar, bass
Renatino de Napoli -electric guitar, vocals

excerpts from the original liner notes of “Last Night At The Carlton” with Renatino de Napoli from The Mediterranean Room.
RCA 31728 South Africa. Released in 1963

See also http://dojcarltonhotel.blogspot.com/

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‘An Evening at the Colony’ Sam Sklair And His Music

May 6, 2011

 The Colony was located in the luxurious Hyde Park Hotel, downtown Johannesburg. The nightclub was a famous hangout for the city’s well-heeled crowd who came to dine and dance. 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.

On this album ‘An Evening at the Colony’ from 1963, a live recording, Sam Sklair is being presented as a versatile musician, as he plays the clarinet, piano, saxophone, bass, flute and vibraphone. Furthermore, Sam is a proficient vocalist and almost as versatile in languages; he sings in Spanish, French, Italian, Greek and English.

Sam Sklair -An Evening at the Colony -Introduction

Sam Sklair -An Evening at the Colony -the Colony Cha Cha

Sam Sklair was born and educated in England and came to South Africa where his career took off as bandleader and composer for TV and the silver screen. See also POP goes the gumboot and Gumboot Dance vol 1 & 2 

Sam Sklair -An Evening at the Colony -Torrero

Musicians on ‘An Evening at the Colony’

Leon Cohen -piano

Vic Hanson -drums

Steve Zachary/Nat Berg -vocal

Les Kelly -bass

Chris Du Toit/Jannie Fourie -Guitar

 ‘An Evening at the Colony’  Sam Sklair And His Music- Renown NLP 115 South Africa 1963

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‘Dan Hill At The Grove’ featuring Dana Valery and introducing Una Valli

April 30, 2011

Regular visitors may have noticed that I have a weak spot for music that was popular in restaurants, lounges and ballrooms of the hotels in Johannesburg in the 1960’s. Creating a map of the musical nightlife in Johannesburg from that period has fascinated me ever since I found the first records within the theme.  By now, there is  enough material for a compilation.

Today’s  post is another addition to that ever expanding collection.  See also  Celebration at Ciro’s and Johannesburg Night Club Festival 1964

As the 60’s blew a wind of change into the country and  South Africa’s main capital ruled the cultural landscape,  many national and international artists flocked to the City of Gold  in search of fame and fortune. But the gold of Johannesburg was not for everyone, not in 1964…

Apartheid laws forced the black and colored population out of the city centre after work during daytime so people had to find inventive ways to come out to play after dark. Entertainment became more than ever The Big Escape out of the slums and townships.

Since racial separation was not so strict at some restaurants and hotels in the city, guests from all over of the world could be found mingling with the locals.

The Orange Grove Hotel had separate entrances reserved for Restaurant Parisien and the Cocoanut Grove nightclub where jockeys of Jo’burg mingled with Sowetan she-been Queens who were serving napkins, French food and sunshine smiles to a sophisticated crowd.  Local food specialties served in luscious surroundings accompanied by the house band starring featured singers and dancers;  Showtime!

Ladies and gentlemen,the Orange Grove Hotel proudly presents…

Dan Hill with Dana Valery -From Russia With Love

Discothèque entertainment in 60’s Jo’burg was found mainly in the bigger hotels with restaurants, like the Orange Grove or the Carlton where international stars stayed for the night or played long-term contracts. Local stars were discovered here. Una Valli  was introduced to Jo’burg’s well-heeled clientèle of the Orange Grove Hotel at the tender age of 14!  Bandleader Sam Sklair started out as a crooner accompanying himself  with a small dinner combo at  the famous restaurant “The Colony”.

Dan Hill, South Africa’s top bandleader, got a residency at The Orange Grove  where he provided the entertainment. His music was described at the time as ‘instant night club’ and consisted of his own material and new arrangements of popular hits of the day. Mostly Bossa Nova, Cha Cha, Fox Trot, Baion and of course the Twist.

Shortly before taking residency Dan Hill had made an extensive trip to Britain, Europe and the United States to study the latest recording techniques and observe the current trends. He worked with artists as Louis Armstrong, Stan Kenton, Andy Williams, Eydie Gorme, Steve Lawrence and Barbara Streisand, to mention a few.

Dan Hill with Una Valli -Really Gone Shake

Dan Hill with Una Valli -Just So Bobby Can See

On this record from 1965 you will hear Dan’s new vocalist –Una Valli. Una was only 14 years old when she recorded this material and performing with a man who knew the routine of the entertainment business, must have helped her career tremendously. Una Valli later recorded with the Durban group The Flames and The Peanut Butter Conspiracy and gained a crowd with her strong performance in the soul and pop universe.

excerpts from the liner notes of ‘Dan Hill At The Grove’ featuring Dana Valery and introducing Una Valli.

CBS ALD 6721 South Africa  1965

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Out of this world -Archie Silansky and his High Flyers with Vocalists; Bobby Angel, Vasco Cordoni, Maureen Rayson

August 2, 2009

“Out of this world” was the theme of the successful charity festival held in Johannesburg, where each night at the glittering ‘Bien Donne’ Restaurant at Milner Park honoured a different planet.

out of this world cover

Archie Silansky was a South African piano player in the “lounge/ light jazz” genre. He worked mainly in the late 1950s, early 1960s around Johannesburg and recorded several albums.

Having gone right around the globe with his popular Club International records, Archie Silansky now blasts off into outer space to continue his musical travels “Out of this world”.

Twisting into orbit with the High Flyers and vocally assisted by Bobby Angel, Vasco Cordoni and  Maureen Rayson, Archie presents rocket age arrangements of tunes dedicated to the various planets that have become his new ports of call, and to the gods who created them.

out of this world detail

Archie Silansky and his High Flyers

His travel schedule is as follows;

‘Twistin’ is out of this world’, a brand new tune, complete with countdown and actual blast-off sounds

Archie Silansky -Earth

MOON; ‘Shine on Harvest Moon’, ‘Lunar Baby’, sung by Bobby Angel

Archie Silansky -Moon

JUPITER; The King of the Gods: ‘Al di La’ which appropriately enough means ‘Out of this world’, sung by Vasco Cordoni

Archie Silanskyi -Jupiter

NEPTUNE; The God of the Sea: ‘Beyond the Sea’ sung by Bobby Angel

Archie Silansky -Neptune

VENUS; as Venus is the Goddess of Love, and love is the most popular theme of all time, we pay a return visit to hear Vasco Cordoni, an Itailian who looks very much like a Greek God himself, sings in Spanish, the song ‘Venus’

Archie Silansky -Return to Venus

HERMES; the Greek God of speed: ‘Speedy Gonzales’ –not really a Greek God but still very speedy, sung by Maureen Rayson

Archie Silansky -Hermes

MERCURY; the Roman God of speed: ‘Quicksilver’, sung by Maureen Rayson and ‘Alabama Bound’ with a real Southern Sound.

Archie Silansky -Mercury

RETURN TO EARTH: Maureen Rayson sings ‘Won’t you please come home, Bill Bailey’, and she is answered by Bobby Angel who sings ‘You’d be so nice to come home to’

Archie Silansky -Return to Earth

original liner notes from “Out of this world” by Archie Silansky and his High Flyers with Vocalists; Bobby Angel, Vasco Cordoni, Maureen Rayson -Gallotone 1244 probably released in South Africa in the mid-60’s