Township Jive & Kwela Jazz vol 2 -preview coming soon

TownshipJiveKwelaJazzVol2 -iTunes voorkant

new volume of our own compilation ‘Township Jive & Kwela Jazz’ coming soon!

more details in following posts….

Township Jive & Kwela Jazz (1940-1960) May 2012 update

`’Township Kwela Jazz & Jive (1940-1960)’ has received a warm reception so far, even above my expectations. It’s great to know that the music on this compilation can be heard again after being forgotten for so many years. The 180 gram vinyl pressing was  sold out in a few months and the CD  is available from Tokyo to Munich. On  iTunes the album looks like a popular search too.  Given the success of this first compilation another volume is now planned and we’re working hard to release ‘Township Kwela Jazz & Jive (1940-1960)’  Volume 2 soon.

…and the radio loves it too!

last Sunday I was invited to DJ at “Wicked Jazz Sounds” on Radio 6, the Dutch national station, where host Phil Horneman plays a wicked selection of rare Soul and Jazz. He was kind enough to give me  some airtime during his show to present a selection of the compilation. Ultimately, the entire album was broadcast.

Wicked Jazz Sounds on Radio 6, broadcast 29 April 2012  

and a few reviews from various newspapers and sites…

Very Short List

The album was even featured as pick of the week on the site of American newspaper The Observer’s Very Short List 

This is joyous, irrepressible stuff, which sounds much fresher in its original incarnation than it ever did in American appropriations (yes, Paul Simon, we’re talking to you!).

and another review from

 these gems produce a direct line to jazz-hands-in-the-air moments of naked enjoyment. This is the jive that set the night alight, before the raw dawn on Sharpeville cast a pale light that threw dark shadows.

Featuring a strong showing from the stand-out stars of the kwela scene during its seminal years of 1940 to 1960, there’s an innocence and enthusiasm in the music on this compilation which belies its age. It’s raw, it’s funky, it’s highly infectious and it’s entirely impossible to ignore as a sample of a more beautiful space in time. Selected from the International Library of African Music in Grahamstown, this is as authentic a sample as you can get, with all the tracks having been remastered. If there was ever a definitive sampler of this genre, this is it. Hats off to the Soul Safari blog for playing their part in putting the spotlight on these gems!

Words by Travis Lyle

CD here

vinyl -180 gram- LP here

iTunes downloads here

Richard Nombali, Sample Siroqo -Mouth Organ Township Jive 78 rpm

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In this gallery here today  a series of records found in the archives of  ILAM, the music department of  Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa. Both the original shellac pressings on 78 rpm were discovered here. Richard Nombali and Sample Siroqo; Mouth Organ Jive!

See also Township Jive & Kwela Jazz (1940-1960)  for full details  & MP3

Richard Nombali -Kwela Rich

Sample Siroqo -Baya Vuma

Township Jive & Kwela Jazz (1940-1960) Available Now!

It’s official folks! Soul Safari is proud to announce the release of our first compilation in collaboration with the  International Library of African Music (ILAM), Grahamstown, South Africa.

Order the CD here

Order the vinyl -180 gram- LP here

iTunes downloads here

All titles on this compilation have been handpicked from the ILAM Archives and have been professionally mastered and restored from the original 78 shellac discs.

The tracklisting represents a wide variety of styles from the golden era of Jive & Kwela, originally released on small independent record companies like Gallotone, Hit, BB and New Sounds.  Zulu jive, Sotho vocal, accordion and violin jive to name a few styles…

The compilation features a few rarities by the big names obviously but presents mostly obscure material that has never been heard since the day of it’s original release. Truly music treasures from a long gone past.

Available as CD and LP -180 grams vinyl- formats

  Distribution by Rush Hour worldwide  from December 5th 2011.


Township Jive & Kwela Jazz (1940-1960)

1 The Skylarks w/ Makeba & Spokes Mashiyane -Ekoneni

2 Sophtown Cool Seven -Sophtown Special

3 Lulu Sibeko & Sedgewick Brothers -Tholi Bare

4 The Skylarks w/ Makeba & Spokes Mashiyane -Inkomo Zodwa

5 Spokes Mashiyane & His Golden Saxophone -Bothe Bothe

6 Cowboy Superman & His Cowboy Sisters -Inhlizyiyo Yam

7 Abafana Flute Jive -Bra Zacks (I Nkosi)

8 Doris Mkhize & The Cement Mixers -Nanku

9 Abafana Flute Jive -7 Up Swing

10 Josiah Khuzwao & His String Band -Emkhumbane

11 Lulu Sibeko & Sedgewick Brothers -Chaba Chaba

12 Martindale All Stars -Thakane

13 Harmony Crew Shirts -Amanye Madoda

14 Richard Nombali -Kwela Rich

15 Ndlovu Brothers -Anilale Namhla

16 Sample Siroqo -Baya Vuma

Ubuntu Publishing UP 2011.004 CD and  UP 2011.004LP


more Montella Swing -Top Tune/Miss Blues 1969

Montella Swing -Top Tune/Miss Blues  (Atlantic City AYB 39)

South Africa 1969

two really groovy Jive tunes by Montella Swing. No info can be found on this band, so I guess it is a group formed out of studio regulars.

Released on  Atlantic City in March 1969. The record has an official stamp of approval by the national state censorship saying that this record is suitable for radio play.

Montella Swing -Top Tune

Montella Swing -Miss Blues

See also Montella Swing -Green Chips/Zwidetownship (Atlantic City AYB-33)   

Montella Swing -Green Chips/Zwidetownship 1969

Montella Swing -Green Chips/Zwidetownship (Atlantic City AYB-33)

South Africa 1969

Super rare funky jazz instrumental out of 1969.  Original 45 rpm release on Atlantic City Records, South Africa. Very rare!

Montella Swing -Green Chips

Montella Swing -Zwidetownship

The Bachelors with Thoko Tomo – Zulu Jive & Isicathamiya

just unearthed this beautiful single with one side sung in the Doo Wop Jive style and a surprising b-side. The Bachelors and Thoko Tomo is a South African vocal group unknown to me, maybe a reader can shine a light on their origins? The label mentions Jive and as far as I can find out this must be Zulu Jive while the b-side is sung in English.

Gibson Kente wrote the song ‘I Got Troubles’. His name appears on the credits for two other productions,’Ekoneni’ and ‘Inkomo Zodwa’,  recorded by The Skylarks with Makeba & Spokes Mashiyane. See also my previous post Soul Safari presents Township Jive & Kwela Jazz (1940-1960)

‘I Got Troubles’ reminds me of Isicathamiya by the likes of Ladysmith Black Mambazo, even American Gospel. Such heavenly voices! This single was probably released in the early 1960’s following an earlier release as shellac 78 rpm. This was normal practice in the days when the 45 single format replaced the old breakable 78’s. The label New Sound is a subsidiary of Gallo Records, hence the image of the cock in the logo.

The Bachelors -I Got Troubles  

Soul Safari presents Township Jive & Kwela Jazz (1940-1960)

It’s official folks! Our first compilation in collaboration with ILAM is now being prepared for release. Soul Safari presents Township Jive & Kwela Jazz (1940-1960) celebrates the 3rd year of Soul Safari so far. Imagine 135 posts and still counting…

All titles on this compilation have been handpicked from the ILAM Archives (the International Library of African Music), in Grahamstown, South Africa. The tracklisting represents a wide variety of styles from the golden era of Jive & Kwela, originally released on 78 shellac discs from small independent record companies .  The compilation features rarities by the big names obviously but presents  mostly obscure material from a long lost past. Recorded from the original 78 rpm’s and professionally restored/mastered with artwork to match.

A limited edition of the album in CD format and deluxe 180 gram vinyl pressing is  confirmed for October 2011,  exclusively distributed by Rush Hour.

SA Kwela Jazz -The Kwela Kids Plus One -Joshua Sithole

over the weekend I dug into the finds of my latest SA trip last March. Still a few boxes of records to unpack, an activity that always brings a lot of joy and new insights in South African music history.

Like this single by The Kwela Kids Plus One featured here today, released in September 1969. I had expected the standard Kwela jive fare but was totally surprised by the sophisticated jazz beats.  The guitar of Joshua Sithole binds the rhytmic structures nicely together and adds an unique touch of jazz excellence. While the flute on ‘Duke In Soul’ is paying homage to the horn section of the Duke Ellington Orchestra indeed…

The Kwela Kids Plus One -Our Strange Ways

Writer of these songs  is Joshua Sithole,  his music taking inspiration from the kwela and mbaqanga styles.

As a self-taught lead guitarist Joshua began busking with the Kwela Kids in 1959 in Cape Town and later with Sipho ‘Hotstix’ Mabuse in his group The Beaters in Johannesburg. Note also the misspelling of his name as Joshua Sitole on earlier recordings.

The Kwela Kids Plus One -Duke In Soul

In 1978 he went solo and played in venues around the country, thrilling audiences with his distinctive style. During the eighties he became known to Durban audiences through his various residencies at places like the Lonsdale and Westville Hotels.

Sithole was born in Rylands, but his family moved to Gugulethu during the era of forced removals. He was committed to his family and to passing on his skills to others. Josh Sithole, one of Cape Town’s best-loved musicians and a favourite of many South African music-lovers, died on Sunday 20 June 1999.

excerpts from an article from the AFRICAN INVASION OF ROCK website

see also Joshua Sithole: Joshua Sithole’s Africa 

Mario Da Conceiçao -saxophone jive -Troubadour Records SA

Good day to all. Today’s post starts the week with a rare 45 rpm single on Troubadour Records from South Africa. The pressing plays with a noisy hiss so  I have removed some of the worst hiss and crackle. Not much is known about the artist, just the fact that Mario De Conceiçao was a saxophone player and both tracks on this single are instrumentals  in the Saxophone Jive style.

Mario De Conceiçao – Seaside

Mario De Conceiçao -Riverside 

Thanks to our friends at Electric Jive who added the following information:

Hi Eddy – nice find – de Conceicao was originally Mozambican but lived in South Africa in the 60s and 70s – he played regularly as a fill-in sax for the legendary Makhona Tsohle band – he also cllaborated with the Elite Swingsters – and in the 70s put out an album with two Swingsters saxophonists – Albert Ralulimi and Chris Songxaka – that album can be downloaded from Electric Jive – here