Some favourite new Kwela tunes – Kwela Tebza

So you thought that Kwela represents just some dusty old grooves from the early days? A sound, a style  that was popular way back in 1930, 1956 or 1960? Think again.

Those years surely may have defined the original Kwela style of pioneers like the Benoni Flute Quintet or Spokes Mashiyane but there’s more news as Kwela lives on. Today’s selection of tunes can be heard and seen on the almighty YouTube channell. Here is a small selection of new South African Kwela jive tunes, based upon readers post;TebogoLerole on Elias and His Zig Zag Jive Flutes

see also Penny Whistle Kwela -Alexandra Shamber Boys, Benoni Flute Quintet. Comments from readers are always welcome….keep sending yours!

reader Tebogo Lerole wrote:

I agree this is an amazing blog and I must say my dad truly appreciates all this. His name is Elias Shamber Lerole – founder of Elias and His Zig Zag Jive Flutes and composer of the hit Tom Hark. He is a very proud man, his legacy and that of other famous penny whistlers lives on through my brothers and I. Our band Kwela Tebza has been striving hard to put Kwela music on the map.

well, I couldn’t agree more…

kwela Tebza


Kwela Tebza ft Mxo and Tuks – Better Days



Soul Safari presents Township Jive & Kwela Jazz Volume 2 (1930-1962) sneak preview

Words can not describe the sensation of compiling yet another collection of jive and kwela jazz shellac 78’s that were found in the ILAM archives in Grahamstown, South Africa.

Most “African” recordings from the fifties and sixties in South Africa were issued on 78 shellac discs and only compiled to LP for the “overseas/white” market in very limited quantities. So one can imagine how rare these records actually are.

The selection of Volume 2 of ‘Township Jive & Kwela Jazz’ features 18 songs that were recorded between 1930 to 1962. Most of these were no big hits, only The Skylarks with Miriam Makeba and The Batchelors featuring Thoko Tomo are the better known names on this compilation.

The latter knew some local success with their Zulu translation of an American Doo Wop original; ‘Book Of Love’ by The Monotones, a one-hit wonder, as their only hit single peaked at #5 on the Billboard Top 100 in 1958.  ‘Sesik’Inyembezi’ was also released as an ep on New Sound XEP 7025 where the two tracks of the original single by The Bachelors comprise the B side. The A side is by The Skylarks with Miriam Makeba. Interestingly the front of the ep sleeve features a photograph of and mentions only The Skylarks with Miriam Makeba – suggests that The Bachelors were very much the lesser act in sales potential.

All recordings were prepared and mastered from the original 78 rpm shellac discs as found in the archives at ILAM. The goal was to clear the dust and dirt of decades gone by, while preserving the original dynamics and to keep the sound as little altered as possible.

Here is a sneak preview of some of the selections that can be found on ‘Township Jive & Kwela Jazz Volume 2”. Full tracklist + mp3 review to be revealed in my next post. Do check it out!

kudos to Alex. Sinclair for sharing his knowledge 

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….

Dube Shangaan Drums Group, Princess Jokazi and her Group

This 45 rpm EP was released in the early 1960’s as part of a series on African Tribal dances, performed at the Witwatersrand Goldmines near Johannesburg. Side one features recordings by the Dube Shangaan Drums Group while the other side has 2 tracks recorded in the Xhosa language by Princess Jokazi and her Group (Witchdoctor)

See also dances from the Witwatersrand Gold Mines and more African tribal dances from the Witwatersrand Gold Mines

African drumbeat ep -His Master’s Voice 7EPJ5, South Africa

Dube Shangaan Drums Group -Tiba

 Princess Jokazi and her Group (Witchdoctor) -Tikoloshe

In Zulu mythology, Tikoloshe, Tokoloshe or Hili (from the Xhosa word utyreeci ukujamaal) is a dwarf-like water sprite. It is considered a mischievous and evil spirit that can become invisible by swallowing a pebble. Tokoloshes are called upon by malevolent people to cause trouble for others. At its least harmful a tokoloshe can be used to scare children, but its power extends to causing illness and even death upon the victim. The way to get rid of him is to call in the n’anga (witch doctor), who has the power to banish him from the area.*

*source wiki

Hip To The Jive – Summer 2012 Mix


Hip To The Jive – Summer 2012 Mix 


1. Kid JoJo -Peanut Bump

2. Boyoyo Boys -Daveyton Special

3. Osiyazi -Sibaya Reception

4. Pikinini Khumbuza -Jackpot

5. EliasMethebula & The Chivani Sisters -NtelaATingangeni

6. Majozi -Ngimbonile Ubaba

7. Umakhathakhathanamachunu -Ezweni I Ikshaka

8. Majakathatha -Ke Saea Maseru

9. Izazi -Bayesutha

10. Dilika -Ngaylshela Yavuma

11. Manka Le Phallang -Khutsana

12. Mzikay Ifani Buthelezi -Themba

13. Amalokohloko -Aslangenlani

Dolly Rathebe -Drum cover July 1955

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

Miriam Makeba -Mama Africa- TV docu Mika Kaurismäki

Last night Dutch TV channel The Hour of the Wolf  broadcasted a colorful portrait of Africa’s most famous singer Miriam Makeba . You can watch this documentary in flash or via Microsoft Silverlight.

This documentary gives not only a great visual overview of Makeba’s career but through the many interviews with the singer and guests one can gets a really good impression of the life and circumstances in South Africa before 1994, during Apartheid and Makeba’s struggle against the regime.

Especially the early years of Miriam Makeba are well highlighted; her performances as part of the African Jazz & Variety shows at the City Hall in Johannesburg, her start as a singer with The Manhattan Brothers, her rise and fall in  the USA, living as an exile in Guinea…there is even some rare footage from an unofficial film ‘Come Back Africa’ (1959) by American filmmaker Lionel Rogosin that was smuggled out of the country and contained 2 songs by a very young Makeba. Essential film footage and a treasure to all lovers of the music of  one of South Africa’s greatest singers.

Get Microsoft Silverlight
Or see the flash version.

She married five times, lost her only daughter and lived in exile in the United States, Guinea and Belgium. She was surrounded by President John F. Kennedy, actor Marlon Brando and singer Ella Fitzgerald. She scored an international smash hit with Pata Pata. That precisely this apolitical dance song was so successful made ​​her slightly sad but she was not complaining: “The audience chooses what it wants.”

Makeba was born in a South African township, broke through as a jazz singer and grew under the wing of Harry Belafonte into a musical and political legend. Makeba had enormous presence and never publicly took a mince words: “I do not talk politics, I tell the truth.” In 1963, she said to the United Nations, and became a figurehead of the anti-apartheid struggle in her country. It earned her the nickname Mama Africa and led to thirty years in exile.

In 1990, Nelson Mandela asked her personal “coming home” and return to South Africa. She died in 2008 of a heart attack. This richly documented ode celebrates her unforgettable voice, her charisma and her high-priced idealism.

Director: Mika Kaurismäki
Producer: Starhaus / ZDF

see also my previous posts 

African Jazz & Variety -Alfred Herbert 1952

South African Soul Divas pt 1-Miriam Makeba

King Kong, the first All African Jazz Opera 1956

South African Soul Divas Pt 4 -The Skylarks

see & hear my previous post with MP3 Preview

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

Soul Safari’s  first compilation featuring 2 rare recordings by Miriam Makeba with The Skylarks & Spokes Mashiyane

 The Skylarks w/ Makeba & Spokes Mashiyane -Ekoneni

 The Skylarks w/ Makeba & Spokes Mashiyane -Inkomo Zodwa

Poem for a Coral Reef -Select 4 update & new remix

for over a year now, you have chosen poem for a Coral Reef by Yemu Matibe and Alungile Sixishe-Musique Exotique to be the most popular post on this blog so far.  Thank you!

Even more so, I am happy to announce that Claude Challe & Jean-Marc Challe, über DJ’s from Paris have selected the song ‘Poem for a Coral Reef’ as the opening of their new compilation ‘Select 4 -Music For Our Friends’

 Indeed a great pleasure to be in the company of artists as diverse and inspirational….this compilation has a truely worldwide appeal and the selection of exotic moods and timed moodswings is phenomenal.

Orlando Voorn

Furthermore, Dutch wunderkind producer/DJ Orlando Voorn has  remixed the original of  ”Coral Reef” into a driving, punchy powerful groove that blends  traditional African instruments like kalimba in perfect unision with electronic dance music….

Hear the remix and see the video here  

Downloads at Beatport

rare gems from the ILAM Archives-Township Jive & Kwela Jazz

Hugh Tracey

The International Library of African Music (ILAM), based at Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa, was founded by Hugh Tracey in 1954. ILAM’s collections of Hugh Tracey’s audio recordings, photographs and films are of great importance in preserving and keeping African musical heritage alive.

 The Tracey Collection of African traditional musical instruments is housed at ILAM, as is an extensive collection of  shellac 78 rpm discs. In addition to his extensive work researching and documenting the music of sub-Saharan Africa,Hugh Tracey advised Gallo, the biggest South African record company, on which records to release. Most of these selections came out on independent labels such as Gallotone,  Hit,  BB and New Sounds and included Zulu jive, Sotho vocal, accordion and violin jive – styles that were aimed at the burgeoning black market and helped to create a new black identity.

After two years of intensive collaboration with ILAM, Soul Safari proudly presents ‘Township Jive & Kwela Jazz (1940-1960)’, with many rare gems found in the ILAM archives.  This compilation brings the dusty and sometimes forgotten original recordings back to life, truly music treasures from a long gone past.

But I wonder if  there is enough interest for releasing these rare gems?? As CD format, download or a vinyl deluxe set? Let me know what you think, it’s appreciated.

See also previous my post Soul Safari presents Township Jive & Kwela Jazz (1940-1960) for the full track-listing.

Josiah Khuzwao & His String Band -Emkhumbane

Lulu Sibeko & Sedgewick Brothers -Chaba Chaba

Afrocentric EP – ‘Miss Ghana (Afro Baby)’ Afro dub step RMX

today’s post brings you an exclusive preview of one of my own recordings made in South Africa in 2010. New songs came to life during those sessions;  ‘Miss Ghana (Afro Baby)’ and ‘Poem for a Coral Reef’.   Both songs are dear to me as I had the change to work with young South African singers Yemu Matibe and Alungile Sixishe and Ghanese reggae supremo Consular. And now, I am proud to present the new remixes of ‘Coral Reef’ and 2 more…

“Afrocentric EP” 

Three brand new 2011 remixes by Dutch producer/dj Orlando Voorn

1. Miss Ghana (Afro Baby) -Orlando Voorn’s Afro Dub Step mix 7:50

2. Coral Reef-Orlando Voorn’s  Extended Remix 9:34

3. Topaz -Orlando Voorn’s Culture Club Extended Remix 8:34



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Original versions can be found on the album ‘Musique Exotique’

(Ubuntu Publishing 2010. UP 2010.002 )