Lost Dreams; Grande Hotel Beira, Mozambique

In one of the grandest hotels in the world, born of and to luxury, today you enter ‘at own risk’. More than 2500 people live there without water or electricity. They have taken possession of the building and manipulated not only the stones but also the dreams. A journey through present and past of a city in a city; a story about colonial megalomania, revolutionary vanity and feeling at home.

grande hotel beira mozambique afbeelding

The Grande Hotel Beira was a luxurious hotel in Beira, Mozambique built by entrepreneur Arthur Brandão. It was open from 1954 to 1964, after which the holiday resort was used as military base and prison in the Mozambican Civil War. It has since fallen into disuse, and is currently home to numerous squatters, who have stripped the building of construction materials to provide a limited source of income.

Its failure wasn’t completely because of the revolution or government rule but the construction and maintenance costs were too high and they didn’t receive enough guests because of more affordable and better located competition.

In 1964, after ten years of operation, the Grande Hotel was closed by the Companhia de Moçambique. The construction costs were three times more than the original budget, and the hotel never made any profit. The anticipated number of wealthy guests never came and the workforce was too large for the amount of guests actually received. Every elevator, for example, had its own operator present. The hotel needed a lot of maintenance to keep it in its luxurious condition.

Listen to Kumbe Siyengetile [Mozambique] – Francis Baloyi, Sangaan Band

See also this Belgian documentary by  Lotte Stoops filmed in Beira, Mozambique in 2010. Winner of the Biarritz International Festival of Audiovisual Programming 2012


In several documents it was claimed that the reason for closure was the refusal of the regime to grant the hotel a casino permit. Any realistic estimation would have predicted the failure of the hotel. The white residents of Southern Africa couldn’t afford this level of luxury and Beira was not known, internationally, as a prime holiday destination for wealthy people. Destinations like the Bazaruto archipelago at Vilanculos, the Mediterranean city life style of the Mozambican capital Lourenço Marques, the South African Krüger national park and the Victoria Falls in Rhodesia where more famous across the world.

A cheaper alternative to the Grande Hotel was the Ambassador Hotel. This hotel opened just after the inauguration of the Grande Hotel and was preferred by business people because it was situated in the Baixa (downtown) area, where most of the business offices were located. Remarkably, Arthur Brandão was also the owner of this hotel.

Township Jive & Kwela Jazz -new Volume 4 (1940-1965)

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the fourth issue in the series ‘Township Jive & Kwela Jazz’ selected by Soul Safari.

Another outstanding collection of rare gems from the International Library of African Music (ILAM) Archives, South Africa.

Soul Safari presents Township Jive & Kwela Jazz Volume 4 (1940-1965)

Catalog nr. UP 2016.007 LP

Side A
1-Stamkoko -Izintombi Zesi manje manje (1965) 02:16
2-Udali– Maphela  (1960) 02:38
3-Sabela –Maphela  (1960) 02:30
4-Usana Lwam’– Mississippi Brothers & Beauty Diloane (1940) 02:36
5-Ukhiye–Susan  Gabashane & Her Honeybees  (1960) 02:46
6.Ukuhlupheka – Susan Gabashane & Her Honeybees (1960) 02:35
7.Umsakazo E Grahamstown– Alabhama Kids  (1960) 02:27
8.Lizzy–Mississippi Brothers (1940) 02:17
9.Asinamali– Alabhama Kids (1960) 02:21

Side B
1.Baboon Shepherd–Black Duke & Peter Makana (1950) 02:35
2.Battle Of The Flutes–Black Duke & Peter Makana (1950) 02:37
3.Shukuma Duke-Black Duke (1950) 02:27
4.Duke Blues-Black Duke (1950) 03:00
5.Black John–Peter Makana (1950) 02:20
6.Blood Mixture-Peter Makana – (1950) 02:15
7.Egoli Zinyozi –Alfred Dlezi & Dlamini (1950) 02:31

Lost & Found pt 2 -Peanut Butter Conspiracy -South African 70’s Soul & Psych

see also Lost & Found pt 1 -Wanda Arletti -Love Power!!

Lost & Found is a series that showcases long lost music from the 60s by South African white artists. Maybe these songs and sounds were lost for years but not forgotten. Today I want to present a record by Peanut Butter Conspiracy aka PBC, a group that worked with The Flames and singer Una Valli. Not to be confused with the American band of 1966 with the same name. A combination of soul and uptempo excitement, just plain talent combined with ambition and gutsy professionalism. No hype, no hustle.

see also The Flames -Soulfire!! South Africa’s soul super group

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peanut butter conspiracy

The group Peanut Butter Conspiracy was formed in 1968. The original line up included: Una Valli (vocals), John Lindeman (guitar),Brian Mulder (bass), Ron Naturam (keyboards), Mike Fox (drums), Peter Lynch (sax/mouth-organ/guitar) and Mike Koch (drums). Subsequent band members included Ton Schiff (keyboards), George Hill (drums), Herbert Simon (guitar), Moose Forer (bass), Frank Hill (drums), Stuart Preston (drums), Mick Spooner (keyboard/sax), Eddie Payne (trumpet) and Freddie Schesser (trumpet). “Understanding”reached #2 on Springbok’s Top 20 in May 1971 and spent 17 weeks on the charts. It went to #1 on the Rhodesian charts for three weeks in May 1971. Other hits include: “Hold On To What You’ve Got” (#4 Aug ’71) and “Amen” (#2 Dec ’71).

Their cover of the song “Part Of Someone (Church)” originally by Steven Stills remains a true gem that is waiting to shine again.

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PBC continued on to at least 1973 releasing a few records on the Columbia record label in South Africa. Alan Brackett of the American band said that he no doubt believes that they used their name especially because both bands were signed with Columbia. There is also a barbershop quartet with the same name.  There were many foreign bands that emulated American sounds with 60s psychedelia, progressive rock, and soul music. Apparently Columbia had no problem with this.

Peanut Butter Conspiracy…Chart Busters…Soulmates. Take six musicians: Patent Brian Mulder’s gravel-voice delivery. Add brass. Peter Lynch, Mike Spooner and Eddie Payne. Blend in Stuart Prestam’s drumming and Herbert Simon’s guitar riffs. Now you have it – the PBC sound. Here’s their debut album to confirm your suspicions. This is South Africa’s pop discovery of the 70s.

peanut butter conspiracy cover binnen gecomp watermark

source; liner notes Peanut Butter Conspiracy (CBS ASF 1627-South Africa)


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Lost & Found pt 1-Wanda Arletti -Love Power!!!

Lost & Found is a new series to start the week..music from the 60s by South African white artists. Maybe these songs and sounds were lost for years but not forgotten. Today I want to present a record by beat girl Wanda Arletti; “Love Power!!!”, easily one of the best albums of the 60s. ‘Love Power’ holds all the elements of a true classic pop record, a tour de force of soulful beat music made in South Africa.

There is a certain reminiscence of the silky soul of Dusty Springfield in covers of ‘I Think It’s Gonna Rain Today’ and the inevitable “Son of a Preacher Man“ but the repertoire and vocal excellence is powerfully defined by Wanda Arletti. She covers these well known songs very well and makes them her own.

She was born Wanda Arletowicz  in Hackney, England of Polish parents and as a teenager sang for South Africa’s beat group The Staccatos, later  married the group’s guitarist, Richard Crouse and recorded a few memorable albums like “Love Power’, a record that has well aged and on review here today.

Motown, Phil Spector, Dusty Springfield, Burt Bacharach are just a few of the many other influences that show through on the 12 tracks presented here.

The production holds it own and adds a mesmerizing sound played by competent musicians.The album is packed with  powerful vocals that are emotional, over a lush and minimal orchestration by one of South Africa’s most popular and talented composers and artists; Art Heatlie, who also produced this album.


 Wanda Arletti -Love Power!!!

Wanda Arletti -Love Power

Wanda Arletti -Take Me For A Little While

Wanda Arletti -Son Of A Preacher Man

Wanda Arletti -It Was Easier To Hurt Him

Release info: Wanda Arletti “Love Power!!!” NEM, nems 301, May 1969

Wanda Arletti -Zanzibar

And as a bonus to today’s post here is a later single “ZANZIBAR” originally released in South Africa in October 1970 to reach nr.2 in the worldwide charts to stay in the highest regions for another 13 weeks. The single pictured here is the 1971 Belgian release. Surely a well deserved hit but it’s the B-side that counts,  ”Walk Us Round A Rainbow”.  The song is a soulful big ballad that grows and grows into a divine vocal seduction by one of South Africa’s greatest voices in pop.

Wanda Arletti -Walk Us Around A Rainbow

Release info: Pink Elephant PE 22.558Y Demo production copy. Belgium 07-04-1971

Thanks to Tertius Louw at the online South African Rock Encyclopedia

City Jazz Nine -Our Kind Of Jazz -Zacks Nkosi 1964

Good day to all. Today’s post starts the week with a rather rare album by Zacks Nkosi ‘Our Kind Of Jazz’.

The original was issued in 1964 on Skyline SK80160, a sub-label of South African EMI . The  same album was re-issued later on HMV but today we are presenting here the original first release of this great album. An authorative biography on Zacks Nkosi can be found on flatinternational so today I concentrate on the music.

The recordings on the album ‘Our Kind Of Jazz’ were made between 1956 and 1964 by the City Jazz Nine and Zacks and his Sextet.  The B-side with 7 recordings by Zacks and His Sextet will be featured in the next post.



Lefty’s Boogie (ZacksNkosi)






Kuruman (ZacksNkosi)


EmgunguNkhlovu (ZacksNkosi,PeterMoloi)




10.10 Special (ZacksNkosi)

Liner notes

I have known Zacks Nkosi–“Bra Zacks” as he is called by all his friends- for more than ten years and can sincerely say that he is a true and honest musician, born under the star of music.

Always pleasant, amiable, willing and striving, but quietly insisting on what he thinks right and should be done. Never flying high, but always basically firm and solid in his approach to life as well as in his music.

His parents originated fromSwaziland, but Zacks  was born in the well-known location,AlexandraTownship, learning some music at the Roman Catholic Holy Cross Mission School, trying to master, as he himself says, the piano, bugle and clarinet at the age of ten years. Much has been achieved since then and I doubt if the teachers from the Mission School would have ever thought that ‘Bra Zacks’ has, over the years,  put into practice so successfully the small amount of guidance he received from them at that particular time.

His knowledge has been enlarged tremendously by hard training, improving his techniques and mastering, to use his own expression again, other instruments such as the saxophone, bass guitar and rhythm instruments, beginning to read and write music, playing all over South Africa, either in conjunction with other musicians in other bands, or with his own bands, in the early days –“The Jazz Havanas”, “The Boogie-Woogies”, and during the last ten years, “The City Jazz Nine” and “Zacks With His Sextet”. From “The Blue Diamonds”, the first group he joined via “The Jazz Havanas”, ”“The Boogie-Woogies” and “The Jazz Maniacs”, to his own last two bands, is a long stretch for any musician, but Zacks has always stuck to his principles of true and honest music giving tribute to his many tutor friends and musicians –amongst the, the late Boyse Ngwele and Solomon Cele, Jeff Adams Catriers, who is now in Sweden and Abie Tetsoalo.

Zacks’ first LP consists of his own compositions covering approximately seven years of his recordings for EMI using some of his most successful works and played by both his bands.

I am certain all his many friends will want to have this LP in their collection as they should be able to recollect so well his struggle and success, his purity and honesty, his mood, his time and their time in which this music was recorded.

I am sure “Bra Zacks” still has a great future with us, as I would not like to miss his broad smile and his pleasant personality.

Liner notes  by E.W.F. Bantu A. & R. on the original LP “Our Kind Of Jazz” 1964 EMI  Skyline SK80160

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

3 Hugh Masekela essentials

  Hugh Masekela -Do Me So La So So

from a great, rather underrated 45 single from 1975

Hugh Masekela -Excuse me please / Ashiko (A-side)

Hugh Masekela introducing Hedzoleh Soundz -Nye Tamo Ame                  see also previous post Masekela introducing Hedzoleh Soundz

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

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

the Bleached Zulu Pt 4 -Savage Sounds from South Africa


John E Sharpe and The Squires


Good day to all. Until the end of apartheid not many people had heard about bands like The Hobos, Beau Brummel, Birds Of A Feather or John E. Sharpe & The Squires… Because of the apartheid system there was a big international boycot in the 60’s and 70’s so many South African bands never had a chance to show the world their skills and the records were pressed in small quantities and mainly distributed in Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town.  When apartheid ended, many collectors of Beat and Garage flocked fairs and the internet searching for rare goodies, top prices were paid. All that has changed now that the music becomes more and more widely available, but some of the originals are still very hard to locate.

John E Sharpe and The Squires -Yours For Picking

The album ‘Savage Sounds from South Africa’ is a bootleg, pressed in a hand numbered and limited edition of 500.  The artwork is identical to the ‘Jungle Drums’ album by The Shangaans but the selection of music on offer is an entire different story. It is a sample, although limited, which reflect the local SA scene of obscure white Beat-Garage bands of the 60’s very well.  Their music is based upon American and English examples but has developed a unique flavor that’s typical for South Africa. Sometimes psychedelic, full with raw energy and lack of conventional rules. And surprisingly, as  The Shangaans show,  blending traditional instruments and songs of indigenous tribes of the South African continent.

Birds Of A Feather -Come On Up Rare Sixties Beat-Garage Growlers from Beyond the Cape of Good Hope

Side 1
1 Them – One Time Too Many
2 The Zeroes – Work All Day (Sleep All Night)
3 Beau Brummel – Someone To Love
4 John E. Sharpe & The Squires – Yours For The Picking
5 Group ’66 – I Know About Love
6 Them – I Want To Be Rich Again
7 The Gonks – Woman Yeah
8 The Shangaans – Yeh Girl
9 The Upsetters – Pain In My Heart
Side 2
1 The Hobos – If I Ever Saw You
2 Them – It’s A Day
3 Birds Of A Feather – Come On Up
4 The In-Crowd – Come Back
5 The Difference – I Wonder Why
6 John E. Sharpe & The Squires – Monkey Shine
7 The Shangaans – Liwa Wechi (Lee-wa Weck-ee)
8 The Zeroes – I Can’t Explain
9 John E. Sharpe & The Squires – I’ll Explain

See also South Africa’s Rock.com database for a comprehensive discography on most groups featured here and more…