free peoples concert at the Witwatersrand University March 12th 1972

free peoples concert no 1 cover

please take some time out to listen to both sides of this unique and ultra rare album, recorded at an open air festival at the Witwatersrand University March 12th 1972 in Johannesburg. It was not a free festival, visitors were expected to contribute money to the organisation TEACH (Teach Every African Child), but the idea of the festival was that all visitors were “free people”.

The line-up of artists shows all colors of the Rainbow Nation, the idealized nation of all peoples who inhabit South Africa. It was apparently well possible in 1972 in South Africa  that a festival brought together national musicians of all races and color in the spirit of Woodstock, the most famous rock concert and festival ever held in August 1969 in Bethel USA.  For many, Woodstock showed the counterculture of the 1960s and the “hippie era” and I guess that the same ideals also applied to the folk festival on the grounds of the Witwatersrand University in Johannesburg on 12 March 1972. But at the same time it voiced a slight edge of protest against the apartheid government of the time.

The line-up consists of white folk groups and singers, black artists like the Casaloma Brothers, Malombo or The Malombos with Julian Bahula and Ahmed Mukhtar, an Indian group. Due to the limited space on this LP recording, the organisation had omitted  artists Jon Clegg, Sipho Mchunu and the dancers Wa Madhlebe, Johnny Horn, Mike Dues the Poet and the 5000 or so other ‘free’people who attended this festival.

paul clingman mike dickman


edi nederlanderthe dunbar street folk groupdes & dawn lindberg

casaloma brothers

ahmed mukhtar

Free Peoples Concert No 1 side 1

Tracklisting Side 1

Mahogany Row -Paul Clingman/Mel Miller/Edi Nederlander

Do-Re-Mi (written by Woody Guthrie) -Mel Miller

Jay Gould’s Daughter -Edi Nederlander

Let No Man Steal Your Time -The Dunbar Street Folk Group

You Don’t Have To Be Lonely -Kevin Hinds

Winnie -The South Country Band

Free Peoples Concert No 1 side 2

Tracklisting Side 2

Kwahlathi/Limehill -The Casaloma Brothers

What Did You Learn In School Today? -Des & Dawn Lindberg

Roelandstraat -Brian Beddington

Prayer When I Die -Paul Clingman

Tunin Up-Dhun (A Melody For The Occasion) -The Ahmed Mukhtar Group

Mama -Malombo; Julian Bahula (home made drums) Lucky Ranku (electric guitar)

I Just Can’t Be Satisfied, I Just Can’t Keep From Trying -Mike Dickman

pics and some text based on the liner notes of The South African Folk Music Association (Safma) presents on open air ‘Free Peoples Concert No 1’ at the Witwatersrand University on  Sunday the 12th of March 1972 -private pressing

Play Of The Day -Malombo -Marabi -1976 SA Jazz

Here’s a single released in South Africa in 1976, taken from the album ‘Pele Pele’ by Malombo.

Malombo -Marabi pt 1

The group Malombo,  led by multi-instrumentalist Phillip Tabane, is one of South Africa’s longest standing groups.

Initially operating as The Malombo Jazzmen with Abe Cindi (flute) and Julian Bahula (percussion) in the 1960’s, the group evolved to Malombo.

The instrumentation is unconventional – African drums and hand percussion, interplaying with Tabane’s unique guitar, vocal, and flute sounds. Tabane blends traditional compositions and cultural themes with his acoustic sounds.

Internationally acclaimed, Tabane has toured extensively in Europe and the United States, performing at the Apollo Theatre (New York) and the Montreux Jazz Festival, amongst others.

Phillip Tabane & Malombo live at The Market Theatre Johannesburg.