Afrotronic. All songs on the Afrotronic album are influenced by music from Southern to North Africa and all consists original elements from the local cultures, such as the use of original instruments like the mbira (kalimba) and traditional drums and percussion recorded with local musicians. African artists such as singers Consular, Yemu Matibe and Alungile Sixishe contribute to this album with warm voices, vocals sung in Ghanese and in the Xhosa language.
Afrotronic has ultimately become an adventurous, electronic, jazzy album, in which influences can be heard from Afro-pop, Dub Step, Deep House and South African Amapiano.
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today’s post features a series of records that fits perfectly into my favorite category ‘Music For Restaurants, Nightclubs & Hotel Lounges’ with gorgeous covers. After a few years of digging I finally completed a full set of 5 volumes of ‘In Tune with South Africa’ by keyboard player Albie Louw. And after some research I found out that the guy was more then just tickling the ivory….read more
The following is extracted from Volume III of the 1986 edition of South African Music Encyclopedia (J.P. Malan, ISBN 0 19 570363 4)
ALBERTUS JOHANNES (ALBIE) LOUW, baritone, born 10 February 1926 near Malmesbury, South Africa
After initial training in pianoforte and singing at Stellenbosch, Louw continued his study at the College of Music in Cape Town. His pianoforte playing was supervised by Cameron Taylor and Lili Kraus and for singing he successively had Lucy Greathead, John Andrews, Alessandro Rota and Gregorio Fiasconaro as teachers. During his College years he became a member of the University’s Opera Group for whom (up to 1970) he interpreted a range of repertoire operas which included Don Giovanni, Tosca and Le Nozze di Figaro. He accompanied this group on their tour to England and Scotland in 1953 and sang in The Consul by Menotti. He had an exceptional occasion in 1961 when he interpreted the title role at the premiere of John Joubert’s Silas Marner in Cape Town. As a pianist he played with the Cape Town City Orchestra at least once in a performance of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. Since the establishment of the Regional Councils for the Performing Arts (1962) he has undertaken concert tours and the singing of opera roles for CAPAB, NAPAC and PACT.
Springbok Radio’s “Shell Show”
His main interest, and the one to which he has devoted the most time and attention, lies in the domain of light music, especially in the world of broadcasting for which he has performed both as pianist and as singer and in combination with his own Albie Louw Salon Orchestra in the transmission of innumerable entertainments. His orchestra became renowned through years of participation in Springbok Radio’s “Shell Show”, often in arrangements by Louw himself. Another popular group which owes its existence to his initiative were the Safari Singers, who interpreted his arrangements of folk songs, as well as his original lyrics. Their performances were characterised by Louw directing, singing and playing the piano at the same time.
In 1978 he orchestrated and conducted for NAPAC the musical “Aladdin” and in 1979 he conducted “Annie” during the last two weeks of its season in Cape Town. In the same year he undertook a concert tour with his Safari Singers for CAPAB, as part of the 50th anniversary celebrations of the FAK. He has supported the tenor Gé Korsten in various shows, e.g. in the TV show for which he composed the song In die Kaap Maak die Boere Lekker Wyn. Albie Louw also had a studio in Cape Town where he taught singing and pianoforte playing.
not an unusual practice with the big record companies…when no individual art work was available for a certain record then another cover was used. Just like this original 7″ ep by the Benoni Flute Quintet and the Alexandra Shamber Boys and Girls that became a twin cover for Albie Louw ‘In Tune with South Africa Volume 5 -Kwela’
as part 13 in the series Township Soul & Boogie I proudly present one of Letta Mbulu’s rarest albums in existence. It may be one of those records that people sometimes refer to as a ‘holy grail’. “I’ll Never Be The Same (Mosadi)” is without a doubt an ultra rare ‘lost’ Letta Mbulu LP, released only in South Africa on the Tamla Motown label in 1973.
Actually, this LP is a compilation of material that was previously released on several albums with some new songs added, probably recorded between 1970-1973. Parts of this album consists of songs that Letta recorded frequently as part of musical aggregates put together by Hugh Masekela – most spectacularly as part of the anonymous collective known as Africa ‘68 (which was also later credited as “The Zulus”), where she took the lead on “Uyaz’ Gabisa,” “Noyana,” “Aredze” (which she’d earler performed on Letta Mbulu Sings) and “Kedumetse.”
All tracks on this LP beautifully showcase Mbulu’s gorgeous vocal capacities and the heritage of Zulu songs stand out as proud witnesses of Letta’s South African origins.
Born and raised in Soweto, South Africa on 23 August 1942, she has been active as as singer since the 1960s. While still a teenager she toured with the musical King Kong, — but left for the United States in 1965 due to Apartheid.
In New York she connected with other South African exiles including Miriam Makeba, Hugh Masekela and Jonas Gwangwa, and went on to work with Cannonball Adderley, David Axelrod and Harry Belafonte.
On screen, her singing can also be heard in Roots, The Color Purple (1985), and the 1973 film A Warm December,[ and she was a guest on a Season 6 episode of Soul Train. Mbulu also provided the Swahili chant in Michael Jackson’s single, “Liberian Girl”. Producer Quincy Jones has said of her: “Mbulu is the roots lady, projecting a sophistication and warmth which stirs hope for attaining pure love, beauty, and unity in the world.”
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.
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.
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.
Today’s post features all tracks from an early album by Nash ‘Wind Me Up’ released in 1981 in South Africa on his own label Nash
A1 Wind Me Up 5:12
A2 Love Me Now 4:00
A3 Let The Music Play 3:53
B1 Funky Feelin’ 6:22
B2 Blame It On Magic 3:48
B3 Ooh Baby 3:31
Neville Nash and his band The Miracles parted ways when the South African singer went solo. By 1985 he had a big hit,”One Of Those Night”,which was later included in the Concert In The Park double album.”What’s Your Name,What’s Your Number?” produced by Tom Mkhise on the CTV label Solid. In 1986 he followed up with the album “Why?” which featured the hit “Feel It” produced by Tom Mkhise, Solly Letwaba and Neville himself.
I would like to end the year 2014 with the great uplifting music of a long standing South African performer whose music I have discovered recently. As I am enchanted by his singing and guitar playing I want to share a few songs by Thomas Chauke and his daughter Conny Chauke
Thomas Chauke is a South African musician who was born in Salema Village in the Limpopo province of South Africa. He performs and records under the band name Dr.Thomas Chauke na Shinyori Sisters. In 2013, he was presented with a MTN SAMA 19 Lifetime Achievement Award.Since the beginning of his career, Thomas Chauke has released over 30 albums which all reached gold, platinum, or double platinum status in South Africa.
This YouTube profile contains a lot of music and snippets of various video-clips so a good opportunity to discover the man’s musical output. Unfortunately the voice over is not in English, but let the music speak for itself. Wonderful and inspiring music!
…his daughter Conny Chauke also performs and has released a series of albums in her own right. Here is a song called ‘Buldoza’ -written by her father- from the album with the same title released in 1993 on Tusk Records (QBH 1167). Mesmerizing vocals and some great guitar playing.
spring has finally arrived here in Holland and the whole world seems to change. The sweet smell of flowers in bloom, the soothing mild temperature, the right mood to select a fitting soundtrack. On my last South African record safari I was quite surprised to find this exceptionally rare LP, the vinyl is in quite good condition, but the cover is missing the front. Oh well, it is easier to find a raw diamond in the sands of Namibia then to locate a black Jazz album in South Africa.
The most surprising element came when I looked up this release on flatinternational and found out that my copy was released in 1974 on the UP UP UP label. The release on Atlantic City dates from 1979 so I guess this must be the very first pressing unless some whizkidd proves me wrong.
CHRIS SCHILDER QUINTET FEATURING MANKUNKU
1.2 Before the Rain and After
1.3 Look Up
2.4 The Birds
2.5 You Don’t Know What Love Is
(Raye, De Paul)
Reissued on CD by Gallo Record Company in 2007. The CD features Mankunku’s first two albums and is titled Yakhal’ Inkomo after his first record became South Africa’s best selling jazz record of all time. Spring is Mankunku’s second and it’s scarcity can be attributed to a fire at the EMI factory which destroyed the original master tapes.
Edi Niederlander is one of South Africa’s most respected and enduring artists. Her bluesy voice and superb playing of the acoustic and electric guitars made her reputation as an outstanding performer.
Edi’s first two albums -‘Ancient Dust’ (1985) and ‘Hear No Evil’ (1989) – are well known, admired, and a little rare. Some biographies start her career in the year 1985 but the following record that I post here today shows other dates, Edi Niederlander’s first recording was released as early as 1973.
Edi Niederlander -Brother John (1973)
Edi Niederlander -Dust Of Africa (1973)
Imagine Edi singing live to a receptive crowd of lovers of folk music back then. The place: Humerail Hall in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. The dates: 11th and 12th of May 1973. The FOLK ’73 festival was organised by the Four Winds Music Club and the crowd came from afar. Colourful alternative ‘free’ minds gathered to hear the finest crop of local South African white folk music. That year Edi Niederlander made her debut at the festival. The succes of the yearly gathering and the quality of the line-up guaranteed a successive series of events. Private vinyl pressings of the live recordings during the festival were released in limited editions of 500 copies, only in South Africa. Some included a handwritten info sheet. Rare and obscure records that are highly collectible nowadays. Hear the announcement by the MC at the introduction of the 1974 festival, the record has just been released and five copies are for sale!
FOLK 74 Introduction FESTIVAL
At the time of her performance Edi played an acoustic guitar and sang songs of strong political conviction as well as lyrics highlighting feminist issues.
The song ‘Ancient Dust of Africa’ became a ‘hit’ for Edi after being featured as a title theme for the film based on the Percy Fitzpatrick novel, ‘Jock of the Bushveld’.
After laying low for the whole of the ’90’s ‘ Edi released ‘Dreamland’, a joyful, jazz-flecked and diverse collection of Niederlander originals and a compelling, eclectic and consistently entertaining piece of work.
FOLK ’73 live @ 4 Winds Folk Club May 1974 S.AFRICA Bootleg Records -private pressing- BLP 103/104, South Africa 1973
includes ‘Brother Folk’ by Edi Niederlander -credited as Edi Nederlander
FOLK ’76 live @ 4 Winds Folk Club May 1974 S.AFRICA Bootleg Records -private pressing- BLP 103/104, South Africa 1976