GROUNDBREAKING SOUTH AFRICAN MUSICAL ‘KING KONG’ TO DEBUT ON CD‘King Kong’ – Original London Cast Recording to be released on September 28th 2018
Stage Door Records is pleased to announce the debut CD release of ‘King Kong’, the groundbreaking South African Jazz Musical. The Original 1961 London Cast Album of ‘King Kong’ will be released on September 28th 2018.
‘King Kong’ was a pioneering South African musical which portrayed the life and times of the heavyweight boxer, Ezekiel Dlamini, known as “King Kong”. Born in 1921, after a meteoric boxing rise, his life degenerated into drunkenness and gang violence. He knifed his girlfriend, asked for the death sentence during his trial and instead was sentenced to 14 years hard labour. He was found drowned in 1957 and it was believed his death was suicide. He was 36. Billed as a ‘Jazz-Opera’, ‘King Kong’ featured music by Todd Matshikiza and lyrics by Pat Williams. The production was first staged at Johannesburg’s Witwatersrand University Great Hall, opening on February 2nd 1959 and went on to take South Africa by storm.Nelson Mandela attended the opening night and is on record as highlighting the show as his favourite musical. The original South African production starred Nathan Mdledle, Ruth Nkonyane, Dan Poho and Miriam Makeba, helping launch Makeba’s international singing career.
West End theatre impresario Jack Hylton was determined to bring the ground breaking South African musical to London, insisting that as many of the original cast members as possible transfer with the production. ‘King Kong’ subsequently opened at London’s Princes Theatre on February 23rd 1961 and ran for 201 performances. Critics praised ‘King Kong’ for its inventive staging, stand out performances and vibrant score.
In more recent times, ‘King Kong’ has been recognised for the pioneering role the production played in breaking down racial barriers, defying the colour bar and uniting black and white South Africans at the height of the apartheid era. In 2017 the musical was profiled by BBC Radio 3 and later revived in South Africa by the Fugard Theatre Company.
Stage Door Records are pleased to debut the Original London 1961 Cast recording of ‘King Kong’ on CD. The recording is complemented with selections from the Original 1959 South African Cast recording, including many songs that were subsequently cut from the London production. The CD concludes with a handful of bonus tracks including pop covers of ‘Back Of The Moon’ and ‘The Earth Turns Over’ by Elaine Delmar and a jazz instrumental of the show’s title song by Terry Lightfoot’s New Orleans Jazzmen.
‘KING KONG’ – ORIGINAL LONDON CAST RECORDING (STEREO)
1. SAD TIMES, BAD TIMES – Company
2. MARVELLOUS MUSCLES – Nathan Mdledle, Company
3. KING KONG – Nathan Mdledle, Company
4. KWELA KONG – Orchestra
5. BACK OF THE MOON – Peggy Phango
6. THE EARTH TURNS OVER – Sophie Mgcina
7. DAMN HIM! – Joseph Mogotsi
8. GUMBOOT DANCE – Company
9. KING KING – Company
10. BE SMART, BE WISE – Ben Masinga, Sophie Mgcina, Lemmy “Special” Mabaso
11. CRAZY KID – Lemmy “Special” Mabaso And The Alexander Junior Bright Boys
12. TSHOTSHOLOSA – ROAD SONG – Company
13. QUICKLY IN LOVE – Nathan Mdledle, Peggy Phango, Stephen Moloi, Ben Masinga, Patience Gcowabe
14. IN THE QUEUE – Company
15. IT’S A WEDDING – Company
16. WEDDING HYMN – Company
17. DEATH SONG – Nathan Mdledle
18. KING KING (Reprise) – Company
19. SAD TIMES, BAD TIMES (Finale) – Orchestra
‘KING KONG’ – ORIGINAL SOUTH AFRICAN CAST RECORDING
20. SAD TIMES, BAD TIMES – Company
21. MARVELLOUS MUSCLES – Nathan Mdledle, Company
22. KING KONG – Nathan Mdledle, Company
23. BACK OF THE MOON – Miriam Makeba
24. PETAL’S SONG (THE EARTH TURNS OVER) – Ruth Nkonyane
25. DAMN HIM! – Joseph Mogotsi
26. STRANGE THINGS HAPPEN – Ruth Nkonyane, Joseph Mogotsi
27. BETTER THAN NEW – Nathan Mdledle, Company
28. MAD – Dan Poho, Company
29. QUICKLY IN LOVE – Miriam Makeba
30. IT’S A WEDDING (Original South African Cast Recording) – Company
31. BACK OF THE MOON – Elaine Delmar
32. THE EARTH TURNS OVER – Elaine Delmar
33. KING KONG – Terry Lightfoot’s New Orleans Jazzmen
For more information visit: http://www.stagedoorrecords.com/stage9057.html
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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
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
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
180 grams vinyl, CD
A limited amount of ‘Township Jive & Kwela Jazz (1960-1965) volume 3’ in both LP -180 grams vinyl and deluxe CD formats -is now available for readers of this blog exclusively.
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PayPal account required. Volume 1 and 2 also available.
So here it is! Soul Safari is proud to announce the release of our third compilation in collaboration with the International Library of African Music (ILAM), Grahamstown, South Africa.
16 rare gems of Township Jive & Kwela Jazz from South Africa recorded between 1960-1965.
Official date of release; October 31st 2014
180 grams vinyl LP -Catalog nr. UP 2014.006LP
CD -Catalog nr. UP 2014.006CD
Soul Safari started as a blog to showcase the music of Africa with a strong emphasis on South Africa. Now in its 6th year, Soul Safari is proud to present the third volume of the compilation ‘Township Jive & Kwela Jazz’, a collection of rare gems originally released as shellac 78’s in the period 1960-1965 in South Africa.
On this third volume the selection features the gorgeous close harmony vocal groups singing in the tradition of American R & B and doo wop. But always with that typical South African swing and sung in the Zulu or Xhosa languages. DJ Eddy de Clercq who initiated this compilation in close collaboration with ILAM, also selected a few tunes that stand for the transition from early jive to mbanqaga, a most democratic vocal style characterized by the typical ‘groaning’, a form of call and answer between the male leader (groaner) and female singers. Mbanqaga would follow up jive as the popular vocal music from 1965 onwards.
Kwela jazz knew many variations in which the original instrument, the penny whistle was traded in for accordion, violin, even a melodica, an instrument that also became widely popular in Jamaica. Similarities with uptempo ska can be heard in tunes by Kid Ma Wrong Wrong and Bra Sello featured on this compilation. Again an exciting selection of rare recordings from the heyday of South African Jive & Kwela. Truly music treasures from a long gone past.
All recordings were prepared and mastered from the original 78rpm shellac discs from the ILAM archives. The goal was to clear the dust and dirt of ages gone by, while preserving the original dynamics of the recordings and to keep the sound as little altered as possible.
Soul Safari presents Township Jive & Kwela Jazz (1960-1965)-Volume 3
This compilation ℗ + © 2014 Ubuntu Publishing. All rights reserved
Marketed by Ubuntu Publishing. Distributed by Rush Hour-Amsterdam, Nieuwe Zijdsvoorburgwal 130 B, 1012ST Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Check out our other releases
Township Jive & Kwela Jazz Volume 1(1940-1960)
Township Jive & Kwela Jazz Volume 2
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
after 60 years in showbiz, music veteran Dorothy Masuka still has no plans to retire. For the singer retirement doesn’t exist in her vocabulary, music is in her soul.
She explains; “I’ve always respected my profession as well as myself as an African woman. When I was younger the world was a different place. Music was like great wine -the more mature, the better. These days, with technology and media, things happen faster for the youngsters. I am glad I have crafted a legacy for the young generation that will be left behind when I pass on,” she says laughing.
“Young people must keep on singing indigenous African music because that’s what the world is looking for. And they must keep on composing beautiful new tunes.”
To celebrate her musical output during her long career Gallo Records just released Dorothy Masuka’s ‘Ultimate Collection’ on CD/DVD.
Label: GRC – Product code: CDGMP 41062. Available from May 2013
Dorothy Masuka – ‘Ultimate Collection’
1. Hamba Nontsokolo
3. Into Yam
5. Suka Lapha
6. Handsome Guy
10. Hapo Zamani
18. Sofa Silahlale
1. Hapo Zamani
7. Ei Yow
8. Suka Lapha
10. Into Yam
11. Yombela Yombela
12. Sofa Silahlale
source; Sowethan + ‘Mama Dorothy’ by Richard Galler, Sawubona travel magazine South African Airlines May 2013
See also previous posts
following Dolly Rathebe’s film career,her fame as a singer increased. Before there was Miriam Makeba, Dolly was the lead singer of the Manhattan Brothers and she recorded her first tunes with them.
She says: “It was a hectic time because I also worked with the Harlem Swingsters and toured with the African Jazz and Variety Show.”
At that time, Dolly was under contract with Alfred Herbert, a creative organiser who arranged many concerts and who was a driving force behind the popularization of South African jazz. It was Herbert from whom Dolly Rathebe learned the tricks of the trade. She became the star of the show because of her silky singing and good looks. Her legs were considered so beautiful that a metaphor was coined for them. ‘It’s dolly’ meant ‘it’s wonderful’ and was an abbreviation of the Afrikaans ‘s’Dolly se boude’ (it’s Dolly’s tights).
At the start of the 50’s, Herbert had an extensive series of jazz concerts arranged as the African Jazz Parade, a series of numerous performances and concerts, ending years later in Kenya as the African Jazz and Variety Show. During this period that show became somewhat of an institution inSouth Africa. The theatres of Johannesburg were sold out and the show went on tour around other main cities of South Africa and across the African continent.
The musicians all travelled by train and formed bonds and friendships during those long tours away from home. Inspired by the successful Jazz Train in the United States, a special tour to Durban was organized. The most important musicians of the South African jazz scene from that era were onboard this train. On a Wednesday morning in June 1955 the Jazz Train left Johannesburg, full of fans, musicians and groupies, on their way to Durban.
- Dolly Rathebe posing for an ad for Max cigarettes in 1951.
Photographer Jurgen Schadeberg. “I took this photo in theWerner studios in Johannesburg to promote a cigarette brand. It was one of the first images of black people who were used for commercial advertising.”
- Dolly Rathebe on the beach 1952. Photographer Jurgen Schadeberg.
Excerpt and photographs from the book
‘Familieverhalen uit Zuid Afrika, een groepsportret’ by Paul Faber
KIT Publishers, Amsterdam and Kwela Books Cape Town 2002.
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 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.