Sikalo: Sixties South Africa Jazz and Gospel Musicals
Another synchronous find from my recent ‘sleeveless’ dig: Gibson Kente’s successful and trend-setting 1966 musical Sikalo – deliciously laced with jazz and gospel dished up by the likes of Margaret M'cingana (Singana) and saxophonist Henry Sithole. My joy in finding these records was only slightly tempered by them being without covers which might have told us a little more.
UPDATE: Thanks Siemon for the covers:
Kente (1932 – 2004) is remembered as the father of South Africa’s Black Theatre. In the 1950s he was a talent scout for the Gallo music company. Inspired by King Kong, he founded a theater business in the early 1960s His first play was Manana, the Jazz Prophet (1963). The second, shared here today in two different versions, changed the course of black South African theatre. The music from Sikalo became highly popular and the play set the standard for the basic formula for township musicals.
Kente is credited with training more than 400 artists and producing 30 plays and three television dramas before his death from Aids in 2003. Read more on Kente here:
Two versions of this musical emerged in 1967 as the white-run Union Artists South Africa that were part-financing the musical decided that Director Kente be replaced by Marshall Mosia. Kente went his own way and toured with his own more successful version of the musical. Both versions were released on one CD, but are now long out of print. Herewith the original LPs.