Saturday, 20 November 2010
The Best Laid Plans of Saul Malapane
An absolutely incredible album from Saul Malapane and I suspect members of the seminal mid 70s jazz group The Drive (more from them soon!). Just three long tracks that Saul was asked to compose by John Higgins, the producer and director of the 1975 stage production of Of Mice and Men.
Saul Malapane was born in Warmbaths in 1943 and moved to Johannesburg in 1965 to earn a living. He worked as a gardener and did occasional house painting for extra income. One employer gave him a guitar as a Christmas present and encouraged him to take up music. He took some lessons with Gilbert Stroud and joined the group The Drive, who used Stroud's premises to practice.
The stage show in Johannesburg caused a stir in the newspapers and internationally as the black actor Ken Gampu had to be given permission by the department of Bantu Administration to appear on stage with white actors. "For the first time, the black man was on an equal footing with the white man," he told an interviewer. "And you know, the heavens didn't fall."
Saul was also responsible for the killer track Here We Come on Rough Trade's Soweto LP