Monday, 14 February 2011

Kwela (c1958)


This fantastic compilation of South African kwela tracks (pressed in Argentina on the RCA Vik label) was probably issued around 1958. Half the album’s tracks feature the Alexandra Dead End Kids who also performed with American clarinetist Tony Scott when he toured South Africa in August 1957. On that occasion the Dead End Kids included Shakes Molepo, Benjamin Masindi, Joseph Mahlatsi and Sophonia Namini. View the Tony Scott in South Africa LP at flatinternational.

The Kwela album also includes some really early flute work by a young Barney Rachabane, a giant of South African jazz. Within a few years of these recordings, Rachabane would be performing with Chris McGregor’s Castle Lager Big Band in 1963 and the Early Mabuza Quartet at the 1964 Castle Lager Jazz Festival. View his album Special Ma-Ma (1975) posted by Dabulamanzi and Sweet Matara (1976) posted by Fortherecord. A partial discography for Barney Rachabane can be viewed at flatinternational.

It is difficult to date the recordings on the Kwela LP, but I am guessing that they were made around the same period as the Tony Scott recordings in 1957. I have tried to translate the group names from the Spanish on the labels, however if you know them to be different please let us know. Also please feel free to send us a translation of the Spanish liner notes.

KWELA (c1958)
VIK, RCA Victor, Argentina
LZ 1026

1. LESLIE NKOSI AND THE ALEXANDRA DEAD END KIDS - Baleka
2. CALVIN MOHALE AND THE SHARP SHOOT BOYS - Magic Blues
3. THE ALEXANDRA DEAD END KIDS – Mavava
4. LESLIE NKOSI - Baza-Baza
5. THE ALEXANDRA DEAD END KIDS - Well! A Kwela
6. BARNEY RACHABANE AND THE ALEXANDRA JUNIOR STARS - Little Man Special
7. CALVIN MOHALE AND THE SHARP SHOOT BOYS - Calvin Special
8. LESLIE NKOSI AND THE ALEXANDRA DEAD END KIDS - Leslie's Rock
9. THE ALEXANDRA DEAD END KIDS - Tom Cat
10. THE ALEXANDRA DEAD END KIDS - Five O'clock Kwela
11. BUSH FLUTE BOYS - Sugar Special
12. BARNEY RACHABANE AND THE ALEXANDRA JUNIOR STARS - Piccannini


9 comments:

  1. Oh, man... where else are we going to get stuff like this! I love the old S African music, and I'm so excited to hear this. Downloading now, thanking you before it's finished...

    ReplyDelete
  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for this! Unearthly and swinging, which is a fine combination.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks flatint for the share, and thanks for the pennywhistle music from your collection shared earlier on this blog.

    ReplyDelete
  5. O please where can I download this!!

    ReplyDelete
  6. i would also love to listen to this album.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Good afternoon ElectricJive team! David from Madrid.
    I have translated, as far as I could, those liner notes from spanish to english. It's not the best translation i guess but i think it can help others to understand it.
    Between parenthesis and / characters i used my own words to explain some details. Check and fix all text if you want to clear it finally to post it.
    Sorry if there are mistakes. :)

    In front cover it says:
    'Dance (a noun, like dance party, not a verb form) to the suggestive beat of the Kwela'
    'The african quena which makes shake to the world'

    Liner notes in back cover:

    Says ('reza' is a word from 'rezar' verb, means to pray, but it is used in many colloquial expressions and in literature, best translation is 'says' or 'reads' here) an old Greek proverb that "from Africa always arises/comes something new".
    We could expand it and say that from old (ways/things) always comes/arises something (other) new.
    The quena (a type of flute called quina in quechua languaje of the central Andes) is one of the first wind instruments used by man to give voice to the music sprouting from his being, when he tried to shape the sounds of nature heared around, to the concerns/restlessness of his indigenous soul , to the feelings of his heart.
    Today kwela arises/emerges from Africa with a new sound in the modern world .
    This quenita (little quena, -ita, -ito is used to mean 'little' same as 'chico turns into chiquito', boy turns into little boy) has been associated with a rhythmic accompaniment to produce a dance beat that is truly sensational and that is doing expectation/raging (attracting attention) all around the world/worldwide.
    Its fundamental simplicity and repetition of melody and rhythm, perfectly adapted to modern jazz, are major/preponderant factors in the attraction that kwela exert on all (people).
    Indeed/for real, something new, something different, something sensational, has emerged from Africa!

    jejej i'm so rusty with english today!!
    Big hug to all of you.

    David

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mega thanks David!!! This translation is super helpful. If you don't mind I would like to add the text to my flatinternational website when I get a chance? Keep surfing EJ! All my best! Siemon

      Delete
  8. Sure Siemon. Any help I can do it, with pleasure i will.
    Fix the text on the right way to do more comprehensive an easy to your readers (here one of those).
    Last comment about it;
    Dance can be used like a noun (sustantive) in the context of 'dance' (party), but it can be used like a form verb yet, that way:

    'dance (you) to the suggestive beat...'

    In spanish, overall in central and south America countries, they says 'Baile (usted)...'
    'Usted' is a way of treatment between people in those countries, and in Spain is used but only when we refer to old people or people who we must a high respect to.
    Usually we use 'tĂș' (you) to refer with others, but some people here use 'usted' (in english 'you' too) in some cases.
    So context here is in the air, a reader can understand one or other meaning.

    Thanks to you again and all EJ team for your efforts and excellent music which you post usually-
    Long live Electric Jive!!

    David

    ReplyDelete

Electric Jive is currently receiving a deluge of spam. Apologies for the additional word verification requirement.