Last year we posted a compilation — Maskanda Roots — of early material that examined various aspects of the Zulu guitar tradition. One of my favorite tunes from that compilation was Herman Magwaza's New Look Thanagan which came from a 10" vinyl pressing issued in 1951 titled Zulu Music and Songs (London, LPB 431).
The album, which was issued in the UK, the US (on Decca) and perhaps South Africa, was probably one of the first vinyl issues to feature black South African music worldwide.
Recently, I came across the 78 rpm version of Magwaza's New Look Thanagan (Gallotone, GE 1031) as well as another earlier disc by him (Gallotone Singer, GE 936) and could not resist sharing the four tunes here.
Recorded by Hugh Tracey somewhere between 1944 and 1948 the four tracks capture some brilliant guitar work by Magwaza. Referred to as "guitar dance," the music reveals influences of marabi, boeremusiek and perhaps elements of blues or even bluegrass. Hamba Carolina ("Go Carolina") may refer to a woman or the region in the US.
HERMAN MAGWAZA'S GUITAR BAND (GE 936)
2) Hamba Carolina
HERMAN MAGWAZA AND CALEB CHAMANE SONGS (GE 1031)
3) New Look Thanagan