Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Usathane Usifikile!: EJ Durban Office Party 2016

Oh believers gather around and start praying, for the devil has arrived!” Joseph Kumalo is not alone in blaming the devil for ‘changes’ he is not happy with. For Kumalo, South African cities in the early 1960s were dens of iniquity corrupting the traditions and values of rural folk. Drinking, smoking marijuana, gambling, fighting were the work of the devil.

We have all encountered a few “devils” of our own this year, and I thought it a good time to dig through my ‘new finds’ for a year-end Office Party shake-out. Welcome to a bumper edition of the Electric Jive 2016 Durban Office Party. Sadly, unexpected changes to my work-travel commitments prevent me from actually spinning these discs, as planned, at the Electric Jive Office Party at Khaya Records on Friday 9th December. A party of one sort or another is still happening though. "Familiar Favourite" (Mxolisi Makubho) and Hotdog Fingarz of Fly Machine Sessions are keeping their part of the bargain and will be coming through from Johannesburg with some great tunes on vinyl. Make a note: Khaya Records, Durban – Friday evening 9th December. I will leave a gift for the first thirty or so people who make it through the door. Thanks to Vusi of The Fly Machine Sessions for the graphic at the top of this post!

So, herewith two hours of what I would have played, if I could have. First up is a one-hour trip that sets off from the countryside with guitar and vocal commentary from the late 1950s, early 60s, building up via violin jive through Zulu blues, to early rock and roll. Victor Ndlazilwana (later of Jazz Ministers fame) is credited with writing and playing on “Please do it oh Baby”, a song that would not have been out of place on an Elvis album from that time.

The merriment builds, morphing from rock-influenced marabi jive through to big-band ska from the likes of Orlando Jazz Combo. Have a listen to Chris McGregor and the Blue Notes playing Dudu Pukwana’s “Ndiyeke Mra” and check out the strong ska influence! Likewise, Africa’s Hot Ten (including Kippie Moeketsi and other jazz luminaries) showcase the deep well of great talent and technical dedication from the time.

The mix changes direction, revisiting some great brass-driven marabi jive tracks from the likes of “The New Havana Orchestra, The Shakers, and the The Kwa Mashu Swingsters”. We warm down with the sweet vocals of the “Dark City Sisters” and end as we began, artists referencing “Inhliziyo Yam” (my disposition, or mood). Whereas Job Ndlangalala starts this set with a hauntingly beautiful  guitar track telling of the circumstances that were ‘killing’ his mood, The Shakers end-off with an upbeat simple finale.

So – if you feel the need to cleanse, purge, indulge, exorcise, dance, this mix can help. The 78rpm recordings are being shared as a single mix-tape. Sorry, no separated tracks on this one.

I wish all visitors to Electric Jive happy holidays, and a much, much better 2017!

1.     The Play Singer: Hambabamfana. (Job Ndlangalala) Columbia YE208.
2.     The Play Singer: U Ngi Cebe E Poisen. (Job Ndlangalala) Columbia YE129.
3.     Joseph Khumalo: Usathani Sefikile. (Joseph Khumalo) Quality TJ.855.
4.     Nongomo Trio: Zulu Violin Special. (Nongomo Trio) Columbia YE.333.
5.     Gumede's Happy Violin: Thatha Jou (J. Gumede) Gallotone Jive GB.3212.
6.     Stanley Caluza: Sengimtholile. (Stanley Caluza) Columbia YE392.
7.     Daisy Newman: Abafana. (Daisy Newman) Winner OK.051.
8.     Cooper & The Black Be-Bop Sisters: Ebusuku Nemini (Theodora Ngcongo) Winner OK.114.
9.     Merebank Youngsters: Ngiyazisola (Merebank Youngsters) Columbia YE.85.
10.  The Bogard Brothers: Che Boogie Here. (L. Motau) His Master's Voice JP.750.
11.  Big Rock Chaka: Please Do It Oh Baby (Victor Ndlazilwana). Tropik DC.751.
12.  Almon's Jazz Kings: Uyidoda (Almon Memela) Gallo USA USA280.
13.  Orlando Jazz Combo: Imbasha (Percy Gumbi) Gallo USA USA304.
14.  Chris McGregor & His Blue Notes: Ndiyeke Mra (Dudu Phukwana) Winner OK.125.
15.  Africa's Hot Ten: Club 600 (E. Williams) Winner OK.001.
16.  Christopher and his Home Swingsters: T. Time Ska (Chris Songxaka) Gallo New Sound GB3581.
17.  Sofasonke Swingsters: Umlahla (Edmund Piliso) His Master's Voice JP.857.
18.  Cooper & The Black Be-Bop Sisters: Vat en Sit (Gloria Malete) Winner OK.114.
19.  Zee Zee Jazz Appointment: Jazz Palace (Rupert Bopape) His Master's Voice JP.741.
20.  The New Havana Orchestra: City Phata (Ngubane) Troubadour AFC.605.
21.  The Shakers: Shake Shake No. 1 (Busi) Troubadour AFC.643
22.  Kwa Mashu Swingsters: Siyanda (Roland Mqwebu) RCA.250.
23.  The City Dazzlers: Ngenye Mini (The City Dazzlers) HIT.120.
24.  The Dark City Sisters: Tap Tap Ntshebe (Zeph Nkabinde, Michael Xaba, Rupert Bopape, Elijah Nkwanyane) His Master's Voice JP.700.
25.  The Shakers: Intlyizo Yam.(Busi) Troubadour AFC.643.

The second one-hour set is drawn from 45rpm, most of which found their way to my drawers this year. Seventies South African soul, funk, pop, jazz and then some mbaqanga to round it all off.

1. The V.I.P.sMaxie's Mood. (M. Kubekha, I. Twala). Love Love LVB220.
2. The Anchors: Friends In Soul. (The Anchors). CYB69. (1969).
3. The Inn Lawes: Peter and Zacks Special (Peter Morake, Zacks Kgasapane) CBS AB 326.
4. S. Piliso & His Super Seven: Papa Was A Rolling Stone (Whitfield and Strong) FGB625 (1973).
5. Cool Cats: Wilderness (Gilbert Matthews, G. Sabela) Soweto SWB 4 (1973).
6.  The Special Sounds:  Mngani (Rupert Bopape and Shadrach Piliso) Soul Jazz Pop SOJ 2 (1974),
7. Cool Cats:  See You Later (P. Nkosi, B. Kgasoane) Soweto SWB 4 (1973).
8. The Black Pages: There Goes (N. Makua, E. Kheswa, G. Molefi). Soul Jazz Pop SOJ 140 (1977).
9. S. Piliso & His Super Seven: Umgababa (Edmund Piliso & Themba Dlamini) FGB625 (1973).
10. Bops and Son: Chicken Soul (D. Mchunu) MJW Records MJW.107 (1976).
11. Inthuthuko Brothers: Soweto Disco (S. Jibiliza)Black Cherry BCS110 1978.
12. Shumi: Gideon, Early & McKay (Holler/Arr: Masingi) BUA8803 (1974).
13. Jazz Disciples: Tete’s Jump (Tete Mbambisa) HMV JP887 (1967).
14. Rift Valley Brothers: Mutirima Waka (Lawrence Nduku) Mercury MER11.
15. Abafana Bentuthuko: Double Line (Hansford Mthembu) AB666.
16. John Mkhabela and the Fire Wizards: Umdidyelo (J Nhlapo) GGB456 (1971).
17. The Play Boys:  Cross Road (D. Mokoka - M. Maliehe) JP1338 (1973).
18. Izintombi Zomoya: Oseke Walla (Rupert Bopape and Irene Mawela) Motella MO 522 (1974).
19. Abafana Besi Manje Manje: Bathini Nzimande (Hamilton Nzimande) HVN NZ.68 (1974).
20. Johanes Lenkoe with the Suger Suger Boys: NU 3 (Johannes Lenkoe) Six Mabone SMB 728 (1975).
21. Makhona Zonke Band: Durban Road. (
22. The Creations:  Wild Man in the City (Manu Dibango) PD 1270 (1976).

Download links:
78rpm mix-tape here
45rpm mix-tape here
45rpm separated tracks here

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Slow Sunday Congo Singles Special

A sultry, slow and unhurried Sunday morning selection from the ASL drawers. Earlyish Congo Rumba, all except the last was pressed and sold in Kenya. A while back in this blog there was a great response to three posts of ASL Congo singles (here, here, and here) so, this next instalment is long overdue. This time with some focus on a deep breath (it does that for me anyway) before the year-end madness.The mixtape version is for my own comfort during some upcoming travel time I have to put in. Separated tracks are also provided.

 In my September 2012 ASL Singles post I gave an outline of South African interests, particularly the Gallo Record Company’s interests in establishing ASL.

Gallo Nairobi was established in the early 1950s. Following Kenya’s independence in 1963 visible South African ownership of the company became a problem, so Associated Sounds (East Africa) Pty Ltd (ASL) was set up as a dummy company by Gallo in the United Kingdom. ASL had their own Kenyan pressing plant.

ASL certainly released a huge amount of Congolese and East African inspired Rumba and Soukous in the 70s and 80s, with the tracks easily stretching to five minutes each on the micro-groove format.

Enjoy your Sunday morning, or late night, whenever you feel like being soothed.

1. L'Orchestre African Fiesta: Chantal Komonela Ngai (Test Pressing ASL 1870)
2. Chantal & L’Orchestre African Fiesta: Doris (ASL 7-1845)
3. Dr Nico & L’Orchestre African Fiesta: Okosuka Wapi (ASL 7-1924)
4. Sylis & L’Orchestre Baby National: Luntala (ASL 7-1012)
5. Vicky & L’Orchestre Les Hi-Fives: Sijakuacha (ASL 7-102)
6. Vicky & L'Orchestre O.K. Jazz: Dodo Tuna Motema (ASL 7-3090)
7. Vicky & L'Orchestre O.K. Jazz: Monoko Oyo Ezali Na Ngai (ASL 7-3090)
8. Youlou & L’Orchestre O.K. Jazz: Bolingo Nouveate (ASL 7– 3159)
9. Verckys & L'Orchestre Veve: Ah Ngai Matinda (ASL 7-3174)
10. Baba National (Baba Gaston): Noel Nakalemi (ASL 7-151)
11. Orch Mptete Wa Mpete: Bonne Na Noel Pts 1 & 2 (ASL 4375)
12. Orchestre Afrisa: Mbote Ya Kinvwanga Pts 1 & 2 (African 91 620)

Mixtape download link here
Separate tracks link here

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Nairobi Rumba Singles Splash

One comfort in an otherwise unsettling year has been my own luck in finding some great second-hand records – 78rpm, 45rpm and LPs. I had the good fortune of visiting Nairobi three times this year, and meeting a long-time Congo-Kenya Rhumba collector who no longer wanted to keep his vinyl collection, he wanted this music in digital format. So, come the summer holiday break I will be spending some time keeping my promise to him. Before I share with you my start on that project, I must mention two great compilations of Kenyan music that have this year been released world-wide. The sound reproduction on both compilations is really excellent. My personal favourite is “Urgent Jumping: East African Musiki Wa Dansi Classics” which features 27 tracks spanning close on two and a half hours of music from Kenyan, Tanzanian and Congolese bands that plied their trade across the region over the period 1972 - 1982.

 “Kenya Special Volume 2” follows the successful release by Soundway Records of volume one in 2013. This compilation offers 20 tracks (90 minutes) sampling a wider variety of Kenyan music in the 1970s and 1980s.

 Soundway reckon that the resurgence of interest in African music from the 1960s to the 1980s is boosted by a curious new generation of music lovers: “The approach to musical rediscovery that is behind Kenya Special has its origins in a youthful movement of vinyl collecting (and to some extent club culture), which has, in the past decade and a half, carved out its own niche alongside the established music industry.”

“Despite the renewed interest in music from Kenya’s past, finding these tracks and their rights holders hasn’t become any easier. Only a handful of music archives around the world harbour collections of Kenyan music, and just a few private collectors in Kenya and abroad have been sharing catalogue info online or privately. One of the problems with East African music of this era is that much of it was originally released only on 45 rpm, seven-inch vinyl singles, many of which were only ever produced in tiny runs of a few hundred. 45s with their thin, paper sleeves do not age as well as LPs and are often far more susceptible to the elements. The compilers of Kenya Special 2 have gone to great lengths to disclose a small part of what is slowly being accepted as an essential element of East Africa’s cultural heritage: the history of recorded popular music.”

So, herewith a rather random sampling from the pile of 45rpms that Henry sold me. Do leave a comment if you would like more of the same.

1. Orch Bana Likasi: Lena Pts 1 & 2 (Kanema)
Outstanding vocalist Lovy Mokolo Longomba was the son of Vicky Longomba, a founding member of OK Jazz. The Muzikifan website (well worth a visit) tells us that Longomba moved to Nairobi in August 1978 and went through a string of bands, from Les Kinois, through Boma Liwanza, to Orch Shika Shika. He then formed the band Super Lovy in May 1981. Bana Likasi was the same band as Super Lovy, but was so named to avoid a contractual conflict. Longomba died in 1996 in a car crash in Tanzania.

2. Orch. Les Jaca: Sikia Pts 1 & 2 (Ligbutu)
This from the Muzikifan website: “Les Jaca was created by Lovy (Longomba) when he decided to leave Super Mazembe in 1981. He went into the studio with Siama, Tabu Frantal, Mandefu, Roy Mosanda and other friends, but the attempt bore no fruit, so Lovy remained with Super Mazembe.”

3. L'Orch Baba National: Vituko Vya Mama Mkwe Pts 1 & 2 (Baba Gaston)
One of the first Congolese musicians to settle in East Africa (in 1971), first in Dar Es Salam, and then in 1976 in Nairobi. Some reports indicate that Baba Gaston was not the easiest band leader to work with, and in July 1976 most his band walked out on him to form their own band, the highly successful Les Mangalepa. Baba Gaston remained a super star in Nairobi until his retirement in 1989.

4. Orch Les Wanyika: Nisaidie Baba Pts 1 & 2 (D.J. Ngereza) 1980.
An offshoot of Simba Wanyika formed by a group of Kenyan and Tanzanian musicians left the band to form Les Wanyika. Famous for classic Swahili rumba hit hits like Sina Makossa, Paulina and Pamela (these singles were even sold in South Africa at the time). Band leader and guitarist John Ngereza composed this song. In 2010, ten years after Ngereza died, four surviving members put aside their differences and re-grouped and started playing again. You can read about the reunion of Rashid Juma, Alfani Tommy Malanga, Sijali Zuwa ‘Usikajali’ and Joseph Justy ‘Yellow Man’ here.

5. Les Volcano: Hakuna Dawa Ya Mapenzi Pts 1 & 2 (Charles Ray Kasembe)

6. Orch Les Volcano: Tumonye Mwanangu Pts 1 & 2 (Charles Ray Kasembe)

Another off-shoot band though the details are not as clear. – this time from Super Volcano. Some sources say that Les Volcano were co-founded by Charles Ray Kasembe and Mohamed Mazingazinga in 1976. Info on the Kentanza site suggests that Les Volcano came about following the death of Mbaraka Mwinishe (leader of Super Volcano) in 1979. Doug Paterson sees it the same way: " 
I don't think Les Volcano was a group until after the death of Mbaraka Mwinshehe.  I think Mbaraka started Super Volcano after leaving Morogoro Jazz (in about 1974?).  After Mbaraka died, Ray Charles Kasembe tried to keep a subset of Super Volcano members together under the name Les Volcanos.  I don't think this group existed prior to Mbaraka's death (I could be mistaken).  I never had the opportunity to see Super Volcano, though I went to the Kenya coast try to find them in 1975 (just missed them)." Thanks Doug.
7. Orch. Super Bwambe: Atikapo Pts 1 & 2
Muzikifan tells us that John Negereza of Les Wanyika was a member of this Congolese band that also included: George Kalombo Mwanza, sax; John Ngereza, guitar; Chou chou, vocals; Kayembe Nyonga, vocals; Luboya wa Tshiteyai; Matabu Kunyanga. With Thomy Lomboto, bass, and Kabeya Ilombo from Viva Makale.

8. Orchestre Matonge: Pesa Moselebende Pts 1 & 2 (Jean-Claude K)

Named after the musical heart of Congo Kinshasa, this was another of the bands that sold really well in Nairobi. I cannot find much info on this band, though Tim Clifford on the ever useful Kentanza Vinyl site says that the Kamanyola label is named “after an area in eastern DRC Congo close to the Rwandan border. The name featured heavily in Mobutu’s Zaire as in 1964 it was where the young army officer led troops in the capture of a rebel-held bridge. When he rose to power, he named the presidential yacht, an army division and Kinshasa’s sports stadium (now the Stade des Martyrs) after this victory. There is still a Boulevard Kamanyola in Lubumbashi. Appropriately enough, one of the roads leading off it is the Avenue des Chutes - Falls or Collapses Avenue.”
Download link here

Friday, 11 November 2016

Stereo Festival of East Africa: (1977)

Kenyan visitors to Electric Jive rank right up there up at number nine in this blog’s all-time per-country hits, just ahead of Colombia at number ten. Now feels like a good time to celebrate some more of what current-day Kenyans call the “golden oldies” – the Congo-Kenya confluence back in 1976.

This somewhat strange compilation LP features an A side with sound effects recordings, and the B side a selection of five great tracks  associated somehow with the “African Conference Nairobi January 1976.”

If you are interested in learning more about Kenya’s rich musical history, there are some great blogs and archives out there. For starters try some of these: Doug Patterson’s East African Music page; Alistair Johnson’s Muzikifan;  and Tim Clifford’s KenTanza Vinyl.
Enjoy!
1. Orchestre Simba Wanyika - Kijana Tushrikiane

2. Orchestre Super Volcano - Hasira Punguza

3. Orchestre Baba National - Kai Kai

4. Orchestre Mazembe - Nakokufa Pamba

5. Orchestre Apollo Komesha '71 - Mombasa Kuzuri
Download link: here

Saturday, 5 November 2016

A Tribute to Henry Sithole and Bunny Luthuli: The Drive (1977)

A special recording. Besides being comprised of some outstanding funk-fusion meets early disco numbers featuring Bheki Mseleku and the rest of this talented band, these are the last recordings with the core band intact, made only two weeks before Henry Sithole and Bunny Luthuli were killed in a car crash.

Plenty has been written on this blog and elsewhere on this fine band. If you use the "search" function in the right-hand column you will find links to much more info and earlier albums.

Before "The Drive", the Sithole brothers formed the brass core of the Heshoo Beshoo group. Luthuli played with Almon's Jazz 8. After The Drive, various members went on to form Sakhile, and also Spirits Rejoice. And of course, there is the stellar rise to international fame of Bheki Mseleku.

The liner notes tell us that The Drive were on the brink of an "overseas tour" breakthrough.

"Right at the peak of their dazzling career when plans were laid to take the group overseas to engagements that would pace the way for international success - a fatal car accident claimed the live of the two who had worked so hard to achieve this these goals. Bunny Luthuli was married only a few months before his death. Henry Sithole leaves a wife and four children."

"Join us in remembering these two outstanding musicians through their music in this recording - made only two short weeks before their tragic death."

Like a number of other Drive albums, there is no record of who the musicians were. When the band formed in 1971, Duke Makasi and Mike Makhalamele were early members. Kaya Mahlangu, Sipho Gumede and Jabu Nkosi also spent time as members. As far as I can make out though, from around 1975 through to 1977 the band was pretty stable member-wise. One album that does list and picture the band members is the 1975 album "Can You feel It?".  Based on this, my guess is as follows: The lead female vocalist featured is almost certainly Mavis Maseko.

Henry Sithole - Band leader: Alto Sax
Stanley Sithole - Tenor and baritone sax
David Sithole - Trumpet
Bunny Luthuli - Guitar
Bheki Mseleku - Synthesiser, hammond piano and electric organ
Nelson Magwaza - Drums, percussion and congas
Tony Sauli - bass

Discography
Slow Drive to Soweto (c1971, AYL 1009)
The Sky's The Limit (1975, RCL 1201)
Can You Feel It (1975, RCL 1202)
Drive Live (1975, RCL 1203)
Coming To The End of This (1976, RCL 1208)
Zone 6 (1976, RCL 1215)
A Tribute to Henry Sithole and Bunny Luthuli (1977, RCL 1216)
Lets Cool it (1980, BL271)

Tracks:
1. Mama We (Henry Sithole) 6.07
2. Sala Ngoxolo (Henry Sithole) 2.57
3. Let's Have a Ball (Bunny Luthuli) 8.36
4. Thando's Mood (Bunny Luthuli) 16.24

Download link here.

Saturday, 29 October 2016

The Jazz Clan: Dedication (1973)

 Another South African jazz rarity eventually makes an appearance. This is one of those albums where, in my searching I had found the cover, but could not find the vinyl or the music. So thank you Vusi for coming through with the audio!

Gordon Mfandu at Dorkay House. Pic by Ian Bruce Huntley
Producer Mothobi Mutloatse’s liner notes tell us that Gordon Micky Mfandu was the original leader of “The Clan”, founded as a sixteen-piece band by trombonist Reuben Boy Radise in 1970. This 1973 recording was made following the untimely murder of Mfandu outside his home in Pimville, Soweto. The last track written by Peter Segona and Dimpi Tshabalala is dedicated to Mfandu. Mfandu was also the drummer for the Soul Giants’ “I Remember Nick”, recorded in 1968. 

Segona (trumpet) and Tshabalala (piano) are responsible for penning five of the six tracks featured on this album.

From the liner notes: “According to the band, their music is no carbon copy of somebody’s. ‘We’re trying to be ourselves as much as possible’, they explained hurriedly as they did not want to be categorised as ‘just another township jazz band’ trying to emulate the Americans. 
The Jazz Clan. Pic by V. Ntuli
Here I must point out that it is the Americans who have to learn from us about African rhythms. I mean there are so many Black American groups nowadays which are claiming to be playing Afro-jazz. To my mind, the Clan can teach them a thing or two! That’s African pride for you”.

Reuben Boy Radise (leader, trombone); Peter Segona (trumpet), Dimpi Tshabalala (piano) Jeff Mpete (drums), Sipho Mabaso (tenor sax), Mongezi Velelo (bass), Corney Kumalo (barritone sax).

Recorded in May and June of 1973. Published  on 10th December 1973.
Cover photo: Mike Mzileni
Back cover photo: V. Ntuli
Engineers: Peter Thwaites and Peter Ceronia.
 Download link here

Friday, 14 October 2016

Cassette Recovery - Top Shungu Hits


In the early 1980s, soon after Zimbabwe's independence and the floushing of the local music scene, it wasn't easy to get hold of vinyl from Zimbabwe. You had to know someone who was going and ask them. In these times I was fortunate to get hold of the early Thomas Mapfumo LPs as well as LPs from Devera Ngwena and Flavian Nyathi and some of the Zimbabwe Hits compilations. The tracks being shared today come from a cassette I copied from a friend at the time and was simply entitled Top Shungu Hits. It includes hit parade songs from Speed Limit, Sugar Lump, Devera Ngwena and The Storm.

 I hope you enjoy this burst of musical energy!


ENJOY MF

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

The Sherbone Stars - Nokuzola (1979)

We continue our exploration of the fields of 1970s soul and disco. Today's LP is Nokuzola, released in 1979 on the Ziya Duma label and produced by the legendary West Nkosi. The album features 12 disco-soul-jive numbers by The Sherbone Stars and The Peddlars. While not much can be said about the seminal Peddlars that regular readers don't already know, you may be wondering who The Sherbone Stars are. The ladies - Joana Thango from Kwa Nongoma, Catherine Dumakude from White City Jabavu, Helen Mosolodi from Sibasa and Sandra Senne from Rustenburg - are the unknown voices you can hear harmonising on most of Mpharanyana's recordings made with The Peddlars between 1978 and 1979. The composer credits indicate the presence of session player Meshack Mkhwanazi and the LP itself includes some lead vocals from other freelancers including Albert Motha, Mahotella Queens vocalist Thandi Radebe and Jacob Khoza. Mpharanyana Radebe only appears on one number here - "Ngiyizwile Inyoni" - but there are Zulu language versions of songs from his album Morena Re Thuse Kaofela (Soul Jazz Pop BL 173). Both Meshack Mkhwanazi and The Sherbone Stars were shepherded by West on a variety of studio productions including the aforementioned Morena Re Thuse Kaofela, Patience Africa's hit albums Siyabonga (Soul Jazz Pop BL 175) and Let's Groove Tonight (Black Hi-Lights Records BL 245) and a number of recordings by Venda group Takalani Band, shared here on Afrosynth. Both Meshack and fellow musician Albert Motha were recruited by West into a new mbaqanga group later in 1979 - Amaswazi Emvelo.

Enjoy!




THE SHERBONE STARS
NOKUZOLA
produced by West Nkosi
Ziya Duma BL 174
1979
Zulu and English Vocal

MF

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Top Soul Hits (1977)

This soul compilation from the legendary Mavuthela stable lives in my top drawer of vinyls most often spun. Inspired by the September Jive energy, I found some time to digitize it.

West Nkosi and the flagship Soul Jazz Pop label were blessed with artistic riches, no filler here. A few of these tracks have already been featured in their original albums here on Electric Jive. If you have not yet heard these, here is your perfect sampler. If you have already, The Makhona Zonke Band's "Walk to Jo'urg" is new to EJ, while "The Webb" and "Somewhere There" featured on Matt's special post earlier this year. You may or may not have heard Jacob "Mpharanyana" Radebe's Oho Morena, but there are three other tracks featuring the Cannibals.

There are some new gems here too,new to Electric Jive anyway. The Mthunzini Girls are going to surprise you with some multi-vocal swinging soul. Ray Chikapa Phiri gives the Cannibals "Be A Man". Reggie Msomi's "Tsikiza" gives bump a whole dose of soul.

When Patience Africa has featured on this blog, it has been a popular post. The most popular post on Electric Jive, for example. Nick Lotay writes a great essay for a wonderful disco soul compilation. He says the following about Patience Africa:

 "After a subdued musical start and then a long period of family life, Patience joined West Nkosi in around 1976 and spent some six or seven years under his production recording successful solo material, backed by West’s various soul teams including The U-Vees, The Shoe Laces and (most successfully) The Peddlars. She was awarded “Best Female Vocalist” numerous times by the SABC in its unnamed blacks-only version of the SARIE Awards. Though these ceremonies were more or less shambolic and by and large insulting to the musicians they were supposedly rewarding, Patience really was a top talent deserving – like all her contemporaries, no matter the style of music – of so much more."
Link HERE

Sunday, 21 August 2016

September Jive: South Africa's Music Heritage in focus

Heads up to lovers of South African music – first in Johannesburg, but also travelling to Cape Town and Durban. A visual and aural feast of this country’s musical and artistic heritage – a buffet of movies, exhibitions, and discussions.

September Jive is a tribute to the musical heritage of South Africa. A series of events will
provide a platform to meet, discuss and engage around the incredible diversity and history that makes South Africa such a rich musical country. September Jive comprises two exhibitions as well as panel discussions, screenings, meetings and talks. It aims at promoting the South African musical heritage, from a musicological, historical and visual perspective.

Exhibitions
SA musical graphics - classics and collectables presents 150 of the most interesting,
important and beautiful sleeve covers, with a special focus on truly South African designs, which could have emanated only from this country. The selection was made by a group consisting of collectors and designers (Siemon Allen, Rob Allingham, Caroline Hillary, Molemo Moiloa).

My favourite sounds - Music and media personalities speak out about their favourite
tracks and albums, consist of 50 photo portraits of music and media personalities including Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Johnny Clegg, Brenda Sisane… accompanied by short interviews about their favourite South African music and explaining why they chose it. This exhibition is the work of photographer Kapula.


All events are free and open to anyone.


All the events are happening at the Alliance Française of Johannesburg
17 Lower Park Drive, corner Kerry Road, opposite Zoo Lake Parkview, Johannesburg

Thursday 01 September – opening of September Jive exhibitions
SA musical graphics - classics and collectables
My favourite sounds - Music and media personalities speak out about their favourite tracks and albums

Friday 02 September (18:30) – Film screening
Phuzekhemisi (Damon Heatlie): A biographical profile of this popular Zulu Maskanda artist who became the leading voice of  protest for his beleaguered rural KZN community.

Wednesday 07 September (18:30) – lecture
Forbidden sounds, music and censorship in the time of apartheid: This presentation explores the apartheid regime's popular music censorship practices, from the banning of 'undesirable' music from distribution (and sometimes possession) to keeping the airwaves clear of subversive messages.
(presented by Michael Drewett)

Friday 09 September (18:30) – Film screening
Amandla! A Revolution In Four-Part Harmony (Lee Hirsh): "Amandla! A Revolution In Four-Part Harmony" is a soul-stirring documentary that uses exclusive interviews and rare, never-before-seen film footage to document the vital role that music played in the nearly half-century struggle against apartheid in South Africa.

Thursday 15 September (18:30) – panel discussion
Past to the present, old sounds to modern ears: This panel discussion is about the re-issues market, from compilations to original albums. It focuses on 4 specialised labels, their successes and challenges in a time of sampling and DJs. Moderator: Richard Nwamba (SAFM), Panellists: Chris Albertyn, Rob Allingham, Alain Courbis, Benjy Moody.

Friday 16 September (18:30) – Film screening
Dilemma (Peter Maxwell) – excerpt ‘Dilemma’ was a full-length dramatization of a Nadine Gordimer story filmed in 1962. It contains this one memorable musical performance with (in order of appearance) Mackay Davashe, Pricilla Booi, Vinah Benele, Tandi Mpambane (Klaasen), Mabel Mafuya, Abigail
Kubeka, Blyth Mbitjana, Kippie Moeketsi and Wanda Makhubu

African Shakes (Basil Mailer): Filmed in 1965 and aimed at the ‘teenage’ audience, ‘Africa Shakes’ was a sometimes cringe-inducing attempt to replicate the Beatles ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ in a South African setting. However, with the benefit of fifty years’ hindsight, the film can now be savoured as a rare, pre-television era document of the local music scene, both white and African. Although ‘starring’ a second-rate British ‘beat band’, Bill Kimber & The Couriers, the film includes unique cameo appearances by Ben Nkosi, Reggie Msomi, Dana Valery, Lemmy Special Mabaso, Sharon Tandy, Abigail Kubeka (backed by Peter Mokonotela, Gideon Nxumalo, Chooks Tshukudu and Early Mabuza), Brian Poole & the Tremeloes (from the UK), Una Valli, Cy Sacks and George Hayden.

Thursday 22 September (18:30) – panel discussion
SA cult albums, divine sounds? This panel discussion addresses the notion of “cult” for a work of popular art. The 1968 song Yakhal' Inkomo by Winston "Mankunku" Ngozi is one of the best possible examples of a record achieving cult status. But what does it mean? And which social and political factors are at work to make such a work cult? Moderator: Brenda Sisane (Kaya fm) Panellists: Percy Mabandu, Lloyd Ross, other panellists to be confirmed.

Friday 23 September (18:30) – Film screening
Jiving And Dying - The Radio Rats Story (Michael Cross): Twenty-five years in the making, this film introduces the music of Radio Rats and the words of Jonathan Handley in an attempt to afford them the place they deserve in the history of independent rock ’n’ roll in South Africa.

Wednesday 28 September (18:30) – lecture
A Brief History of the SA Musical Industry (presented by Rob Allingham): This talk will cover a century of producing, marketing and distributing local music, from the early years to the greatest successes and to the downward trends of the present.

Friday 30 September (18:30) – Film screening
Future sounds of Mzansi (Nthato Mokgata & Lebogang Rasethaba): Future Sounds of Mzansi is a documentary which aims to explore, express, and interrogate South Africa's cultural landscape, 20 years into its democracy... A chief vehicle of this exploration is electronic music, a staple of South African popular culture. The film explores the past, present and future of the scene and its multiple sub-genres, presented through the eyes of internationally acclaimed artist Spoek Mathambo.

September Jive is promoted by Alliance Francais in partnership with SAMRO Foundation, Institu Francais, Afrique du Sud.

For more information check out this link HERE 

Monday, 8 August 2016

African Music Show #3: East and southern Africa

Time for another dig into the archives of Australia’s pioneering African Music Show, aired on 16th May 1984, and weaving networks that only the future might see. This was the time before  African music hit mainstream Western ears, this was before Youssou N'Dour’s Immigres was released, even two years before Paul Simon’s  Graceland album. Granted, it was a little while after King Sunny Ade’s “Juju Music” had already made waves with Island Records.

African musicians were moving though, and it was radio shows such as this one that helped shine spotlights into new territories. In this two-hour show Tony Hunter and Geoff King talk about and play music coming out of the Nairobi Hub of Congolese music in the early 1980s. They chat about London beginning to notice African music, and wonder if the African “hub” might shift from Paris to London.  The second half of the show heads south, skipping via Zimbabwean Rhumba, through Thomas Mapfumo, to end with a few different styles from South Africa at the time, including “The Call is Heard” from Amandla – The ANC’s Cultural Group in exile.

It was at this time in London, thirty two years ago, that Jumbo Van Renen was breaking ground with the Earthworks record label he founded in 1983. In his book “Sounds Like London: 100 Years of Black Music in the Capital”, Lloyd Bradley describes Jumbo as “ a perpetually genial South African and lover of music from all over that continent, who arrived in London at the start of the 1980s.” 

Jumbo actually arrived in London in 1972 and worked as A&R for Virgin and Frontline records, landing the likes of Dudu Pukwana and the Spears, Jabula, Orchestra Makassy, Orchestra Super Mazembe, as well as working with reggae bands, The Gladiators, The Twinkle Brothers and I-Roy, amongst others.

Already, new webs were spinning to new worlds. Tony Hunter  arrives in London towards the end of 1983 and meets Jumbo, and of course buys a pile of records. Jumbo had just released Thomas Mapfumo’s “Ndangariro” on the Earthworks label. The music press were warming up. Jumbo was
“working the connections”. Tony wrote an article on “Chimurenga and Mapfumo’s music” for the very influential Black Music and Jazz Review Magazine (edited by Chris May).

Lloyd Bradley describes a growing London vibe oozing with confidence from the hip pan-African Limpopo Lounge (at the Africa Centre), “it was hardly going to take a series of marketing meetings to work out that African could be ‘the new black’. So to speak.”

Two of the tracks featured on this radio show come off those Earthworks albums Tony bought from Jumbo, hot off the press at the time: Thomas Mapfumo’s “Ndangariro” and Orchestra Super Mazembe’s big hit “Shauriyako” (your problem).

If you have somewhere to drive why not tune your car radio back thirty two years and be curious to find of an Australian radio show showcasing African music hits from the early 80s? 

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Monday, 1 August 2016

Light Blue: Footprint (1978)

Jazz, fusion, funk, and a little pop creatively blended together in a South African pot to produce a tight and sumptuous five-piece mystery blend. I say mystery as there is no detail on the album of who the members of this tight outfit were.

Lofty Schultz, credited with writing the title track, was busy producing Malombo’s epic album “Sangoma” in 1978. In his own right Lofty was a very handy saxophonist and flautist. Eric Norgate, who wrote the second track, “Funk Junk” played trumpet alongside Lofty in the band “Profile”, that also included Hennie Bekker (keyboards) Johnny Fourie (guitar) Johnny Boschoff (bass) and Kevin Kruger (drums) in the first half of the 1970s. So, my opening informed guess is that Lofty Schultz and Eric Norgate comprise the brass component of this band.

The other two tracks on this gem of an album were written by Cape Towner Nol Klinkhammer who played keyboards for the Square Set in the 1960s, but also played bass for Joihn E Sharpe’s “Sharpe Set”.

Keyboard player Robert Payne who played with all of the above in the second incarnation of "Profile" does not think that it is Nol Klinkhammer featured on this album. It is likely that the keyboard player is Hennie Bekker, on probably his last gig before he left for London to record the album Prisoners On The Line with folk-rock group Magna CartaRob Payne is most certain that the bass player is Johnny Boschoff, and that the drummer is possibly Tony Moore.

 Lofty Schultz was murdered in Johannesburg around fifteen years ago - one source says it happened when he was getting into or out of a car, while another says the murder took place at his mother's house, and all his musical equipment was stolen in the process.

Blue: Footprint
CBS JG 122
CRC 2203

Download link here