Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Air Light Swingsters: Umhlobo' Mdala (1981)

Band leader and alto saxophonist Peter Mokonotela raises the criticism of bands being inclined to "ape overseas music in preference to our own traditional Afro type music. So, we have tried by all means to take old African tunes and improved on them our way, The African Jazz Sound".

Produced again by the great Hamilton Nzimande this album forefronts fantastic  inter-play among the three saxophonists, Mokonotela, Thami Madi and Shumi Ntuthu. The liner notes continue: "It is hoped that the improvisation on certain Ngoma Busuku (evening or night hymns) singers as played on reed instruments will be appreciated."

Personally, the lullaby "Thula Ulalele" has a deep resonance in the recesses of my childhood memories - mellow, soothing, secure and comforting. At the other end of the spectrum, "Ujujuju" is perhaps my upbeat favourite. All  of the tracks on this slicky produced and performed album have something to offer anyone who appreciates the intersection of Swing, African Jazz, mbaqanga, and early 1980s African pop.

Compared to last week's 1980 posting of the Air Light Swingsters, this 1981 recording comprises 12 shorter tracks spanning nearly 42 minutes - quite a squeeze for an LP. Enjoy.

Download link here


  1. Once again, thank you so much for this gem.
    I'm really in love with all of you, ElectricJive team.
    From Madrid, although the big distance, my heart and soul beat with you and these magnificent rhythms and colorful tunes.
    A warm hug!!


  2. Thanks David for your enthusiastic feedback and love - we feel it!

    1. Hi Chris
      thank you for sharing this music. Unfortunately I cannot play it on my laptop. Is it possible to play it on Youtube?
      Hope you are well

    2. Hi Chris.

      Thanks for sharing this album. I used to listen to it when my late father would play it. Unfortunately I cannot seem to manage to play it on this site. Is it possible to utube it?
      Have a good day

    3. Hi Hammond, thanks for sharing your memories.
      It is possible to download the album from the site and then play it on memory stick or even burn your own CD. At the end of this post you will see: Download link here. Click on "here" and it will take you direct to mediafire (no adverts or distravtions), click on the green download button and select a location on your computer that you would like to save the folder to. Once you have downloaded the folder, right click on the file and "unzip" - you will then have individual MP3 tracks that can be played. Good luck

  3. Hi and big ups to Electric Jive. Do you know where i can get th CD version of this album?

  4. Thanks Zibusiso for your kind words. We are pretty sure this album is out of print and otherwise unobtainable. I would suggest you make your own CD from the download available here.

    1. Hi and thanks Chris. Listening to this very beautiful music as I speak!

    2. Your pleasure is mine too Zibusiso

  5. Thank you for sharing this.. I've been looking for this for years so I can give it to my 73 year old father who lost in LP many many moons ago


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