Tuesday 27 July 2010

Moses Mchunu’s Indestructable Beat (1975)

Moses Mchunu’s style of music is said by musicologists such as Charles Hamm to fall into the neo-traditional form of Mbaqanga - infectious and complex four-bar sequences of acoustic guitar, vocals and harmonies, strong baselines, drums and usually an accordion and/or a fiddle.

To many readers Mchunu’s music will be familiar from his hit track "Qhwayilahle" on the Indestructible Beat of Soweto album in 1985. The CD album of the same name can be bought from Kalahari.net for ZAR40. To me, the roots of this music echo and resonate deep in my 60’s and 70’s youth psyche where lone maskandi musicians would commune with guitars or concertinas while they walked the white suburbs and industrial areas of Durban.

Today’s share is believed to be Mchunu’s first LP, produced on the Motella label in 1975. Entitled “Black Bull” (Enkunzi Emnyama) Mchunu’s records bought mostly by migrant workers sing of matters and moments in rural traditional African life – cattle, religion, harvest, praising clans and chiefs, marriage and death – but not too obviously close to the social conditions pertaining to apartheid at the time.

In the track Amagama, Mchunu gives a shout-out to Noise Khanyile who is most likely playing the fiddle on the track.

Born in 1953, Moses Mchunu hails from the village of Nkandla in the Province of Kwa-Zulu Natal – the same village that President Jacob Zuma was born in.

Mchunu was quite prolific in his output . It seems however that a discography is nowhere to be found. Below is a very limited listing of some of his other Motella releases. If readers have details of other Mchunu releases, please do share:

Moses Mchunu and Nabafana Bengoma; Senzeni Madoda. Motella BL 69 (Gallo) 1976.
Moses Mchunu; Sigiya Ngengoma. Motella BL252 (Gallo) 1980
Moses Mchunu; Babulala Umuzi Ka Baba Motella BL320 (Gallo) 1981

1. lnkunzi Emnyama
2. Magugu Omhlaba
3. Emzini Bakhala Ngawe
4. Lishonile llanga
5. Sambamba
6. Ekhweni Lami
7. Amagama
8. Ngizula Nomhlaba
9. Sibongile
10. Kuhle Ukuzenzela
11. Qinisa Mkhize
12. Ngibuyile Baba

RS here
MF here


  1. thank you for everything you give us

  2. fantastic site. Thank you for these absolute gems!

    Love the vinyl noise on this one, really makes it feel like something from the 70s.

  3. A little more on Moses (taken from the sleeve notes to the 1981 LP Babulala Umuzi Ka Baba):
    - Born 1948, loved the music of Phuz' Ushukela.
    - Went to Johannesburg to seek work in 1966 and landed up working at the Shottley Hotel. He bought himself a new guitar and was encouraged to do some recordings. In 1972 he met up with West Nkosi who produced all of his LPs:
    - Inkunzi Emnyama (BL57)
    - Senzeni Madoda (BL69)
    - Ngixoleleni Bazali Bami (BL155)
    - Baningi Abangithandayo (BL232)
    - Sigiya Ngengoma (BL252)
    - Ezifla Ubhedu (RL311)
    - Babulala Umuzi Ka Baba (BL320)

  4. "amagama" - such a great one!
    Thank you so much for this moses album...I enjoy it so much and did not know of him until now.
    Also have to send my warmest thank you for turning me onto dark city sisters, the black eagles earlier.
    peace, karl from sweden

  5. I have been looking for a song which I think was done by Moses Mchunu but possibly Phuzushukela. Dont know the title but some of the words:
    Kudala ngizula, ngijikelez’ intaba, ngehla ngenyuka
    Sengize ngamthola ongangisiza kulokhu kuhlupheka okunje
    Bhula sangoma shaya amathambo ngilwa labaloyi
    Sengize ngamthola ongisizileyo………….

    Would really love to locate it,please help

  6. We wll do our best to keep our ears open for those lines you cite ... we too will throw the bones ... you never know, but, I expect it will be like looking for a needle in haystack ..

  7. Hey Chris any luck with them bones....I am still looking for that song, see my comment 26 Feb 2012

  8. Hey Bongi - thanks for dropping by. You have prompted me to haul out another Moses Mchunu (Senzeni Madoda) and to give it a listen for those words - not that album either. Sorry - but I will keep an ear out for it 0 best wishes

    1. Hey Chris
      Hope you are well....4 years later still looking for that song....any luck?

    2. Hey Chris
      Hope you are well....4 years later still looking for that song....any luck?

  9. Hi Bongi - without a title/artist, I am pretty much helpless. Best wishes


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