Sunday 15 August 2010

Makhona Tsohle – the heart of Mbaqanga (1967)

These guys were the genesis and heart of Mbaqanga music, the essence of electric jive. The Makhona Tsohle Band have been described as doing for South African music what the Funk Brothers did for Motown. They coined the name Mbaqanga for a music that is now an iconic part of South Africa’s national identity.

Literally, ‘the band that can do anything’ Makhona Tsohle’s stalwarts were Joseph Makwela, the first black electric bass player in South Africa; Marks Mankwane on electric guitar; West Nkosi on saxophone; Lucky Monama on drums and Vivian Ngubane on rhythm guitar. Put together by Rupert Bopape in 1964, these guys  became the Mavuthela house band, backing the likes of Mahlatini and the Mahotella Queens and prospered until 1977.

In 1983 a new TV soap opera musical comedy “Mathaka” featured a garage band that was a re-formed Makhona Tsohle Band – again to much success for a year or so. You can buy two great and dirt cheap CD's of the Mathaka recordings of Makhona Tsohle from here

Much has been well written on this important band here and here.

In addition to his great article on Matsuli, Nick Lotay has constructed a number of video’s featuring the band and the Mahotella Queens - up on YouTube link here

Suffice to say, today’s share is a rare 1967 album on the Motella label pulling together Makhona Tsohle's key pieces up to that date. Thanks Siemon. Enjoy.
RS here
MF here
Missing song: Bela Bela No 2. RS here
Missing song Bela Bela No 2. MF here


  1. Each post leaves me with just enough breath to howl delightedly at the next. Thank you deeply for the intelligent presentation of such vital music.

    Respectful alert: In the rar for this particular gem, there is no file for Marks Mankwane's "Bela Bela No. 2" (shown as track #5 on side 2 of the album).

    Thanks again for the considerable effort to prepare this posts. Much, much appreciated.

  2. thanks for the heads up on the missing track and, as always, the very kind and enthusiastic encouragement - apologies for the slip - away from home on day job for next two weeks means a small delay in upping it - will see what can be done asap - chris

  3. I LOVE this.
    Impossible to sit still, impossible to sit at all while it plays.

    Many thanks!

  4. Slight correction for your introduction: Lucky Monama was on drums not saxophones, and later became a Gallo company man! Thanks a million for the music.

  5. Thanks David - correction made. Chris

  6. Missing Bela Bela No2 track is now up on this post - thanks for your patience. Chris


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