Wednesday 15 September 2010

Something New in Africa: Pennywhistle kwela at the dawn of jive

Another important addition to the growing archive of late fifties pennywhistle and emerging jive compilations.

Not the ‘commonly known' version of “something new” here – the Solven Whistlers open the set with a languid, clarinet-accompanied recording of their popular pennywhistle classic.

According to music researcher Lara Allen, this 1957 LP was the first release of a black South African music on 33rpm LP - because it was aimed at white audiences. It also feature visiting American clarinetist Tony Scott. (Kwela's White Audiences, in :"Decomposing Apartheid"; 2008; Wits University Press).

Many mbaqanga songs in the sixties and the seventies were introduced with an almost vaudeville-like nonsense dialogue. Kwela Bafana is an early example of the “Basement Boys” introducing their song in Afrikaans, referencing the emerging popularity of the saxophone: “Where are you going my brothers? We are going with other men who play saxophone, and we will play the flutes.. and I don’t know what will go for what … Kwela Bafana!. The Six Lads introduce slide guitar into their songs, along with a little yodelling, while the Basement Boys explore a ska-driven whistling number in Upstairs Jump.

Rapidshare download here
Mediafire download here


  1. Thanks for sharing this kwela gem.


  2. Thanks for the "thanks" Donpiper - always good to "feel" the goodwill out there ... check in over the next days for a small set of posts of 78s from Spokes - Chris

  3. Thanks -- I love pennywhistle jive, and look forward to digging into this!

  4. Many thanks - once again. Wonderful music that you share.



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