Sunday 13 March 2011

Sadness and Joy with Dixie Kwankwa

This is the first LP in South Africa on the Troubadour label and is presented as "Sadness and Joy - Dixie Kwankwa in an Evening of African Cabaret". Dixie had a hit in London and Southern African with the song My Nyasaland Love which was issued in the UK on Melodisc 1573 (c.1961). In a strange way Dixie reminds me of Simphiwe Dana with an assured but quiet and confident delivery and none of the urgency or forcefullness of her peers. In listening to the LP today you can almost visualise this slotting in next to the Harry Belafonte, Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra records that the white middle classes were enjoying at the the time. Record players that could play 33rpm records were rare and expensive and until at least the mid-sixties the predominant format in South Africa was the 78 single play.

There is not a lot more information on Dixie apart from what can be gleaned from the sleeve notes which are written in the quaint and mostly patronising manner of the times. Dixie did win the Miss South Africa title in 1957 and in the following year as part of the show African Bandwagon got her first singing job before being signed to Troubadour Records.

There are some great songs here including a take on Ghanaian Hi Life and a rock and roll tune. The accompaniment and chorus is under the direction of Cuthbert Mathumba whilst the LP is produced and arranged by Stuart Cook. Enjoy the ride!

Dixie Kwankwa - Sadness and Joy (Troubadour, LPA1, c 1959)
1. Hush A Bye
2. Kulusizi
3. Hi-Life the Ghana Way
4. Mary Jane
5. When the One You Love
6. Lost on the Mountain
7. My Heart is Waiting for the Sunrise
8. Kwa Zulu
9. Memories of My Love
10. Nice Time Baby
11. Pick Up The Axe, Sebenza
12. When You Walk Alone

My Nyasaland Love b/w I Left My Heart in Rhodesia 45 RS/ MF


  1. Interesting backing for her UK single...

  2. thanks for the album!

  3. O wow! what a voice, with the freshness of a very young Makeba. Could float away on it A treat Thanks!!

  4. Where can I buy a copy of this? Enchanting.

  5. Andrew..its not for sale but available to download and listen to from this site. Its never been issued on CD or any other physical form so the only way to get it is to chance upon a copy in an old store or on eBay

  6. such an excellent album. thanks for sharing!

  7. Thank you so much! So wonderful.

  8. This is fantastic! You made my day, thank you.

  9. A great singer, a sweet pretty voice, Makeba like. Goes to prove that many great singers did not get deserved recognition. Thanks so much for the posting.

  10. While I managed to download the 'Sadness and Joy' album a few years ago when I discovered EJ, I seem to have missed the other upload "My Nyasaland Love'. Any way one can locate that one too, Matt? Through 'Sadness and Joy' I have sweet music that I last heard when I was a toddler and today I am a pensioner! How nostalgic!

  11. Does anybody know whatever happened to Africa's songbird Dixie Kwankwa?


Electric Jive is currently receiving a deluge of spam. Apologies for the additional word verification requirement.