Friday 20 May 2011

Davey Swingsters honour Msiza's Village (1975)

Three sixties saxophone stalwarts lead a cool collision of mellow mbaqanga and marabi jazz, echoing a phrasing and mood of what might be called the 'Manenburg from North of Pretoria'.

Albert Ralulimi and Chris Songxaka were key members of the Elite Swingsters in the 1960s, while Mario Daconceicao's sax featured regularly in the legendary Makhona Tsohle Band. Backed by "The Crunchies" with keyboards, base and drums, these fellas fled the city hype for a soothing sabbatical at Msiza's Village to record this album. Or so it seems.

"Somewhere, Somehow, there is a lonely road the leads to Msiza's Village - a place known for its Silence, Peace and Tranquility. The only thing that disturbed the Peace and Silence during our stay there was the sound of the old-fashioned gramophone.

"Thus, we decided to grab our horns to help the poor old gramophone - all in all that's how it started. At Msiza's Village. The undermentioned great musicians brought their heads together to make this album such a success. At Msiza's Village." (from the back cover).

The reference to Manenburg is not only about the mood and time of this music, but there are historical parallels. Msiza's Village is a rural settlement 50kms North of Pretoria holding a long history of dispossession, forced relocation and resilience. In 1953 these families were forcibly removed from the land that now is Wonderboom airport in Pretoria, and eventually re-located to what became known as Msiza's Village in the Odi district. The Msiza's, led by Chief Speelman Msiza resisted being moved to Mamelodi township and demanded to go where they could grow crops and keep livestock.
The Msiza family were traditionally known as the shield bearers to the King of the Ndebele people, and in 1882 defended their King against an attack on the Ndebele capital of Namashaxelo by a commando of 2000 Boers. The Boers took control of what is now the Middelburg-Grobblersdal district and the Msiza family and others were banished to become labour tenants on the farm which later became Wonderboom Airport. At the time of this recording Msiza's Village was part of the apartheid homeland known as Bophutatswana. Soon after, the village was closed by the Bophuthatswana government because the ``Ndebeles were non-Tswana promoting their tradition and culture on Batswana land''. For more see here

Today, Msiza's Village has been revived and given the honour of preserving an art-form that many say saw its origins in the village - Ndebele mural decoration. For more on this story, see here

Produced by Simon Nkosi
Engineer: Paul Wright
Backing: The Crunchies
Philips PKLP.706 (1975)
1. Msiza's Village (Albert Rululimi)
2. Old Shoes (Mario Da Conceicao)
3. Babe's Joint (Albert Rululimi)
4. Water Falls  (Mario Da Conceicao)

Rapidshare here
Mediafire here


  1. Hey guys
    I have spent several happy hours ploughing through your back pages, reading and following links and of course downloading and listening to the tunes! Some of the artists I knew already but have discovered new songs and there was lots that I had never heard before. I have to say its been marvelous and I have emailed links to various friends to direct them to your blog and some of the webpages and other writing that you have collectively referenced. Just amazed that I did not find you before. One or two of the posts seem to have lost their download links and I was just wondering if this is this a time related thing or a minor glitch that might be easily remedied?
    Anyway my main point was to put in a simple and respectful request for some more vocal harmonies if you have any tucked away .... (vocal jive was a new term to me!) the Skylarks and the Mahotella Queens are old favourites but I loved the MQ early stuff I had not been able to find before and I have accessed a whole load of new Dark City Sisters recordings through you! other stuff in this vintage vein would be very welcome . Strength to you!

  2. Thanks plenty for the kind words and encouragement. I am sure we will be obligng with further vocal harmonies and such like. Also look out for a 1975 album of the Soweto Soul Gospel Choir - coming soon.

  3. Hi Chris - wonderful post. If you want a really great write-up of kwaMsiza, Franco Frescura did a wonderful one here:
    I can't wait to listen to this album which will be a super accompaniment to the article on vernacular architecture I'm writingat the moment. Hope to put it up in the next few days. Will include a link to this album. Thanks again for your wonderful site.

  4. I am still looking for the Lp from The Minerals feat. Sweet Soweto and The Elricas Dance band- Talk of the town

  5. Thanks for leaving the request - I will ask around


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