Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Liberator's Call


1980 First Swedish Studio LP (LIMITED DOWNLOAD)

Today's recording has special significance for me. I got a cassette copy of this recording in 1983 whilst a student at Pietermaritzburg University in South Africa. At this time possession of this music (in any form) was illegal and carried a sentence of 5 years minimum imprisonment. I couldn't understand how music could be imbued with such significance. When I went into exile in 1986 to avoid conscription I searched high and low for this particular recording with little success. Over the years I managed to pick up the later Russian recordings but no luck with this first LP. Until this year when a good friend tracked down the LP to a second-hand rack in a store in Sweden. So thanks to Joachim I have located one of my holy grails of record collecting and you get the chance to listen to an important historical document.

Amandla first performed at Festac in Nigeria in 1977 and the following year at the Cuban Youth Festival. This first recording was made at Radio Luanda and Radio Zambia studios during 1980 and released internationally by the Swedish Labour Movement Record Company in 1980. The first international tour took place in 1981 in Sweden. Musical director of Amandla was Jonas Gwangwa, one of the stalwarts of South African jazz.

"From the mid-1970s exiled political groups, particularly the African National Congress (ANC), came increasingly to recognize the value of culture in promoting the struggle abroad. 1974 saw the establishment of the Mayibuye Cultural Ensemble, a London-based grouping that was to achieve considerable success in Europe. Mayibuye was an agitprop group whose performances consisted of an awareness-raising narrative about apartheid interwoven with poetry readings and rousing renditions of freedom songs. In the late 1970s, as increasing pressure forced many of Mayibuye’s performers into more direct political work, another group was in the budding stages of development closer to home. The Amandla Cultural Ensemble originated amongst ANC exiles based largely in military training camps in southern Africa, and became a popular ambassador for the movement across Africa, Europe, the Soviet Union, and elsewhere. It offered large-scale, increasingly professionalized performances incorporating jazz, theatre, and dance. Its performances were intended not only to raise international awareness about apartheid, but also – perhaps more importantly – to present an alternative vision of a future, more inclusive South African culture." (Gilbert, Shirli. Singing against apartheid: ANC cultural groups and the international anti-apartheid struggle, Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Historical Association, 2006-10-05)


1981 Live recordings from first Swedish Tour

1982 Russian studio recordings

1987 Russian studio recordings

13 comments:

ispeakman said...

Good story, definitely checking this one out.

Thanks.

The Squeegee said...

now THIS is what blogging's all about... thanks for the history

hideo said...

ain't seen this one on the racks

thanks for these very special diskkies

MrC said...

many thanks for sharing! ;)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the wonderful story and music

Wuod K

Mathibela said...

Is it possible to put a link where I can download the Amandla Cultural Group music. I searched everywhere in South Africa, but can't find. PLEASE

Anonymous said...

Like Mathibela i'm begging u once more for a link to the Amandla Cultural Group and any others that u might have or u might e-mail me the link. Hearing this will bring back the nostalgia of exile years
My e-mail is melamasinga@webmail.co.za

Thando said...

Hi all,
If you look for Amandla Cultural Ensemble, check out with Kebby, the last I checked there were boxes full of Amandla DVD's in his office. Fortune Nala (Former member of Amandla)

Mathi said...

Thando, do you know how I can contact Kebby of Amandla Cultural Ensemble

TreRich said...

can we get a alternate link for this album? Please

TreRich said...

can we get another link for this album

TreRich said...

Can we get another link for this album

matt said...

I may repost this at electricjive soon. In the mean time check out these two fantastic compilations: http://electricjive.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/in-exile-volume-12.html