Sunday, December 14, 2008

African Audio Archives

Audio archivist Graeme Cousel was recently awarded Guinee's highest honour, the Palme Académique en Or, for his tireless work on the Syliphone Archive. Do yourself a favour and read the full story here. Graeme has been behind the recent Sterns' compilations Authenticite, Bembeya Jazz National, Balla et ses Balladins and the forthcoming Keletigui et ses Tambourinis. Matthew LaVoie over at the VoA African Music blog recently run a story on the early days of recording in Guinee with some excellent samples of work by Bembeya Jazz amongst others.

In South Africa similar work has been done by a number of individuals and institutions to protect the musical heritage. The most famous of these is the International Library of African Music (ILAM) based in Grahamstown which was founded by Hugh Tracey (1903-1977) in 1954 at the apex of 25 years of field recording and research into African music. In Durban David Marks holds an impressive archive of mostly live recordings of concerts and performances made during the late sixties, seventies and eighties. You can read all about his Hidden Years Archive here. At the oldest record company in South Africa Rob Allingham runs the Gallo Archives which he uses to reissue classic material fromthe sixties, seventies and eighties. On the web there are some interesting sites such as this one proving some interesting facts on South Africa's vinyl history.

But so much is missing from this mozaic. I spoke at length to fellow collector Siemon Allen about his Makeba project and other ideas that contribute to protecting a heritage that slips a little further away each day. I am very happy to say that Siemon has dug deep into his collection and provided a small insight into some of the varied styles and genres that make up this heritage. Most of this material has never been reissued in any form previously. So a big thank you to Siemon for sharing.

01 Unknown — Animal Imitations — Folkways (1966)
02 Leslie Nkosi y Muchachos de Alexander Dead End — Baleka — Vik (1950s)
03 Letta & the Safaris — Walkin’ Around — Columbia (1966)
04 Nzimande All Stars — Side by Side — Masterpiece (1980)
05 Zuluboy — Amagwala — Native Rhythms (2008)
06 Kabasa — Uzozibona — Atlantic (1980)
07 Uwandile — Tie Breaker — Mother Africa (1987)
08 (David Thekwane) — Amanzi Ayeza — Star Black (1979)
09 Woody Woodpeckers — Welele — HMV — (1959)
10 Louis Moholo’s Viva-La-Black — Woza — Ogun (1988)
11 Dorothy Masuka — Ingalo — Starplate (1980s)
12 Sophie Thapedi — How Long (1975)
13 Phillip Tabane & his Malombo Jazzman — Kathlogano — Atlantic City (1969)
14 The Wanders & The Syndicate — Pezulu — Soul Brother (1975)
15 The Movers — Jacaranda — City Special (1975)
16 Gideon Nxumalo — Jazz Fantasia / 2nd Movemnet — Renown (1962)

01 Unknown — Tula Mtwana with conversation — Tegnidisc (1960s)
02 Princess Constance Magogo w/ Gatsha Buthelezi — Bambulal’ uJesu yama Juda — Gallo / ILAM (1972)
03 Martha Mdenge & Harmony Crotchets — Tell Me How Long the Train’s Been Gone — Trutone (1950s)
04 Dollar Brand — African Sun (excerpt) — Spectator (1971)
05 Johnny Dynai / Okay Temiz — Yesil Fener —Yonca (1976)
06 Kabasa — Burning Splinters — Atlantic (1980)
07 The Soweto Boys — Woza Sibali — Disc Jockey (1977)
08 Nico Carstens met Rassie Erasmus — Boland Boogie — Columbia (1950s)
09 Amandla — Gumboot Dance — a disc (1980)
10 The Singing Zulus —Zinyakanyaka Zimkhonto Impela — Skyline (1976)
11 Green Pastures — Don’t Cry Baby — Raj (1960s)
12 The Savers — Brother — Pathe Marconi (1976)
13 The Movers — Soul on the Moon — City Special (1970)
14 Beaters — Thiba Kamoo — The Sun (1975)
15 Jabula — Journey to Africa — Jabula (1975)
16 The Kings Messengers Quartet — My Lord — HMV (c1964)
17 Banda Six — Khomba Ka Mina — Motella (1984)
18 Ebrahim ‘Brian’ Isaacs — Meadowlands — Team (1970s)
19 Dark City Sisters — Ngiboniseleni — HMV (1959)
20 Boogies — Did you Know it’s Soul? — Trutone (1969)
21 Malombo Jazzmakers — Abbey’s Mood — Gallotone (c1965)
22 J. Lenkoe — Tshaba Tshaba — Trojan (1970s)
23 The Movers — Correction — City Special (1975)
24 Eric Nomvete’s Big Five — Nomvete — New Sound (1962)


Tim said...

Thanks for introducing us to to this project. I've only encountered a small fraction of these artists before and it is an awesome reminder of how much great music there is to explore and research. In keeping this legacy alive, it really is a case of so much music, so little time . . .

Anonymous said...

great post and selection of music - a real rich resource of information and pleasure - thank you Siemon and Matt - Chris A

Anonymous said...

Amazing. Thanks!


mpx said...


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amnesia said...

Links are not working. I'd be ever so grateful if they can be restored, thanks.

matt said...

amnesia...sorry man, the links don't get renewed...

robin said...

is the letta track here by letta mbulu?

Mabhiza said...

I am so sad that we cannot download this Eishhhhh

Mabhiza said...

I am so sad that all this songs was deleted before we could download it