Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Unh! Music of the Spirit (updated!)

Gabriel 'Mabi' Thobejane and Philip Tabane, Market Café 1976 (Photo: David Marks)

Philip Tabane is the founder of the group Malombo, a Venda word for spirit. Today he is known as Dr Malombo and whilst the group has been through many iterations over the past 45 years they are still performing and astounding audiences worldwide.

My introduction to Malombo was at University in 1982 when a friend passed on a dubbed cassette copy of The Indigenous Afro-Jazz Sounds of Philip Tabane and his Malombo Jazzman. Later I saw him play at the Rainbow Jazz Club in Durban and at the Market Theatre in Johannesburg. In 1984 I worked in a team to put on a series of concerts by Malombo under the auspices of the United Democratic Front - a non-racial coalition of about 400 civic, church, students', workers' and other organisations. We organised three concerts including one at the University's Old Main Hall from where the live recording being shared today comes from.

Guitar scorcerer Philip Tabane at the Old Main Hall, University of Natal Pietermaritzburg, South Africa 1984 (Photo: Natal Witness)

I find it difficult to express the power and beauty that comes from his performances. So I will leave it to a sleeve note writer to paint a picture: "Malombo's music is a blend of the sophisticated and the primeval, of electric and traditional instrumentation, of tone poems about the natural world and its close link to human communities. Malombo has strong roots in traditional African music but they draw from such a broad spectrum of influences as to render categorizations difficult. If you can imagine an African Chuck Berry who plays six flutes at one time awhile humming and singing, you're beginning to visualise the persona of Philip Tabane - leader of the group." (from the sleeve notes to the Kaya self-titled release)

For a long time I've lamented the fact that the Malombo back catalogue has fallen into disarray. Currently only five from a total of 13 releases are commercially in print. And of these five there is one obscure release - SIlent Beauty - not even credited to Phiip Tabane or Malombo. So for the record I've compiled the following comprehensive (let me know!) discography with a plea to the owners to make the recordings available once more.

Malombo Discography

Studio and Live Recordings:

The Castle Lager Jazz Festival (JCLP 62, 1964)*

Malompo Jazz with a 'P' (Gallotone, GALP 1464, c1967...without Philip Tabane, thanks to Siemon for this addition)

The Indigenous Afro-Jazz Sounds of Philip Tabane and his Malombo Jazzman (UPL 5009, 1969)

Music of the Spirit (3rd Ear Music, 1971) (without Philip Tabane)

Malombo Jazz Makers Vol 2 (Continental Records, ZB 8162, c1971...thanks again to Siemon for the image and detail)

Pele Pele (ATC 8003, 1973)*

Sangoma (ATH 4024, 1978)

Malombo (KAYA (e) 300, 1984)

Silent Beauty (Erdenklang Music, 1989)*

Unh! (Electra/Nonesuch, 1989)

Ke A Bereka (Gallo, 1997)*

Muvhango (Gallo 1998)*


Philip Tabane and Malombo (Kajima, 1987)*

Man Phily (PAM, 1989)

*In print on CD

For a whole lot more background and some interesting anecdotes head over to David Marks' 3rd Ear Website for an insight into the Malombo genre.

VIDEO SHOT BY Thomas Ditlhoiso

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Sell More Records!

No cover and warped to the limits of playability this 1978 curiosity probably hasn't seen a turntable for the last 30 years. Amidst the pleas from DJ Tom Vuma to sell more records (and remember the catelogue number) we also get very best wishes for Christmas. Its an interesting view into the music EMI Brigadiers in South Africa was trying to shift in the late seventies through predominantly black music distribution channels. The mix of jazz, fusion, jive, reggae and soul and high local content is enlightening. Look out for the wonderful early version of Woza Friday from the two original members of Juluka, Johnny and SIpho.

Hamba Juba :: The Covers
Kenny's Feelings:: The Savers
Maria :: The Jive Heroes
Warm Love :: Eric Donaldson
Isethembiso :: Mthembu Queens
Can't Live Without a Woman :: Bald Heads
Ngifuna Ududu :: The Covers
Cliff :: The Strong Sounds
Come With Me Girl :: The Savers
Izinyambezi :: The Additions
Woza Friday :: Jonathan & Sipho
Ain't Too Proud to beg :: Eric Donaldson
Izandla Ziyagozana :: The Additions


Next time I'll return with another interesting find...The Mankunku Jazz Show recorded live at the "Y" in Orlando, Johannesburg in 1968.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Soon come

Out now in France. Sterns UK didn't know about it when I called today. Soon come I suppose...

01. Camayenne Sofa - Kononin
02. Horoya Band National - Artistes
03. Bembeya Jazz National - Kana Sarakabo
04. Super Boiro Band - Kha Mu Lan Ma
05. Sory Kandia Kouyaté - Minawa
06. Pivi Et Les Balladins - Samba
07. Horoya Band National - Kaninba
08. Kaloum Star - Maliba
09. Tele Jazz De Teleme - Sensenko
10. 22 Band Kankan - Deny
11. Horoya Band National - Daba
12. Sory Kandia Kouyate Et Keletigui - Konakri

01. Sory Kandia Kouyate Et Keletigui - Nazoki
02. Camayenne Sofa - Kulumba
03. Kélétigui Diabaté - Bakary Dian
04. Sorsonet Rythme - En Tous Cas
05. Horoya Band National - Apollo
06. Le Nimba Jazz De Nzérékoré - Babaniko
07. Super Boiro Band - Were Were
08. Horoya Band National - Paya Paya
09. Camayenne Sofa - Samba Mana
10. Bafing Jazz Mamou - Toubaka
11. Super Boiro Band - Darinole
12. Syly Authentic - Senero
13. 22 Band Kankan - Mankan

Monday, November 17, 2008

Strictly Analog

Samy's latest selection this time for The Wire magazine, linking to an article in the December issue. As the good folks over at Chatty Mouth have been saying when do we get the Marijata LP reissued Samy? (This rarity sold just last week to an unfortunate soul for USD $1400)

Volume 1 of the Analog Africa mixes can be downloaded here.

Monday, November 10, 2008

hamba gahle mama africa

10 November 2008 06:24:20 GMT
South African singer Miriam Makeba dies in Italy
26 minutes ago

ROME (AFP) — South African singer Miriam Makeba has died aged 76 after being taken ill near the southern Italian town of Caserta following a concert, ANSA news agency reported Monday.

She died overnight after taking part in a concert for Roberto Saviano, a writer threatened with death by the Mafia, the Italian agency said.

Miriam Makeba, known as "Mama Africa", was the legendary voice of the African continent who became a symbol of the fight against apartheid in her home country.

She died just after having sung for half an hour for the young author of "Gomorrah" at Castel Volturno near Naples along with other singers and artistes.

She was taken ill and was quickly taken to a clinic in Castel Volturno where she died of a heart attack, ANSA said.

Miriam Makeba was born in Johannesburg on March 4, 1932. She made an international farewell tour in 2005.

Born from a Swazi mother and Xhosa father, Makeba captured international attention as vocalist for the South African group, The Manhattan Brothers, while they toured the United States in 1959.

The following year, when she wanted to return home to bury her mother, the apartheid state revoked her citizenship and later also banned her music. As a result she spent 31 years in exile, living in the United States and later in Guinea.

She became the first black African woman to receive a Grammy Award which she shared with folk singer Harry Belafonte in 1965.

Two years later her fame sky-rocketed with the recording of the all-time hit "Pata Pata" (Xhosa for "touch, touch" describing a township dance) although she unknowingly signed away all royalties on the song.

She hit an all-time low in 1985 when her only daughter, Bongi, died aged 36 from complications from a miscarriage. Makeba did not have money to buy a coffin for Bongi, and buried her alone barring a handful of journalists covering the funeral.

But she picked herself up again, as she did many times before, like when her father died at a young age, or when she recovered from cervix cancer, or her many unhappy relationships, or unfounded rumours of alcoholism, according to her biography.

She returned to South Africa in the 1990s after Mandela was released from prison but it took a cash-strapped Makeba six years to find someone in the local recording industry to produce a record with her.

She since released "Homeland" which contains a song describing her joy to be back home after the many years in exile in which she spoke out against apartheid and testified twice before the United Nations.

"I kept my culture. I kept the music of my roots. Through my music I became this voice and image of Africa and the people without even realising," she said in her biography.

Shared with you today is my all-time favourite song from Miriam, Djuiginira available on the incomparable Sterns collection The Guinea Years. Its worth dropping by the worldserviceNL blog to pick up an unmixed copy of one of her best late period LPs Sangoma. Also check out the LP Welele. As for other recommendations I suggest checking out Country Girl and the African Convention LPs from the '70s.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Black Gold

Just in case you need to get some original 45s - in the form of Pakistani soundtrack EPs, East African rumba or South African mbaqanga then you should head over to my current sales over at EBAY. This is a prelude to the on-line store I will be opening in partnership with fellow music explorer Chris.

More soon!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Knocked Out Loaded

Jean Depara captures Franco and friends

Back in 2000 Gary Stewart, author of Rumba on the River, mentioned a four CD retrospective being prepared by Sterns entitled Francophonic - The Essential Recordings of Franco Luambo Makiadi, King of Congo Music and his OK Jazz 1953-1988 (STCD 3015). This finally sees the light of day on November 17 when "FRANCOphonic - Africa's Greatest, A Retrospective - vol 1 : 1953-1980" (STCD 3041) is released by Sterns.

My introduction to Franco came in the early '80s midst the first wave of African sounds being imported and subsequently released in the UK (and then exported to South Africa). The double LP I purchased, featuring Josky as lead vocalist and Michelino on lead guitar (Franco et Josky CHOC CHOC CHOC), had multiple overdubbed guitars but contained the hit single Partage. Beyond the odd late '80s vinyl LPs picked up in France it was only much later that I had the opportunity to explore his back catelogue properly with various Sonodisc CD reissues in the nineties. His two volume 20th Anniversdary still gets plenty of listening time at matsuli HQ. Thats about to change.

This re-issue, the first of two, has been done in the recent Sterns 2cd/booklet/slipcase style of their recent Sylliphone, Bembeya, Tabu Ley, Mbilia Bel and Balla et ses Balladins releases. Brilliant photographs from Jean Depara and detailed essay from Ken Braun.

1. Esengo Ya Mokili
2. Tika Kondima Na Nzolo
3. Anduku Iutshuma
4. On Entre OK, On Sort KO
5. Tcha Tcha Tcha De Mi Amor
6. Mosala Ekomi Mpasi Embonga
7. Sansi Fingomangoma
8. bato Ya Mabe Batondi Mboka
9. Bazonzele Mama Ana
10. Bolingo Ya bougie
11. Ku Kisantu Kikwenda Ko
12. Tzonga Na Nganga Wana
13. Annie Ngai Nalinga
14. Marie Naboyi
15. Boma L'heure
16. Nzube Oleka Te
17. Likambo Ya Ngana
18. Infidelite Mado
2. Mambu Ma Miondo
3. Mabele
4. Kinsiona
5. Alimatou
6. Cherie Bondowe
7. Liberte
8. Lisolo Ya Adamo Na Nzambe
9. Nalingaka Yo Te

Highly recommended.

And so as a treat and nod to Mr President-elect here is Franco's massive tune Liberte. If, like me, you enjoy the slightly slower bolero style of Congolese rumba then check out the wonderful mix posted by available here.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Brand New Funky President

Its about time!

Blackhouse - Amp Fiddler alongside Sly and Robbie from the new Strut Inspiration Information issue (Heliocentrics alongside Mulatu on the same series in 2009!)