Lost links & Re-ups

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Slinging tuneage like some fried or otherwise soused short-order cook

06 June 2013

South Africa






South Africa has produced so much music it is hard to decide what to post. Marabi piano music from the poor black areas of Johannesburg clashed with the Afrikaans music of the ruling white apartheid Dutch. Gospel welling from the Zionist churches & Zulu a cappella & kwela penny whistle music seething from the villages met in some strange middle ground.. Smooth mbube morphed into isicathamiya as the King Star Brothers were eclipsed by Ladysmith Black Mambazo. Soul & jazz laid their funky yet cool hands on the musicians of South Africa, from Abdullah Ibrahim to Hugh Masekela. After that there was no stopping punk, disco, goth, metal, alternative rock, techno, & reggae. Musicians from other surrounding south African countries streamed into South Africa to use their great recording facilities or to boycott their own countries censorship of free music.

So...


We’ve all heard the story, four young lads from Liverpool…No, wait…from Shantytown, Orlando West, Soweto, South Africa. The Beaters were Selby Ntuli - guitar, Sipho Mabuse - drums, Alec 'Om' Khaoli – bass, & Monty Ndimande – second guitar. The group came together in 1968 while still high school students at Orlando High School in Soweto.


 
The band performed bare-foot in mandarin-collared white jackets & quickly became a hit with the urban hip black crowds in Pretoria & Johannesburg. Their first album Soul-A-Go-Go was released in 1969. American soul & jazz was assimilated into what became known as Soweto Soul. The sound was a product of so many polarities that challenged the fusion of South African identities: modern/traditional; urban/rural; north/south; foreign/local. Imagine a sixteen-year old Soweto schoolboy in 1968 identifying with the hippie movement & forming a band called The Beaters (not The Beatles as I started to say).


In 1974 the Beaters toured Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). Their success turned a three-week tour into three months. Stories go that they helped smuggle liberation movement recruits out of South Africa in their amp boxes.

Following this very successful tour, the group composed "Harari", the title track named for the then Salisbury's township, later future capital of Zimbabwe, Harare. Later they recorded & released this album. This LP reflects the band’s eclectic influences. The second track "Love, Love, Love" might not have been out of place at Woodstock, while the third, "Inhlupeko Iphelile" was an optimistic statement (the distress is over). It is a response to the South African Jazz classic "Inhlupeko" played by The Soul Jazzmen in 1969. "Push it On" has some soul & funk roots, "Thiba Kamo" has jazz fusion influences, & "What’s Happening" is firmly rooted in the southern African ‘bump jive’ dance tradition. It is one mixed bag, for sure.


After the album went double gold, fans began calling the group Harari & it was assimilated. The name stuck & subsequently they continued future recordings under that name.
Harari, issued on Rashid Vally's As-Shams (The Sun) label in 1975 is their fourth album after: Soul-A-Go-Go on Teal Records in 1969, Bacon & Eggs in 1970 & Mumsy in 1974 on GRC.

Hugh Masekela arranged an American tour for the band in 1978, but on the eve of their departure, Selby Ntuli died. Sipho Mabuse took over leadership of the group. They continued recording until the group disbanded in 1982. Mabuse began an especially successful solo career as Sipho 'Hotstix' Mabuse.

On Harari, The Beaters are: Selby Ntuli – guitar & vocals; Alec Khaoli – bass & vocals; & Sipho Mabuse – drums & vocals.

 The Beaters – Harari, As-Shams/The Sun GLS74, 1975. 
decryption code in comments

Side 1 –
Harari
Love Love Love
Inhlupheko Iphelile

Side 2 –
Push it On
Thiba Kamoo
What’s Happening

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%



Ivan Kadey started the infamous seminal two-tone Afro-punk band National Wake with two brothers, Gary & Punka Khoza. The three all grew up in & around Johannesburg, but their experiences couldn’t have been more different. While Ivan was raised in the white suburbs, Gary & Punka’s family was forcibly moved to Soweto, when the apartheid Afrikaner government was consolidating the black population.


When a mutual friend introduced Kadey to the Khoza brothers in 1978, he already knew he wanted to start a band with the name National Wake. Kadey said it embodied his disillusionment with the apartheid regime. It was to serve as a call for its demise. When Kadrey met with Gary & Punka, they started jamming, & he just knew, this was National Wake. This was the band that fulfilled the promise of the name. In 1981 National Wake released its first & only self-titled album, which was just re-released this year & is available around the Interweb. Soon after the release, the band disintegrated.


From the ashes of National Wake, the Khoza brothers, put together a reggae band called Dread Warriors, with fellow musician Risenga Makondo who had formerly played in Amampondo. Risenga grew up in the countryside in the north of South Africa near Venda. As a kid he was a shepherd for a long time so he didn't go to school. He started playing music for money when he was about fourteen. When he was a teenager, Venda was a very dangerous place for young black men who were poor & illiterate ­like he was.



That was during the apartheid era. Also there was war going on in the neighboring countries. The South African government was using the Venda area as a recruiting ground for its war with Mozambique. Risenga headed to Johannesburg, & ended up living in Soweto in the early 1980s. That's when he first got into reggae & joined the Dread Warriors.

The Dread Warriors recorded the first reggae LP in South Africa. This is it.

decryption code in comments

Side 1 -
Dread Warriors
Shigangu
Sangoma
See Them Ah Com

Side 2 -
Harvest Time
Tshindi
Dread on a Mountain Top
Reggae Music

Enjoy,

3 comments:

  1. The Beaters
    JHJIizfVY7zPKmi-vHYWhE9p10lbuT4WmulrVLK7Pkc
    Dread Warriors
    bYliiG6p6RiSnM1O2UK6I1gD91N2Nf4tpkrbAdIKi_o

    ReplyDelete
  2. My mate Pete Spong was the white guy in the middle. He passed a little while ago. What a great individual he was.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you so much for your comment. I bit more information about Dread Warriors, thanks. Sorry to hear about your friend's passing. If you have any Dread Warrior stories you would like to share, I would love to hear them.

    ReplyDelete