Monday, March 14, 2016


a rich a cappella male choral approach usually sung in Zulu,appeared in the early 20th century as "Ingoni Ebusuku," meaning "night music."The similarity between early mbube and pre-quartet African-American gospel (jubilee) is astonishing,as are the vocalists' range,soaring harmonies,smashing leads, and swirling accompaniment.
Popular with Zulu and Swazi laborers,forged throughout the last century a strong working class identity. In 1938 one of the Ingoni Ebusuku groups,Solomon Linda's Original Evening Birds,recorded a song called
"Mbube" (the lion,based on the tale of the return of Shaka), which became a model for the international hit "Wimoweh"(the Lion Sleeps Tonight),and since then this music has become known as Mbube.

"Although generally recognized as one of the most advanced forms of Zulu musical expressions,
mbube incorporates a rich texture of Western,Afro-American,traditional and modern stylistic sources. Reflecting upon the experience and struggles of migrant workers, mbube performers modeled these diverse idioms into a unique expression of Zulu working class identity.
The pre-history of mbube starts in the second half of the 19th century when American minstrel shows had become by far the most popular form of stage entertainment in the urban centers. For black audiences however,no visiting minstrel troupe created a deeper impression than Orpheus McAdoo's Minstrel Vaudeville and Concert Company. Between 1890 and 1898,McAdoo,one of the first noted Afro-Americans to visit S.A., made two phenomenally successful tours of the country that lasted for more than five years.
By the turn of the century in the wake of McAdoo's tours,minstrels had reached even remote rural areas, where mission school graduates formed troupes modeled on either McAdoo's company or on the numerous white blackface troupes and adopted names as AmaNigel Coons,Pirate Coons or Yellow Coons".....

from the record notes

A1- The Bantu Glee Singers - Jim Takata Kanjani
A2-Crocodiles - Hewu! Kwaqaqamba Amthambo
A3-Fear no Harm Choir-Ina Ma Wala
A4-African Zulu Male Voice Choir- Kuyekeleni Kukule
A5-Solomon Linda's Original Evening Birds - Mbube
A6- Solomon Linda and Evening Birds-Ngazula Emagumeni
A7- Solomon Linda and Evening Birds - Anoku Gonda
A8- Shooting Stars - Yek' Emarabini
B1-Morning Light Choir-Izindaba Ezinkulu Zxika"Kawa"
B2-Dundee Wandering Singers- Hamba Stutubaker
B3-Natal Champions-Ngi-e Kaya
B4- Crocodiles- Asigoduke
B5-Durban Crocodiles- Akasangibhaleli
B6-Scorpions- Cothoza-Mfana
B7-King Star Brothers- Mus' Ukuqubada
B8-Ladysmith Black Mambazo -Umama Lo

 shellacs to vinyl

Mbube Roots

In the 1920s, as an industrial economy began to develop in Natal (KwaZulu/Natal),a cappella vocal styles became closely identified with the emerging Zulu working class,
newly forged as rural migrants found employment in mines and factories. Forced in most cases to leave their families behind and live in all-male hostels, they developed a weekend social life based on vocal and dance group competitions, staged within and between hostels, and judged by elaborate rules and standards. By the late 1930s, a cappella competitions were a characteristic of Zulu hostels throughout industrial Natal and had also spread to Zulus working in Johannesburg.
Black workers were taken by rail to work far away from their homes and their families. Poorly housed, paid worse, and working a six-day week, they would entertain themselves by singing songs into the wee hours of Sunday morning. They called themselves Cothoza Mfana,”tip toe guys,” referring to the dance steps choreographed so as to not disturb the camp security guards. When the miners returned to their homelands, the tradition returned with them.There began a fierce, but social, competition held regularly that became a highlight of everyone’s social calendar.

A3-Easy Wakers-Oh yes is coming
B2-Harding Morning Stars-ITHEMBA LAMI
B3-Mtalume Young Ages-HAMBA HAMBA
B4-Mkhizwane Home Stars-SANIBONANI
B5-Jabula Home Defenders-OBABA BAFUN IMALI


Run,my brother
and go your own way

Your home is not here
in the city.
Your home is
as far away
as the stars
Run my brother.

a live recording at the Dalton Road Hostel-Durban S.A. - 1984

Mbube Competition

Sunday, March 6, 2016

The Caravan

Terakaft (meaning "caravan" in Tamasheq) is a genuine desert rock band, sculpted by the pure searing air and the endless rolling sands of the Sahara.
The stark, harsh conditions of the Sahara have permeated their wild riffs, and as a result Terakaft are the perfect embodiment of all that is wild and free in desert blues today. They have taken the electric guitar and made it their own.
Terakaft was formed in 2001 by Sanou Ag Ahmed, then based in Kidal, Mali with Kedou Ag Ossad. Kedou was a member of the original line-up of Tinariwen (four of Kedou’s compositions are embodied on their first international release "The Radio Tisdas Sessions").
Liya Ag Ablil (aka Diara), Sanou’s uncle, joined the band in 2006. Diara was also an original member of Tinariwen and was known for his fierce and passionate style of rock’n’roll guitar playing. He played with Tinariwen for almost 20 years, but stepped back just before Tinariwen started touring internationally. He’s still a close friend of Ibrahim "Abaraybone" Ag Alhabib, and played on Tinariwen’s last album "Imidiwan : Companions" (as did Sanou and Abdallah of Terakaft).
Terakaft recorded their first studio album "Bismilla, The Bko Sessions" in four days at the legendary Bogolan Studios in Bamako, Mali.

the Bko sessions

In a Bamako courtyard around 98, I heard a half whispered song on a broken guitar which entranced me. It led me, Philippe Brix and a few others to the Sahara desert to find where this music came from. Tuareg guitar - a looping groove, melancholy tune, a simplicity and a profundity - that called to mind the masters of the Delta, the spirit and defiance of the early Wailers, with a desert flavour between Gnawa trance and Ali Farka's serpentine swing. Tinariwen was a loose collective of originators, among them Diara, the master of the Saharan rhythm guitar. Together with Sanou, an archetypal Saharan cowboy, with Wah Wah Watson sideboards and full Rock and Roll attitude, they became Terakaft, guardians of the original Tuareg guitar.
 Justin Adams