Kudos to Siemon Allen at the always-worthwhile Electric Jive blog for Miriam Makeba - Tracks Less Travelled (1958-98), a fascinating overview of the work of the great South African diva. There are plenty of audio rarities here and lots of little-known facts. Altogether a must-read and must-listen, and highly recommended!
Sunday, October 9, 2011
Saturday, January 10, 2009
What a shame that South African saxophonist Dudu Pukwana died in exile on June 30, 1990, four years before the coming of democracy to his homeland and the end of the hated apartheid system. Perhaps he took some solace, on February 11 of that year, in seeing the release of freedom fighter Nelson Mandela after 27 years of incarceration.
Born on July 18, 1938, Pukwana was a titan of the South African jazz scene who played a critical role in the Blue Notes and Jazz Giants in South Africa, and in exile with Chris McGregor's Brotherhood of Breath. He later co-founded the Afro-rock group Assagai and Spear, which recorded the influential In The Townships (Virgin C1504) in 1973.
I was inspired to post Pukwana's live recording Life in Bracknell & Willisau (Jika Records ZL 2, 1983) by Matsuli Music's recent post of the wonderful South African jazz LP Armitage Road by the Heshoo Beshoo Group. Released on Pukwana's own label, Life didn't achieve wide circulation, which is unfortunate, as it features some inspired performances, especially the vocals of Pinise Saul.
If you'd like to invesitigate more of Pukwana's music, In The Townships is out of print, but available here. Another popular album of his, Diamond Express (Arista/Freedom FLP 41041, 1975), is also out of print, and available here.
Dudu Pukwana & Zila w. Pinise Saul - Hug Pine (Bambelela)
Dudu Pukwana & Zila w. Pinise Saul - Mahlomole (Lament)/Lafente (Ntabeni-In the Mountains)
Dudu Pukwana & Zila w. Pinise Saul - Baqanga Bay
Dudu Pukwana & Zila w. Pinise Saul - Freely
Dudu Pukwana & Zila w. Pinise Saul - Funk Them Up to Eriko
Dudu Pukwana & Zila w. Pinise Saul - Ziyekeleni (Let Them Be)
Dudu Pukwana & Zila w. Pinise Saul - The Big (Pine)Apple
Dudu Pukwana & Zila w. Pinise Saul - Zama Khwalo (Try Again)
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
We were all saddened to hear of the death yesterday, November 10 of the esteemed South African singer Miriam Makeba. She was 76 and suffered a heart attack during a concert in Italy.
Makeba, known as "Mama Africa," was an artist who suffered greatly for her outspokenness on behalf of the oppressed, but she shouldered that burden gladly. Already a major star in South Africa, she was stripped of her passport in 1960 after speaking out against the apartheid system while on a world tour. In exile, she achieved global fame with her hit song "Pata Pata" in 1967, but her career suffered another setback in 1968 when she married civil rights activist Stokely Carmichael. Without a recording contract and unable to find bookings in the United States, she and her husband took up residence in the republic of Guinea as guests of President Sekou Touré. It was in Guinea that she suffered the tragedy of her daughter Bongi's mental illnesss and subsequent death.
In 1987 her career was reborn in the wake of Paul Simon's album Graceland. She toured the world with Simon and other South African musicians and released Sangoma, an album of the traditional Xhosa songs of her youth.
To promote Sangoma, Warner Brothers Records made available to media outlets Miriam Makeba: The Sangoma Interview (Warner Brothers PRO A-2974, 1988), a recording of a one-hour session with journalist Roger Steffens. In honor of Mama Africa, I'm pleased to present it here:
Miriam Makeba - The Sangoma Interview Pt. 1
Miriam Makeba - The Sangoma Interview Pt. 2
Miriam Makeba - The Sangoma Interview Pt. 3
Miriam Makeba - The Sangoma Interview Pt. 4
Update: As you might expect, the blogs have been all over this story. Matsuli and With Comb and Razor, of course. Also Spinning in Air and Undercover Black Man. World Service offers a rare "pre-mix" version of Sangoma, while Zero G Sound features a download of her 1960 debut US LP. Meanwhile, Global Groove has the 1965 RCA Victor album Makeba Sings! There are many more tributes than I can list here, naturally.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
I've got a couple of posts in the hopper that will be ready to go in a day or two, but I wanted to bring to your attention a couple of worthy submissions over at other blogs.
At Matsuli Music Jonathan Ward of Excavated Shellac, inveterate collector of all things 78 RPM, gives us a wonderful collection of classic music from South Africa, Phata Phata: 78 rpm Records from the Birth of Mbaqanga. Amazingly, these recordings are all from the 1960s, long after 78s were phased out in most parts of the world. Well worth downloading!
I'm continually astonished at the stuff Matthew Lavoie over at African Music Treasures digs out of the Voice of America vaults. This time he's come up with some amazing 45s from early-'70s Somalia. Who would have thought such a thing existed? If you enjoyed the recordings by Iftin I put up here some time ago, hie thee over and check them out.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
I rescued this recording from the "bulk" pile at WYMS-FM many, many years ago. It was made as part of the "American Jazz Radio Festival" program. Unfortunately I have no recording information - not even a set list. I presume it was recorded around mid-1985. "Date Recorded" on the tape box is 10/12/85, but that's probably the date it was recorded from the satellite feed.
I've never been particularly "into" Abdullah Ibrahim, but I know many people are, so I hope they'll enjoy (I compressed the file at 320 kbps rather than my usual 192 for the audiophiles).
Coincidentally, Matt over at Matsuli Music has posted for a limited time another Abdullah Ibrahim album here. Get it while it's hot!
Abdullah Ibrahim (Dollar Brand) - Live at the Smithsonian Institution