Internet connection back up to speed tonight.
Soweto Blues is one of the best collections of South African jazz and funk I’ve come across. Originally released as an accompaniment to a book by the same name published in 2004.
Soweto Blues: Jazz, Popular Music & Politics in South Africa by Gwen Ansell, “illustrates the vibrant relationship between jazz and the antiapartheid movement in twentieth-century South Africa. A major new contribution to the study of African music, Soweto Blues tells the remarkable story of how jazz became a key part of South Africa's struggle in the 20th century, and provides a fascinating overview of the ongoing links between African and American styles of music. Ansell illustrates how jazz occupies a unique place in South African music. Through interviews with hundreds of musicians, she pieces together a vibrant narrative history, bringing to life the early politics of resistance, the atmosphere of illegal performance spaces, the global anti-apartheid influence of Hugh Masakela and Miriam Makeba, as well as the post-apartheid upheavals in the national broadcasting and recording industries. Featuring an introduction by Abdullah Ibrahim, Soweto Blues is a fitting tribute to the power of music to inspire optimism and self-expression in the darkest of times. (Amazon Review)
What makes the music on the CD special is that it is all high quality, diverse and does not stoop to simply ticking the usual Pata Pata and Hugh Masekela boxes. In fact, most of the Big Names of South African music have been left out in preference to those perhaps less well known or completely unknown to the casual listener. And yet, it is impossible not to hear the rhythms, pace and tones of South Africa ring through this music. Every track is genuinely strong and stands on its own but personal favorites include the opening track Meadowlands, the wonderfully brassy hymn Black Heroes and the spoken majesty of Romeo And Alek Will Never Rhyme Part 1.
01 Meadowlands (Nancy Jacobs And Her Sisters)
02 Scullery Department (Voice Of Choice)
03 Pondo Blues (Eric Nomvete)
04 Inhlupeko (Melancholy) [Winston Mankunka Ngozi]
05 Madhouse (Sankomato)
06 Black Heroes (Têtes Big Sound)
07 She-Been (Jonas Gwangwa)
08 Sound Of The People (Malopoets)
09 Ubuhle Bako (Sakhile)
10 Black Fire (Pacific Express)
11 Song For Winnie (Sabanza)
12 You Ain't Gonna Know Me 'Cause You Think You Know Me (The Dedication Orchestra)
13 On The Other Side (Abstractions with Duke Makasi)
14 Gobbliesation (In A Global Village) [Zim Ngqawana]
15 Romeo And Alek Will Never Rhyme Part 1(McCoy Mrubata)