Pennywhistle Boogie

I apologise for the elapsed time since my last post – I’ve been busy learning guitar and catching up with old friends. In addition I switched from one kwela arrangement project (that proved a bit too complicated at the time) to another that I am presenting here… A couple of posts back in ‘Rare Willard… Continue reading Pennywhistle Boogie

Skokiaan

Skokiaan is a significant instrumental that was composed, performed and recorded originally in South Africa’s neighbour, Zimbabwe. We’ve already seen that the influence of kwela has been felt in this country, and although Skokiaan is described as tsaba-tsaba, it shares a common ancestor with kwela: marabi. The instrumental was later recorded by Gallotone (which, perhaps,… Continue reading Skokiaan

Rare Willard Cele Recordings

Many thanks to The In Crowd and his/her learning2share blog for making these very early Willard Cele tracks available. Willard was the inspiration for many kwela players, maybe including Spokes Mashiyane. Listen to these recordings (Penny Whistle Blues and Penny Whistle Boogie) and you’ll hear quite a different style of kwela to that recorded by… Continue reading Rare Willard Cele Recordings

Kwela on last.fm

Last.fm has some good recorded content that is tagged kwela – unfortunately I can’t figure out how to embed the player here and then not complain that there is ‘Not enough content to play this station’. Follow the link to kwela on last.fm and check it out there – if it complains, try reloading the… Continue reading Kwela on last.fm

Little Lemmy

This tune – Little Lemmy – is played by Little Lemmy (‘Special’ Mabaso) with Big Joe on alto sax (I might be making that second bit up – but he is credited as playing, and it sounds like Lemmy on the whistle). It can be found on the old, Decca LK 4292 “Something New from… Continue reading Little Lemmy

Babatoni, the Kwela Bass

Back in June there was a blip in the visitor stats that was the result of a link to the Kwela Project from a post in the Banjoroots Yahoo group. The post was about Africa-American single-stringed instruments, and as well as mentioning the renowned ethnomusicologist Gerhard Kubik (who happens to play clarinet in Donald Kachamba‘s… Continue reading Babatoni, the Kwela Bass

Learn Kwela

With a web site with as little traffic as the Kwela Project, it’s pretty easy to notice what kind of things are bringing visitors here. For example, Sunday’s BBC Prom performance by the Buskaid Soweto String Project, which you can still listen to online, resulted in a number of visits that had been referred from… Continue reading Learn Kwela

Gadzooks! It’s Sophiatown’s Phalanzani Scots Band!

If you’ve ever wondered how “35 pennywhistlers and two drummers, dressed in Scout hats, kilts, tartan sashes, and neckerchiefs” could possibly be connected to the 1956 Alexandra bus boycott, then David B. Coplan’s essay Sophiatown and South African Jazz: Re-appropriating a Cultural Identity is for you. Telling the story of life, and music in particular,… Continue reading Gadzooks! It’s Sophiatown’s Phalanzani Scots Band!

Buskaid to play at BBC Proms

The City of Johannesburg website reports that the Buskaid Orchestra of Soweto will be performing as part of the BBC Proms in London on Sunday 15 July. Buskaid plays mainly classical music, with a fusion of classic pop and kwela. You can find out more about Buskaid in the Kwela Project’s post “Unite with the… Continue reading Buskaid to play at BBC Proms