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afribeat compilation : innovative, improvised, breathing and beautiful South Africa.

From the racy and vibrant frenzy of Johannesburg's urban buzz, to the diversity of the port inspired Cape Town and the rural communities of the Eastern coast, there is African Jazz. From the eclectic diversity of culture, colour and romance along the West coast, inner-city blues and suburban bliss to the make-shift shacks of the townships and spiritual beauty of the North, South African music is heard, loved and played. In a land of vast differences and partiality, disturbances and change, music is the great leveller it weaves a magical thread across the memories and inequities, through stories and emotions, to create a powerful and unique expression. The Afribeat compilation of South African Jazz vivdly represents the nuances, the voices and the music of South Africa.

Thank you to the collaborative platform created by the many South African record companies (major, minor and and majorminor) the artists represented on the afribeat compilation are :

Have you enjoyed the Story of South African Jazz research and development archive? Any donations can shift us closer to our dream of sharing the expression and all will be rewarded with multiple platforms of media ...


1. Moses Molelekwa : Moses Molelekwa was one of South Africa's most innovative and progressive musicians, a visionary who in his short and productive life revitalised the jazz genre. He mixed in the old with the new, respecting the traditional sounds, yet taking risks and pushing jazz into a contemporary and refreshing space. His music always transcended the jazz idiom, mixing up straight ahead jazz, drum and base, dub, mbaqanga rhythm and beautiful piano melodies into albums that are a visual journey through the landscape of his youth, the colour and diversity of his influences and his deep spirituality. Encouraged by his grandfather and blessed with a natural talent, he developed a unique style well rooted in South Africa's musical heritage. At the age of 18 he got his first musical breakthrough touring and gigging with Hugh Masakela, before winning three South African Music Association awards for his albums. Moses died in February 2001 at the age of only 28.

2. Deepak Ram : Master of bansuri flute, Deepak Ram weaves together traditional Indian sounds with contemporary Western influences. particularly funky jazz, and tight production to create a global, spiritual, visual and upbeat sound. Born in South Africa in 1960. Deepak made his first journey to India at the age of 17. He immersed himself in the rich cultural tapestry of the country, studying under highly influential masters, such as th late Shri Surykant Limaye, who bequethed Deepak his priceless flute collection when he died. His most recent album won a South African Music Award for best Instrumental Album'.

3. Tananas : Tananas is one of the most consistently undefinable South African groups, a trip that is constantly evolving, dodging the pigeon-holing pens of the critics and record companies. Fro mtheir epnoymously titled debut, through to Time, Spiral, Orchestra Mundo , Seed and more recently Tananas Live album, there sound is never the same, but always infused with the distinctive, compelling Tananas feel - the result of a chemistry that happens when the brilliant sounds of Steve Newman's guitar, Gito Baloi's bass and vocals and the percussive genius of Ian Herman comes to musical light.

4. Zim Ngqawana : "Artists are not only artisans, they are primary creative thinkers. Emperors of old always had musicians in his courts not only for entertainment, for our is not about entertainment, it is about inner-attainment," writes Zim Ngqawana. From the inauguration of Nelson Mandela in 1994 where Zim first realised significant public consciousness, through to his various collaborative projects, to his solo albums, Zim has intensely explored his notion of inner-attainment. He is a philosopher. His albums took the titles of Zimoloy and Zimphonic Suites and the music is humble and beautiful. His latest album was made with a great South African rhythm section - Herbie Tsaoli, Andile Yenana and Kevin Gibson - the music rises and falls between rhythmical jazz interplay, ancient melodies and patterns, the soft and expressive rhythm of ballroom and the full expression and tension of South African Jazz - culminating in an infinitely recognisable voice, Zim Ngqawana's.

5. Carlo Mombelli : The music is about silence, subtelty and compassion - arousing a powerful contrsat for the sound to resonate within. The deep sensuality of the jazz, the dark disjointedness of the breathing avant-garde, and the haunting self analysis of the beautiful passages of minimalism, echo the intensity, the density of this great artist. He has had a fascinating career following the beauty of his expression to record with great artists in Germany and Brazil. Carlo lives in Johannesburg where he teaches bass guitar and continues to explore the incredible depth and diversity of the South African Jazz sonud through live performances, recordings, sound tracks and collaborations.

6. Ladysmith Black Mambaso : This group has recorded over forty albums and established themselves as the number one record selling group from Africa. They won the Grammy award in 1987 for Best Traditional Folk Album and since then they have been nominated for a Grammy Award six additional times. They are one of South Africa's most cacliamed and loved groups, singing a traditional music called ischatimiya, a style born in the mines of South Africa from the weekend entertainments of singing. They originally called themselves 'tip toe guys,' referring to the dance steps choreographed so as to not disturn the camp security guards.

7. Tlokwe Sehume and Medu : This is one of the most exciting albums to come out of South Africa. It's fresh, ran and spiritually stirring. It is brilliant. Mbira, guitar, bass and percussion drive the sound, and a warm, often haunting horn section gives edge and dimension in the higher ranges. The sound is infintely distinct from most traditioanlly oriented South African recordings, and always refreshing to the ear and soul.

8. Winston Mankunku Ngozi : Winston Mnankunku Ngozi was the anchor of the South African jazz scene during the 1960's, where he played with all the raw and melodic expression of the anguished cry of the Souht African nation at that time. Politics forced him to quit playing publically in the 1970's but he hit back in the 1980's with three fabulous albums. His best to date is the 1998 release Molo Africa (Hello Africa), which blends the traditional African rhythms of mbaqanga, and spacious yet intense saxophone improvisations. It is the quintessential South African jazz album, and a victorious tribute to a great musician. His excellence was finally recognised in 1999, where he won the Souht African Msuic Association award for best traditional jazz album. His compositions live on.

9. Marcus Wyatt : "For one he has really mastered his instrument, learnt to read practically anything you put in front of him, swings like the masters and can blow over the most complicated set of changes. But the real reason? When Marcus plays that horn, listen to the tone, that big warm tone. The voice, the breath and the wind, the humour, the crying, the singing, the in-your-face attitude or the be like a child. Marcus moves me and touches my soul." This was how Carlo Momelli described Marcus and it probably says enough. Marcus Wyatt has been on the jazz scene for a number of years, playing in milestone contemporray South African Jazz bands such as Carlo Mombelli's Prisoners of Strange, Jimmy Dludlu's C-Base Collective and Voice. His tone is instsantly recognisable. It is eclectic, clean and energetic - about creating space and allowing the music to speak within that for itself. It has the Western percussions of a classical education, an awakening of African influences and an honest and jazzy expression.

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