Home to the Story of South African Jazz
Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.
return to index

Interview Louis Moholo

Louis Moholo was drummer with Chris Mcgregor in the Blue Notes and in Brotherhood of Breath. Louis Moholo is the last surviving member. In the year 2000, Louis was visiting Cape Town. I met him at his birth home in Langa. In England where his professional home is, Louis heads up a 23 piece big band called the Dedication Orchestra.

Listening to the Dedication Orchestra album 'Spirits Rejoice” is a wonderful experience, particularly when Louis sings out loud, “We Love You.” They performed the same song when the Dedication Orchestra performed at the Cape Town jazz festival, it was the daughter of Barnie Rachabane, Octavia who sung out that beautiful line, 'We Love You.'

Louis and I listened together to some of his music: Out of the silence, a dramatic frenetic series of cymbal thrashes broke, before the calming sanctity of a piano riff rose. More silence, a guitar - scratching, strumming, grinding over a drum beat that knows no time, a drum beat that seems beyond time. The bass is storming up and down the scales in a bebop fashion and the saxophone screeching, breathing, stopping and playing again as if saying something really intelligent and really important. The music builds and falls, never soothing, never relaxing. It is chaotic. As the music played so Louis Moholo would speak, saying:

Feel my heart beating. This kicks my ass. This is what keeps me going? I am a soldier by nature. I like to put up a fight. That's where the music took me, to fight to be on top, to stay on top.

Regarding meeting Chris, Dudu and the other musicians of the Blue Notes, he said:

It started to make sense. We were hot then. We were not messing around man. We were kicking and it hit. The people loved it. Yeah. Chris started to write. Then I started to tell Chris you better be serious because this music is out bra, and he said 'Louis, just thinking the same thing,' so we formed the band straight away.

Regarding going abroad and exile he said.

We were fighting on all cylinders. Everyone was changing to the avant-garde all over the place. It was a whole bunch of new stuff starting to bloom up. It was fashionable and intellectual. Oh yes sir and we enjoyed it. We break all the rules. We are not considering anymore to be conventional. We drop that and play what the heart says and we are quite a brotherhood of breath in what we are doing. It is a whole kind of heavenly music. It is so beautiful.

There's a fight still burning inside. Let's face it the world is not right at the moment. As I am, I am a rebel - it hurts me. All these tragedies are an influence to us - it hurts. We apply this in a music form because that is all we know. Some like it hot, some like it cold —it's one of the same thing.

afribeat.com is a free resource and portal dedicated to LOVE, truth, uBuntu, peace on earth and many friends #storyofsajazz © 2018 Struan Douglas