A History of South African Jazz & Popular Music

This three part show illustrates a unique hybrid of African harmonies and rythms interwoven with Britsh and American musical influences and examines the evolution of many of their musical styles. Material is included which was recorded but not released outside of South Africa during the years of isolation.

 Hi, I'm Dennis Shore.

The vast continent of Africa with more than 50 nations each with its own history and cultural mix has developed a rich musical tradition, and it is well documented that African music was a fundamental ingredient in the recipe which created 20th century popular music.

South Africa has always been the most industrialized and developed nation south of the Sahara. Their music reflects world influences and is sophisticated. It is important to understand that all forms of black South African music are inextricably intertwined with the long and bitter political struggle for freedom. Their music was employed as a powerful medium for protest, it served as a distraction from the difficult and harsh conditions od day to day living, and articulated their aspirations for a brighter future, which thankfully is now at hand. The jazz, popular, and vocal music which evolved over the years and which has burst forth since 1994, reflects a uniquely attractive hybrid of traditional African rhythm and melodic structure interwoven with Afro-American and British music influences.

In this program, I will be playing selected examples of their music with wonderful names such as Marabi, Mbube, Mbaquanga, and Kwela; examples of South African Big Band, Jive, Jazz, Rock, Fusion, Reggae and others, from the earliest of recordings right up until today. In short, a music-fest as joyful and sensuous as the country itself. My theme song is "Mbombela"... a song composed in the 1950's performed by The African Jazz Pioneers. The program is dedicated to the early musicians who paved the way of today's multi-million dollar entertainment industry but who never received recognition for their contributions...

Enjoy each full 1 hour radio show of music and commentary on Real Audio

Show #1 Show #2