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14 May 2017

Jabula “Jabula” 1975 South Africa Jazz/Funk/Soul

Hawk in Hyde Park

Jabula in the street

Legendary South African musician Julian Bahula

Jabula “Jabula” 1975 South Africa  Jazz/Funk/Soul
Jabula's debut album. Recorded at the Manor September 1974. The record was recorded and released in London, UK. 

Julian Bahula found himself in London in the early seventies as part of the South African afro-rock group (African) Hawk. As one of the first "mixed race" rock bands Hawk had drawn more than enough attention to themselves back in South Africa and an attempt to break into London seemed like a sensible and logical step. A full story of what transpired is contained in the sleevenotes for the reissue of the 1973 album by Retrofresh here. There is not much happiness on the faces of Hawk in the promo shot for the UK's Melody Maker in 1973

Hawk fell apart but Julian Bahula began working with a number of African and European musicians eventually as the leader of the group Jabula (which means Happiness). The album we share with you today is the debut from 1975 of the group and it also features Busi Mhlongo on vocals. A full discography is available at Wall of Sound. In the late seventies and through the eighties Julian became a tireless promoter of African music in London at venues such as the 100 Club. .................

The year was 1964; the venue, Orlando Stadium, the era’s music mecca of South Africa; the occasion, the Castle Lager Jazz Festival, organised by impresario Sipho Sydney Sepamla, the internationally known poet. Three young men from Mamelodi, a township in Pretoria, created a great impact on the crowd of 60.000; the new sound of their music heralded a cultural awakening.

This was the public birth of the Malombo Jazzmen, consisting of leader and guitar wizard, Philip Tabane, flautist and harmonica player, Abbey Cindi and Julian Bahula on traditional African Drums. These drums gave the group it’s distinctive sound and became known simply as Malombo drums.

In the 60’s, festivals in South Africa were run on a competitive basis, and the honours went to the Malombo Jazzmen; primitive yet sophisticated, simple and soulful. The 1964 Castle Lager Festival was the first time that Julian Bahula had played for such a large crowd of people and he describes his drums as sounding like a call for freedom............

Julian Bahula, Malombo and Jabula — Discography

Trying to unpick a history (in vinyl issues, anyway) of one of South Africa's most memorable Afro-jazz-blues group's—Malombo—can at times be a difficult task. Often on eBay, one will find records by Malombo without the group's indomitable guitarist and leader, Philip Tabane, or sometimes one may see a record by the Malombo Jazzmen or the Malombo Jazz Makers. Occassionally Abbey Cindi may be the leader or Gabriel Thobejane performs on the "Malombo drums". Sometimes it is Julian Bahula at the helm with Lucky Ranku on guitar.

Essentially the broad history of Malombo can be broken up into two separate groups that often used the same name for different recordings by each group. Though starting as a single group, the two threads soon split apart, one wing with Philip Tabane, the other with Abbey Cindi and Julian Bahula. To unpack this history I have put together two discographies, one for Philip Tabane, the other for Julian Bahula. Though many others were involved, Tabane and Bahula are the two members of the original group that seemed to continue separately each thread of Malombo music. (Cindi and Ranku, of course, played major roles in what I am loosely calling the "Bahula" thread.) Today's post focuses on "Julian Bahula and Malombo" as well as his later group Jabula. The "Philip Tabane and Malombo" discography can be viewed here.

Some of these albums as well as their re-issues have fetched amazing prices on auction at eBay and so I have put together a discography that attempts, at least in part, to identify the many different issues. If you have an album or an issue not featured in this list please let us know and we can add it to the discography.

Yvonne Huskisson in her Bantu Composers of Southern Africa has Abbey Cindi and Philip Tabane forming a group called the Lullaby-Landers in 1961 or 1963, depending on which entry you read. In 1963 the group changed their name to the Malombo Jazz Men which included Julian Bahula on a set of "African drums". He had originally come from the Vlakfontein City Council Band. As Huskisson puts it, Malombo's aim was "to produce a new sound in Jazz by introducing African drums and African drum beats and an African traditional sound into a Progressive-Jazz trio." The group was hugely successful, winning a number of competitions most notably the 1964 Castle Lager Jazz Festival at Orlando Stadium. The trio made their first recordings with "Radio Bantu" that same year and soon a debut, studio LP—Castle Lager Jazz Festival 1964—was issued by EMI. The B-side of the album also included the Early Mabuza Quartet.

This classic record featured the original line-up of the Malombo Jazz Men (sometimes Jazzmen) with Philip Tabane on guitar, Abbey Cindi on flute and Julian Bahula on the "Malombo drums". The group would soon split somewhere around 1966.

After the break-up, Tabane began working with Gabriel 'Mabi' Thobejane and continued recording under the name Malombo Jazzmen and then later simplified it to just Malombo.

Bahula and Cindi teamed up with Lucky Ranku on guitar and formed the Malombo Jazz Makers, sometimes featuring Hilda Tloubatla (from the Mahotella Queens) on vocals. Their first LP after the break-up was simply titled Malompo Jazz (with a "p"). They issued roughly three albums as the Malombo Jazz Makers with Gallo and then in 1971 recorded an album with 3rd Ear Records as Malombo.

In 1973, Julian Bahula decided to go into exile and moved to the UK. Initially he toured with the South African group Hawk but soon started putting together a new group — Jabula — with Lucky Ranku and an international cast of musicians including a number of South Africans. The South African contingent of the group included Julian Bahula on drums and percussion, Lucky Ranku on guitar, Pinise Saul on vocals; Ernest Mothle (from the Early Mabuza Quartet and the Heshoo Beshoo Group) on bass, and sometimes Busi Mhlongo on vocals and Dudu Pukwana on saxophone. Jabula worked closely with the African National Congress and the Anti-Apartheid movement and subsequently a number of their records were banned in South Africa.

Certainly Bahula forming Jabula with Ranku could be viewed as a continuation of Malombo under another name. For more information on Julian Bahula and Jabula read his biography at See also Matsuli and Wall of Sound. ..............

Julian Bahula: 'The music tells the story of where we come from'

Illustrious South African drummer Julian Bahula is in the country to put the finishing touches to his latest recording.
The London­-based band leader, composer and concert organiser says it has been his lifelong dream to produce an album based on the music of the original Malombo Jazzmen. The release date in August will coincide with the staging of the inaugural South Africa Jazz Festival, a flagship event organised under the aegis of his record label, Jabula Music.
“The South Africa Jazz Festival is an event that we have been planning since the dawn of our country’s democracy,” he reveals. “The festival will be a series of tours around the country. Jabula Music would like to work with jazz club organisers in all the provinces to facilitate this. I’m thrilled that, as a South African jazz musician, I’m involved in organising this historic event. It has been on my mind for many years,” he continues. The festival will feature jazz acts from several countries including the UK, Sweden, the US, Germany and Finland.
A veteran of four decades on international stages, Bahula is not new to organising music concerts. In the 1970s, he and his wife Liza were responsible for bookings at London’s Club 100, where his band Jabula had enjoyed a long­-running Friday night residency. The iconic jazz venue became a home away from home for exiled South African artists – including his bosom friend, Dumile Feni, the late painter, known among the art cognoscenti as “the Goya of the townships”The high point of Bahula’s involvement with live events was when he organised the first concert for Nelson Mandela’s birthday in 1983. Three years earlier, the Anti­Apartheid Movement had initiated the 'Release Mandela and all Political Prisoners' campaign, to promote awareness of Mandela’s incarceration on Robben Island.

On 18 July 1983, Mandela turned 65 and Bahula saw his birthday as an opportunity to organise a concert to promote the anti­-apartheid cause. Head of the Anti­-Apartheid Movement, Mike Terry, was convinced that it was a great idea. The result was the African Sound concert, which took place at the Alexandra Palace, London, on 17 July 1983. The line­-up included Hugh Masekela, who was performing for the first time on British soil; Ghanaian afro rock band Osibisa and South African saxophonist Dudu Pukwana with his band Zila
“We needed at least 5 000 people to cover the costs,” Liza Bahula later recalled. “It was a nerve-­racking experience!”

However, the concert became a big success. The event’s legacy was an album, African Sounds! For Mandela. It was released under the Bahula’s Tsafrica Productions. But the concert’s biggest legacy was its successor, the Nelson Mandela Birthday Concert in 1988 at Wembley Stadium. It was attended by over 90 000 revellers and was beamed live on TV to billions of viewers across the world.

An impromptu listening session at Bahula’s hotel room in Sandton, Joburg, reveals that years of hard work in the studio has yielded remarkably positive results.
“We have come a long way as Malombo Jazzmen,” says Bahula. “Since we started performing and recording together in the sixties, Philip Tabane, Abbey Cindi and I have written a lot of material which we never recorded. This album is about the original music of the Malombo Jazzmen recorded in a modern context,” he explains.

The album includes compositions by Tabane and Cindi, who he says have played an important role in his musical development. “Working with them again also means that I treasure my roots as a musician because I believe it is important to remember where you started your career,” he says. “Producing such an exciting album of the original Malombo Jazzmen is a great experience. The music tells the story of where we come from and where we started. Personally, it also shows where I’m heading.”

The bulk of the recording took place in the UK and features some of the musicians Bahula has worked with over the years since he went there as an exile in 1973. The as-­yet-­untitled album also features a younger generation of South Africans – upright bass player Mlungisi Gegana and guitarist George Georgiades. Their virtuosity takes the signature Malombo sound to another level.
The Malombo Jazzmen’s finest hour was in September 1964 at Orlando Stadium, Soweto. The event was the annual Castle Lager Jazz Festival. They astounded the crowd and walked away with first prize in the group category. It was a magical and defining moment in the history of South African jazz; an event that underscored Malombo as the best and most innovative jazz combo in the country.

“We were just three lads from Mamelodi who gave a lot of our time and talent to the South African music scene. We worked very hard to produce new and exciting sounds, so I think success was no coincidence,” he recalls. “We were very confident because our music was unique, not an imitation, and the three of us were like branches of the same tree. We had a similar sense of the sound we wanted to produce and there was chemistry on stage. The atmosphere was electrifying. Those who were there felt like it was the country’s freedom day!”

Unfortunately, Malombo Jazzmen’s success was short­lived. The following year they went their separate ways. Bahula and Cindi recruited guitarist Lucky Ranku and formed the Malombo Jazz Makers. They performed together until 1973, when Bahula went into exile in England, joining the ANC and the Anti­-Apartheid Movement as a cultural activist

In exile, Bahula formed Jabula, with a line­up including Australian, British and Afro-­Caribbean musicians, as well as fellow South African expatriates Ranku, Pinise Saul and the late bassist Ernest Mothle.

“I chose to work in exile to contribute my talent, time and energy to the freedom of our country,” he says. “I wanted to use music as a weapon of struggle and I wanted to continue where I had left off when I was working with Abbey Cindi and Tekon Players, a Durban-­based theatre and poetry group led by (Black Consciousness activists) Saths Cooper and Strini Moodley. “Working with Tekon Players was very exciting and scary but we were brave, especially because of our passion and commitment to the struggle. This experience taught me that it was possible to use the arts to fight against apartheid.”

On April 27, 2012 the South African government honoured Julian Sebothane Bahula with the Order of Ikhamanga. “I felt like the chapter of that long journey of our struggle for freedom was closing in an exciting and amazing way. It was so special to be recognised during the historic centenary year of the ANC and it was also appropriate that I was honoured in my hometown, the home of jazz, where it all started.”............. by Sam Mathe ...........

Alto Saxophone – Dudu Pukwana (tracks: A5, B1)
Backing Vocals – Maureen Koto Lembede
Baritone Saxophone – Peter Van Der Puije*
Bass – Mogotsi Mothle
Congas, Percussion – Willy Cheetham*
Drums [African], Percussion, Leader – Sebothane Bahula*
Drums, Percussion, Leader – Graham Morgan
Guitar, Percussion – Madumetja Ranku*
Keyboards – Jean Alain Roussel*
Lead Vocals – Vicky Busiswe Mhlongo
Producer – David Bloxham*
Saxophone, Flute – George Larnyoh
Tenor Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone – Ken Eley
Trumpet – Eddie Quansah (tracks: B4)

A1 Jabula Happiness
A2 Baile – They Are Gone
A3 Listen To Me Crying
A4 Naledi
A5 Badishi – Herdboys
B1 Thandi
B2 Siakala – We Are Sad
B3 Our Fathers
B4 Let Us Be Free 

Jabula (1975)
Thunder into Our Hearts (1976)
Jabula in Amsterdam (1978)
Afrika Awake (1978)
Jabula With Me (1982)

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..





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