Writing about music is like dancing about architecture

Thursday, 24 May 2012


My very first South African jazz record. Given to me by a friend in Johannesburg along with some non-jazz stuff.
My mum used to play this, he told me. Its a an anti-aphartheid anthem, he said.
Well, when I first played it I must confess I couldn't see why, an instrumental, should have any great political significance - beautiful as the song is.
If you want to know more about how it was made and how it came to be an anthem as well as an icon click here to read an amazing article about Dollar Brand and Mannenburg.
Its full of interesting stuff, such as the fact that the piano had drawing pins in the hammers (I'd always thought that - I wonder if its the same piano that crops up on other As-Shams, The Sun records?), that Mannenburg is spelt with two 'n's on the cover but only one in real life and the lady on the front is Gladys Williams, Morris Goldberg's former housekeeper.
It also puts the song in the political context of its time, which is essential.
Well worth reading in my opinion.
And here is the song in question to listen to while you do:

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