Strut follow their recent forays into Nigerian and Ethio grooves with a brand new wide-ranging three-part series exploring underground South African music during the late ‘60s and ‘70s, Next Stop Soweto Volume 1 explores the vibrant energy of the township jive sound, whilst Volumes 2 and 3, released across Spring and Summer 2010, cover rare SA soul, funk & Hammond R&B and the country’s rich jazz scene.
Jazz had been a fixture in South African music since the ‘50s and jive (or mbaqanga) initially emerged a decade later as a fusion combining elements of rural Zulu music and harmony vocal styles with Western instrumentation. Early stars like “groaner” Simon Mahlathini, Nkabinde and the Mahotella Queens were key in developing a colourful, danceable sound and a competitive scene began to flourish during the late ‘60s with rival female groups like Izintombi Zesi Manje Manje gaining in popularity.
With Next Stop Soweto, Strut trace some of the amazing music that often only appeared on short run 45s at the time, including tracks by smaller and lesser known bands that plied their trade under apartheid during the years before the tumultuous Soweto uprising of 1976. Featuring music recorded primarily for the local market, the album takes the listener far beyond the accepted township jive template into fusions with jazz, gospel, rumba, funk and traditional mining songs, all under-pinned by a gritty, uncompromising edge.
The Next Stop Soweto series is the result of several years of painstaking research and vinyl archaeology in South Africa by compilers Duncan Brooker and Francis Gooding. The CD package features an extensive booklet featuring detailed notes by Gooding alongside many previously unseen archive photos.