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Chimurenganyana: A Silent Way: Routes of South African Jazz, 1946-1978 by Julian Jonker (June 2012)

Chimurenganyana: A Silent Way: Routes of South African Jazz, 1946-1978 by Julian Jonker (June 2012)

“Where to begin? There are, firstly, names:

Mankunku, McGregor, Brand.

Moeketsi, Moholo, Dyani.

Pukwana, Gwangwa, Coetzee.

Nkanuka, Ngcukana,

Mongezi Feza.

Just a few, to give you a taste. Don’t fret because you haven’t heard their records before. Say the names slowly, as you would recite a poem. Let the consonants roll languidly off your tongue and stretch your lips to pronounce each vowel, and you will already hear distant strains of music.

There are also photographs. Photographs by Basil Breaky, who documented the scene in Johannesburg and Cape Town just before its hottest players made their ways to Europe, leaving the cities to grow dark and silent. One picture: Abdullah Ibrahim, head bent over the keyboard of his piano, his arm stretched over into its gut, plucking its strings. Arched over, listening to some deeper music from the piano’s heart.”

Julian Jonker is a writer and cultural producer living in Cape Town. He is also a member of the Fong Kong Bantu Sound System, a DJ collective, and performs appropriationist sound as liberation chabalala. Basil Breakey is a photographer based in Cape Town. He is the author of the acclaimed Beyond The Blues – Township Jazz in the 60s and 70s.


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