DVDs featuring kwela
For real Kwela afficianados, the DVD of the black & white chronicle of the Newport (Rhode Island) Folk Festival in 1963, '64, and '65 features a short clip from Spokes Mashiyane (about 45 secs) playing Zoo Garden (or is it Zoo Park. Can't remember)
The British Film Institute have released a retrospective of the British filmaker Geoffrey Jones, who sadly died in 2005. The man was a pioneer - not least because he had the gumption to use kwela music for the backing of a seminal advert for Shell petrol. It's a work of genius. He was good enough to get in touch with the band and get us to record some more kwela for him (currently unreleased) - obviously we could never hope to match Lemmy Mabaso, who recorded the theme of the advert 'Shell Spirit' when he was at the height of his  fame -  in between visits to the pub in Soho round the corner from where they recorded it. Every film student should look at this brilliant two minutes - you can view it on the archives of the BFI website if you're in a UK library or school (http://www.screenonline.org.uk/film/id/1056888/) - or better still buy the DVD - The Rhythm of Film. 
(The DVD also features "Chair a Plane kwela", recorded by Albert Ramulini, who is now archivist at Gallo Records in South Africa) Many of Geoffrey's other industrial films are fantastic, including Snow, which was nominated for an Oscar in 1963.  If you're very lucky, you may be able to track down a flexidisc of the original track for 'Shell Spirit', which was given away free in garages.)
kwela miscellany
Just The Facts... 
(do hope you're taking notes)

Extracted from Grovemusic.com "The World's premier authority on all aspects of music" 

 Isizulu term for an urban musical genre popular in southern Africa during the 1950s and early 60s. According to South African musicologist Elkin Sithole, use of the term in music first occurred during the 1940s in connection with a new Zulu vocal music known as the 'bombing style' (Kubik, 1974, p.13; Rycroft, 1957, p.33). When the leader wanted the chorus to respond, he shouted 'kwela'! 'Kwela-kwela' expressed the continuous responses of the chorus.

 1. History. Kwela became associated with bands of flute-playing youths in South African townships in the 1950s. Under the influence of jazz records and cinema in the 1940s featuring North American big band jazz by Count Basie, Woody Herman, Lionel Hampton, Glenn Miller, Cab Calloway and others, the ambition of young boys was to emulate swing jazz with the means accessible to them. The reed and brass sections of the North American bands were represented by metal, end-blown flutes, locally called 'pennywhistles', and a new playing technique developed. The double bass was represented by a one-string skiffle bass made from a tea chest (see Benseler, 1973--4 for a photograph) and the playing techniques of an older African instrument, the ground-bow, were revived.

 A new style emerged, generally called 'jive' by the performers. The mass media gradually became interested, and, according to David Rycroft, pennywhistle playing first became popular after a locally made film, The Magic Garden, featured a pennywhistle boogie played by a crippled boy (1958, p.55). The new music increasingly heard on street corners in Johannesburg, Cape Town and other large cities soon attracted the attention of South African record company talent scouts and was then marketed as 'New Sound', 'Flute Jive' and 'Kwela'. Some of its exponents became stars, in particular Spokes Mashiyane ('King Kwela') and Lemmy Special Mabaso. The record industry readily adopted the term kwela for the genre.

In the late 1950s kwela music spread to the states of the then Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland (1954--63), now Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi, where it gained new roots. During the 1960s it developed particularly in Malawi by the musician-composers Daniel and Donald Kachamba (Kubik, 1974; Malamusi, 1994, pp.34--9). With some modifications and a great number of original compositions, Donald Kachamba is one of the last surviving authentic representatives of the kwela tradition in contemporary southern Africa. He has played the flute since he was eight years old, when his family lived in Harare, Zimbabwe, and his elder brother, the late Daniel Kachamba trained him. At the age of 14, he impressed audiences with his prolific solo variations (see the film, Kachamba Brothers 1967, part 1, 'Where can I get Emery', a ten-bar rock blues). Since 1972 he has been on concert and lecture tours in no fewer than 33 countries and has released recordings and films. Among his most remarkable contributions as a composer are his multiple flute pieces recorded with a playback technique (Kubik, 1979--80). His music integrates the experience of 1950s kwela with contemporaneous central and southern African styles.

 2. Form. Kwela music is based on short, four-segment harmonic cycles such as: CFCG7 and CC7F(6)G7. These cycles, expanded and circumscribed by substitute chords, have continued into the more recent forms of South African popular music such as simanje-manje and Mbaqanga. Jazz-type chorus forms are occasionally found in kwela, as is the 12-bar blues form, for example in Lemmy Special Mabaso's '4th Avenue Blues'.
 Beginning in 1958, South African pennywhistle players used flutes marketed by the Hohner company of Trossingen, Germany, and developed for mass production from samples collected by a Hohner agent in Johannesburg from a township youth who had made them locally. Unprotected by patent laws, the original designer will probably never be known. The Hohner flutes were available in C, Bb and G. At the height of the kwela craze, Hohner sold up to 100,000 annually in South Africa alone.
 The Hohner flute has a cylindrical bore and six finger-holes. In the manufacturing process, a nickel-plated brass tube is sawn off and galvanized, then the head or mouthpiece is formed. Kwela musicians developed a unique embouchure. From the view of the player, the flute is rotated 45? and pushed relatively deep into the inner side of the right cheek, resulting in an oblique head position. The oblique embouchure guarantees that the edge and pipe remain open between the lips of the player. The purpose of the deeper insertion of the flute is to obtain a full, round and much louder tone, as the cavity of the mouth, such as in the performance of the mqangala (mouth-bow), becomes a variable resonating chamber. 
 Blue notes, jazz-type glides and chromatic intermediate sounds were achieved by slight modification of embouchure, finger smearing etc. Several types of trill were also employed. Much of this technique can be studied in the film made of Donald Kachamba (Encyclopaedia Cinematographica E2328, Gottingen), who plays with the original kwela embouchure and fingering technique.

 and other resources
 D. Rycroft: 'Zulu Male Traditional Singing', AfM, i/4 (1957), 33--5 
 D. Rycroft: 'The New ''Town Music'' of Southern Africa', Recorded Folk Music, i, 54--7 
 A. Benseler: 'Beobachtungen zur Kwela-Musik 1960 bis 1963', Jazz Research, v (1973--4), 119--26 
 G. Kubik: The Kachamba Brothers' Band: a Study of Neo-Traditional Music in Malawi, Zambian Paper, ix (Lusaka, Zambia and Manchester, 1974) 
 G. Kubik: 'Donald Kachamba's Montage Recordings: Aspects of Urban Music History in Malawi', African Urban Studies, vi (1979--80), 89--122 
 G. Kubik et al.: Malawian Music: a Framework for Analysis (Limbe, Malawi, 1987) 
 G. Kubik and M.A. Malamusi: 'Toleranzbreite fur improvisatorische Variationen in der kwela-Musik (sudliches Afrika)', 3. Europaischer Kongress fur Jazzpadagogik und improvisierte Musik, ed. I. Storb (Duisburg, 1991) 
 M.A. Malamusi: 'Rise and Development of a Chileka Guitar Style in the 1950s', For Gerhard Kubik: Festschrift, ed. A. Schmidhofer and D. Schuller (Frankfurt, 1994), 7--72 
 L. Allen: 'Drumbeats, Pennywhistles and all that Jazz: the Relationship between Urban South African Musical Styles and Musical Meaning', AfM, vii/3 (1996), 52--9 
 C. Ballantine: 'Fact, Ideology and Paradox: African Elements in Early Black South African Jazz and Vaudeville', AfM, vii/3 (1996), 44--51 
 L. Allen: 'Kwela: the Structure and Sound of Pennywhistle Music', Composing the Music of Africa, ed. M. Floyd (London, 1998), 227--63 
 C. Ballantine: Marabi Nights: Early South African Jazz and Vaudeville (Johannesburg, forthcoming) recordings
 Elias and his Zig-Zag Five Flutes, Columbia DB 4109 Flute Kwela Africa, Columbia/EMI 33 JSX 60 
 Pennywhistle Boys, film, dir. K. Law (n.d.) [with Robert Sithole, Isaac Ngoma and Joshua Sithole] 
 The Magic Garden [also released as Pennywhistle Blues], film, dir. D. Swanson (1950) 
 S. Mashiyane: King Kwela, Rave RMG 1107 (1959) Something New from Africa [featuring Lemmy Special Mabaso], Decca LK 4292 (1959) 
 Kachamba Brothers' 1967, Part I, videotape, WBS Tonstudio (Vienna, 1993) [originally filmed in 1967] 
 Donald Kachamba's Kwela Music: Malawi Twist, film, Encyclopaedia Cinematographica E2328 (Gottingen, 1978)
 Donald Kachamba's Band: Simanje-manje and Kwela from Malawi, A.I.T. Records Nairobi GKA 01 (1979) 
 Kwela with Lemmy and other Penny Whistlers, Gallotone GALP 1246 (1984) 
 Opeka Nyimbo, Museum Collection MC 15, Museum fur Volkerkunde, Berlin (1989) [incl. notes by G. Kubik] 
 Kaseti ya Nyimbo za Chikumbutso cha Malemu Daniel Kachamba [Cassette of songs of remembrance for Daniel Kachamba], Department of Fine and Performing Arts, University of Malawi (1992) [historical recordings 1967--83] 
 Concert Kwela: Donald Kachamba et son ensemble en concert, Le Chant du Monde LDX 274972, CM 212 (1994) 
 Donald Kachamba's Kwela Band: Live and in Donald Kachamba's Studio, Popular African Music Pamap 103, Frankfurt (1999)

MBAQANGA In the early 1960s a second style called mbaqanga evolved from 1950s pennywhistle kwela and sax jive, a transition best exemplified by the Hollywood Jazz Band. It was the first South African style to be fundamentally created in the recording studio for a mass media audience rather than for live performance and came to dominate popular music in South African townships during the 1960s and 70s. Like that of its antecedents, the harmonic base of mbaqanga is the cyclical repetition of four primary chords. Short melodies, usually the length of the harmonic cycle, are repeated and alternated with slight variations, and call-and-response generally occurs between solo and chorus parts. The characteristics that differentiate mbaqanga from previous styles are a driving, straight beat, rather than swung rhythms; melodic independence between instrumental parts, the bass and lead guitars providing particularly strong contrapuntal lines; and electric rather than acoustic guitars and bass guitar. Many of these innovations were initially developed by the Gallo Recording Company's premier backing group, the Makhona Tsohle Band, particularly Marks Mankwane (guitar) and Joseph Makwela (bass), who were the first black South Africans to exploit the possibilities of electric instruments. A typical mbaqanga band consists of lead, rhythm and bass guitars and drums (occasionally with an accordion, concertina or violin), backing a solo saxophone or vocalists. Top saxophonists included West Nkosi, Thomas Phale and Lulu Masilela. Vocal mbaqanga came to be known as Mqashiyo.  BIBLIOGRAPHY and other resources D. Coplan: In Township Tonight: South Africa's Black City Music and Theatre (Johannesburg, 1985), 183--8 
 The King and Queens of Township Jive: Modern Roots of the Indestructible Beat of Soweto, Earthworks/Virgin CDEWV 20 (1990) 
 Sixteen Original Sax Jive Hits, perf. W.L. Nkosi, Gallo Music CDZAC 57 (1991)
 >From Marabi to Disco: 42 Years of Township Music, Gallo Music CDZAC61 (1994) 
 R. Allingham: 'Township Jive: From Pennywhistle to Bubblegum: the Music of South Africa', World Music: the Rough Guide, ed. S. Broughton and others (London, 1994), 



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