Spirit of Malombo

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Spirit of Malombo

By New Internationalist Editorial

julianbahula.jpg ©

Where do we start with Julian Bahula? He is one of the heroes of the ANC’s fight against apartheid. And many people know nothing about him.

Bahula is a jazz percussionist. His first LP – with the Malombo Jazz Makers – came out in South Africa in 1964. It was great for the development of Afrocentric jazz.

Bahula was at the centre of the fight against apartheid. He secretly brought in documents from other countries for the ANC. He worked with Steve Biko and sometimes he played in disguise (dressed as another person).

He left South Africa in 1973 with a false passport and went to Britain. He and his wife Liza helped people get to know South African music in Britain. And, in 1983, they organised the first Nelson Mandela birthday concert (with Hugh Masekela) in London.

Spirit of Malombo is a collection of music recorded between 1966 and 1984 in both South Africa and Europe. There are 25 songs from Bahula’s bands – Jabula, Jazz Afrika and the Malombo Jazz Makers.

This used to be expensive and difficult to find. But the new Spirit of Malombo is a great chance for more people to hear Bahula’s warm, politically daring music.

Look at this video of Bahula - the first music event about Nelson Mandela’s imprisonment and the fight against apartheid in South Africa. It is the ‘African Sounds’ concert at Alexandra Palace, London, in July 1983:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CXAl8Sp8HBM#t=28

There are interviews with Julian Bahula (who promoted the concert promoter and started the bands Malombo and Jabula), his wife Liza and Jerry Dammers of The Specials.

After he saw Jabula’s ‘Mandela’ at the concert, Dammers wrote the very big Special AKA hit, ‘Free Nelson Mandela’ and started Artists Against Apartheid in the UK.

The concerts did a lot to tell everyone about Mandela and the politics of apartheid in South Africa. And Bahula and Dammers know that politics and entertainment were mixed together when international stars sang at the big Mandela events at Clapham Common and Wembley.

Review by Louise Gray.

You can buy Spirit of Malombo from Amazon, iTunes and the Strut Store.

NOW READ THE ORIGINAL:http://newint.org/blog/2014/11/28/julian-bahula-malombo/ (This article has been simplified so the words, text structure and quotes may have been changed).