The Revival Of Jazz In South Africa


Jazz is once again back on its feet in South Africa. After many years of cultural oppression due to Apartheid, jazz is slowly but surely finding its way back to popularity in South Africa. However, the road to reconstruction is apparently not a smooth one, as many jazz musicians and the entire jazz community are still running into problems in South Africa. Despite this, the progress that has already been made is incredible and the future of jazz in this region has reached a new level of optimism.
In the 1920s there was an organist from the Eastern Cape called Boet Gashe who made his money, much like the early jazz musicians in America, by playing at wild parties in Johannesburg's black ...

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improvising an effective melody with the left. He would call for the aid of a matchstick to hold down a harmonic note. You get a delirious effect of perpetual motion -- perpetual motion in a musty hole where men made friends without restraint." (BEBEY-64)
This was marabi music, a foundation element of South African jazz and an indigenous product of the urban ghettoes that were a feature of South African cities for much of this century.(KEBEDE-40) Its distinctive rhythms, designed to bring some consolation and dignity to otherwise drab and oppressive working class districts, can still be heard in the music of jazz men and women who have today become giants in their field: Hugh Masekela, Abhudulla Ibrahim, Miriam Makeba and many others.(KEBEDE-47)
Many of these famous jazz artists have recently
returned from decades of exile. The repressive regulations that drove them away in the apartheid era have been abolished and broadcasting and recording opportunities are
open to ...

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from American jazz, especially the swing music of the big-band
O'CONNOR-4
era. Later still, the improvisational adventures of bebop were also drawn in.(GERARD-61)
But the chord progressions and improvisational style of marabi, together with excursions into the hexatonic mode of African choral singing continued to flavor the fusion and can still be heard in South African jazz today.(KEBEDE-133)
From its birth, it was dangerous music. It was performed at unregulated gatherings and drinking spots, rather than in the government-licensed and rigidly-controlled beer halls. Its practitioners were often classified as "vagrants", under constant threat of expulsion from the ...

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Added: 9/24/2004 06:32:46 AM
Category: American History
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 1560
Pages: 6

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