December 14th, 2009

Can’t stop looping “Weeping,” the anti-Apartheid tune recorded in 1987 by Cape Town group Bright Blue.  Perhaps I was trying to drown out Hollywood’s latest attempt to rewrite South Africa’s recent political history with “Invictus.” (For me “Weeping” is up there with Abdullah Ibrahim’s “Manenberg” as anthems of the anti-apartheid struggle).

The video, above, was directed by Nic Hofmeyr:

Filmed in a few locations on the Cape Flats (Langa? Athlone power station, Manenberg), the Bo-Kaap or Walmer Estate and briefly in the white suburbs (is that Rondebosch Common?),  featuring a solo by former Abdullah Ibrahim sideman, Basil Coetzee (at 1:47) and a brief instrumental reference to the South African anthem, “Nkosi Sikelel ‘iAfrika” (which was not spotted by South African censors at the time.

Then there’s “Lah’lumlenze” off “Zabalaza” the solo album of Bongo Maffin lead singer, Thandiswa Mazwai:

Thandiswa, by the way, comes from a long line of brilliant South African female vocalists like Abigail Kubeka. The clip below of her song “Yini Madoda” is from the film “Sophiatown” (2003) directed by Pascale Lamche. [The video contains some brilliant footage of Johannesburg by night.]

Then there’s Abdullah Ibrahim’s live rendition of his  composition “Cape Town Flower.” This was filmed in 1999.

Finally, I used to stop in Amsterdam a lot. On one of those trips a close friend took me to a jazz bar where I was introduced to a large, gregarious South African, Sean Bergin. He told us to hang around. Later he, playing the saxophone, jammed with the band. Bergin had been living in Amsterdam since the mid-1970s. In the video below, Bergin and Rogério Bicudo play their cover of Abdullah Ibrahim’s “Bombella.”

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Sean Jacobs

Otherwise known as Hasan Wasan.

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