Abdullah Ibrahim


Thursday, April 17th, 2014

Basil Breakey’s images: An important recording of South Africa Jazz

A few weeks ago, the Central Library in the Cape Town made a book maze from books that were intended to be pulped. Inserted in between the stacks of books that were packed on the first floor, coming up to my shoulders, and sitting atop the stack was a book, Beyond the Blues: Township Jazz in the...

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

Jazz in Cape Town

In Cape Town jazz here is not just jazz. It’s a whole lot more. For one, it is a dance style that continues to be the predominant feature of successive generations of Cape Flats families. Almost similar...

Saturday, December 14th, 2013

Playlist: South African Jazz for Nelson Mandela

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, the man that so many South Africans have come to love, even those who grew up being taught that he was a communist and a terrorist when communism was portrayed as a great evil....

Sunday, December 8th, 2013

Songs for Mandela: Weekend Music Break 64

This post combines Steffan’s wonderful playlist of South African tunes of and for Nelson Mandela and the international playlist we published when we first heard news of the great man’s death. When we sent around the AIAC...

Friday, December 6th, 2013

Songs for Mandela [South African Edition]

This is the South African edition of our selection of Songs for Nelson Mandela. Last night we posted the international edition and many of our readers asked if we’d forgotten about the many South African musicians who’d written...

Thursday, October 17th, 2013

Remembering Sathima Bea Benjamin

“Hi Rashid, is it true?”, “Yes Matt she is on the other side.” With what feels like a physical blow to the body I try to make sense of it all. Barely a month earlier I was...

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

Kyle Shepherd X

Artists loathe hyper-intellectualism. Rationalization tends to eradicate emotion and surrendering passion becomes another way to pay the devil. But then there are those artists whose intellectualism is a birthright, not by choice and inescapable. Take, for example,...

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

Sathima Benjamin, jazz and postwar “modern” Africa

The life and career of the South African jazz singer Sathima Bea Benjamin have been the subject of both popular and scholarly attention lately. In the last two years alone, she’s been the subject of an excellent documentary film (Sathima’s...

Friday, October 19th, 2012

Bonus Jazz Break: 1968 clip of pianist Abdullah Ibrahim

Uploaded in mid-August on YouTube, this 1968 clip may be the earliest known clip of Abdullah Ibrahim. In the video, a wiry (all arms and legs) Ibrahim is performing with his band at the time — consisting of...

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

Steve Bloom photographs 1970s Cape Town

The London Festival of Photography has opened, and one of its most appealing features is an exhibition of images by Steve Bloom – Beneath the Surface – a unique document of South African life in the 1970s....

Friday, March 16th, 2012

Sathima Bea Benjamin’s Windsong

In Toronto-based Dan Yon's documentary of Sathima “Bea” Benjamin, the Cape Town-born jazz singer, the narration moves back and forth between New York City, where Benjamin was a long-term resident, and Cape Town, where she began singing...

Saturday, March 10th, 2012

Louis Moholo’s drum

On a recent trip to London I was hoping to catch a performance by Cape Town drummer Louis Moholo Moholo, the last surviving member of the famed jazz bands, The Blue Notes and The Brotherhood of Breath....

Monday, August 8th, 2011

Nicolas Jaar covers Abdullah Ibrahim

From May this year: “… an unrehearsed, first-take cut” of Nicolas Jaar‘s remix (recorded in London) of Abdullah Ibrahim’s jazz track “Ishmael”.

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

Music Break

Via the excellent Matsuli Music: I’ve been hunting down a copy of this LP for many moons when out of the blue I saw one of my favourite stores (Honest Jon’s in London) advertising a new vinyl reissue...

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

When Monk met Dollar Brand

From historian Robin Kelley’s retelling of the day in 1964 that Thelonious Monk met the South African jazz pianist Abdullah Ibrahim, then still known as Dollar Brand: … were at Kongresshaus in Zurich...

Monday, June 28th, 2010

Review: “Next Stop … Soweto”

Recently I reviewed the new 3-part Strutt Records compilation, “Next Stop … Soweto,” for The National. The album series are re-releases of rare 45s and other recordings from 1960s and 1970s South Africa. The first installment showcases “Township Sounds from...

Thursday, December 31st, 2009


Abdullah Ibrahim has a new album with the WDR Big Band Cologne, “Bombella.” I haven’t seen it yet. Meanwhile here is a short “portrait” of Ibrahim by a French TV channel. Some rare footage of...

Monday, November 16th, 2009


Still working. Time for Abdullah Ibrahim. Classic piece of video of him playing with long-time bandmember Carlos Ward. In 1984 in Communist Poland. 10 minute long clip of “Water from an Ancient Well” and “The Wedding.”

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009


I got an email this morning from Johannesburg-based music journalist, Gwen Ansell: “… For those of you who have not already heard the sad news, I’ve just heard from Rashid Lombard in Cape Town that Winston Mankunku...

Wednesday, August 5th, 2009


Robbie Jansen (a Cape Town alumnus of Abdullah Ibrahim’s various bands) turns 60 today. Jansen, who fell ill last year, now performs with an oxygen tank close by.  The video is from a live performance in 2007.