Give the Drummer Some's
6 Favorite Downloads from the MP3 Blogosphere
Mining the Audio Motherlode mourns the passing of South African saxophonist Winston "Mankunku" Ngozi, who was silenced by heart disease on October 13. While many fellow musicians coming up in the 1960s expatriated themselves and garnered international attention, Mankunku and many others remained home to carve out a musical life in the belly of the apartheid beast. Life was no cakewalk for those who chose exile, but the soul-crushing indignities experienced by artists who stayed put were just devastating.
Born in 1943, Mankunku explored piano as a child, then switched to sax in his teens after falling under the spell of John Coltrane. When he was 19, the same year his hero recorded A Love Supreme, Mankunku performed as a soloist with an all-white big band, but laws forbidding inter-racial mixing forced him to play behind a screen while a white musician mimed a pale imitation. In 1968, Mankunku recorded a track expressing his anguish over Coltrane's death. The tune's title, Yakhal' inKomo, which translates from Xhosa as "Bellowing Bull," was a direct reference to the hideous sound cattle make as they approach the slaughterhouse. Less obvious to the apartheid censors was the song's symbolic reference to the defiant cry of an oppressed people. The song made Mankunku a hero of the townships and the album it appeared on became South Africa's greatest selling jazz record. • • • Listen to Yakhal' inKomo (mp3)
Leading off our half dozen offerings is a lovely LP from 1975 showcasing Mankunku and the jazz funk combo The Cliffs.
Mankunku Will Make You Smile
The Cliffs ~ "Alex Express"
Balla et Ses Balladins ~ "Balla et Ses Balladins"
Mahasti ~ "Del o Del"
(Blog: Snap, Crackle & Pop)
Give the Drummer Some, Fridays on WFMU, 9 to Noon (ET).
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