Rabbitt was a South African rock band that released three albums between 1975 and 1977 on Jo’Burg. Trevor Rabin headed their first two albums, Boys Will Be Boys! and A Croak and a Grunt in the Night, both issued stateside on Capricorn. Duncan Faure led their third album, Rock Rabbitt. Rabin launched a solo career […]

Trevor Rabin

Trevor Rabin (born Jan. 13, 1984) is a South African-born/U.S.-naturalized guitarist, keyboardist, songwriter, and producer with a musical career that dates to the early 1970s. He first emerged in the Johannesburg art-rock/pop band Rabbitt, which he joined at age 18 in 1972. Rabbitt scored locally with the chart-topping symphonic-ballad “Charlie” and the album Boys Will […]

The Soul of the City

The Soul of the City was a South African jazz-funk/soul studio project that accounted for three mid-1970s albums with variants of the title City Soul. The first release in the series is a 1974 all-star compilation on Satbel-imprint Soweto with tracks by Care Free, Margaret Singana, and the Superlove Band. The following two albums are […]


Roots were a South African jazz-funk band that released two albums on Highway Soul in 1975. Members: Barney Rachabane (alto saxophone), Dennis Mpale (trumpet), Duke Makhasa (tenor saxophone), Sipho Gumede (bass), Peter Morake (drums), Jabu Nkosi (organ) Discography: Roots (1975) Deeper Roots (1975)

Movement in the City

Movement in the City were a South African jazz-funk band from Johannesburg that released two albums on The Sun label between 1979 and 1981. Members: Pops Mohamed (keyboards), Basil Coetzee (tenor saxophone), Robbie Jansen (alto saxophone), Sipho Gumede (bass), Roger Harry (drums), Gilbert Mathews (drums, 1979) Discography: Movement in the City (1979) Black Teardrops (1981)

Spirits Rejoice

Spirits Rejoice were a South African jazz-funk band that released the album African Spaces on Atlantic in 1977, followed by Spirits Rejoice! on Jo’Burg in 1978. Members: George Tyefumani (trumpet, percussion, vocals), Thabo Mashishi (trumpet), Duke Makasi (tenor/soprano saxophone), Robbie Jansen (vocals, flute, alto saxophone), Mervyn Africa (piano, Fender Rhodes electric piano, ARP synthesizer, strings), […]


Circus were a South African hard-rock/pop band from Port Elizabeth that released the album In the Arena with two accompanying singles on EMI-subsidiary Sunshine Records in 1977. The members also handled instrumental chores on the studio recordings by contemporaneous girl band Clout. Members: Bernie Millar (vocals), Bones Brettell (keyboards), Gary van Zyl (bass), Sandy Robbie […]


Kabasa were a South African funk band from Soweto that released two albums on Atlantic in 1980/81, followed by a third on Lyncell Records in 1982. Members: Robert “Doc” Mthalane (guitar), Tata “TNT” Sibeko (bass, vocals), Oupa Segwai (percussion) Discography: Kabasa (1980) Searching (1981) African Sunset (1982)

Hugh Masekela

Hugh Masekela (April 4, 1939 — Jan. 23, 2018) was a South African cornetist and flugelhorn player from Witbank, Mpumalanga. Discography: Trumpet Africane (1962) Grrr (1966) Hugh Masekela’s Next Album (1966) The Americanization of Ooga Booga (1966) Hugh Masekela’s Latest (1967) The Emancipation of Hugh Masekela (1967) Masekela (1968) The Promise of a Future (1968) […]


Harari were a South African funk band that released the album Rufaro Happiness on The Sun label in 1976, followed by 10 further albums on Gallo and Rufaro between 1977 and 1986. Members: Saitana [aka Monty Ndimande] (guitar), Selby Ntuli (guitar), Condry Ziqubu, Alec Khaoli (bass), Robert Doc Mthalane (guitar), Sipho Mabuse (drums, saxophone, vocals, […]


éVoid were a South African New Wave band from Johannesburg that released two albums with accompanying singles on WEA between 1983 and 1986. Members: Lucien Windrich (vocals, guitar), Erik Windrich (vocals, keyboards, guitar), Terry Andalis (bass, 1977-82), Danny de Wet (drums, 1977-82), José “Aggi” D’Aguiar (vocals, 1977-82), George Voros (percussion, 1977-83), Wayne Harker (drums, 1983-present) […]

Abstract Truth

Abstract Truth were a South African psych-rock band that released two albums in the early 1970s. The band was headed by former Freedom’s Children guitarist Kenny Henson, who later recorded solo and in partnership with singer/songwriter Brian Finch. The band’s second album, Totem, also features ex-Third Eye percussionist Robbie Pavid. Members: Kenny Henson (guitar, vocals), […]

Dick Khoza

Dick Khoza is a Malawi-born Afro-jazz/funk musician who released the album Chapita on the South African Sun (الشمس) label in 1976. The album features performances from Soul of the City trumpeter Themba Mehlomakulu and ubiquitous saxist Ezra Ngcukana, who also appeared on Barney Rachabane’s concurrent Sweet Matara LP. Discography: Chapita (1976)


Hawk were a South African hard-rock/psych band that released two albums on Parlophone during the early 1970s. The band included ex-Suck/Freedom’s Children guitarist Julian Laxton and Tidal Wave drummer Ivor Black. Vocalist Dave Ornellas had fronted 1960s beat group The Idiots. In 1973, Hawk released Live and Well, a concert recording that features the 15-minute […]

John Kongos

John Kongos is a South African pop/rock musician, vocalist, and songwriter who was active during the 1960s and early ’70s. He first emerged at age 15 in 1961 as a member of Johannesburg rock ‘n’ roll sensation the G-Men. Within a year, he assumed featured billing in the band’s nameplate. The band scored home-country hits […]

The Third Eye

The Third Eye — alternately spelled Thyrd Eye — were a South African psych-rock band from Durban that released three albums between 1969 and 1970 on the local branch of Polydor. Drummer Robbie Pavid also played in Abstract Truth. Members: Ronnie Selby (guitar), Maurice Saul (vocals, guitar), Dawn Selby (piano, Hammond organ), Robbie Pavid (drums), […]


Xoliso were a South African Afrobeat ensemble that issued the album Shingwanyana on the Soweto label in 1974. The project included drummer Johnny Motuba, who would briefly play with early ’80s jazz-funk/soul combo Kabasa. In 1982, he resurrected the Xoliso nameplate with different personnel for one further album. Members: Johnny Motuba (drums), Abel Nkambule, Percy […]

Pacific Express

Pacific Express were a South African jazz-funk/soul ensemble that released three albums during the late 1970s. The band evolved from ’60s soul outfit the Pacifics and maintained a revolving door lineup over the years that served as a launching pad for up-and-comers on the Cape Town jazz scene. In 1976, Pacific Express debuted with Black […]

Louis Moholo Octet

Louis Moholo (born March 10, 1940) is a South African drummer who has been active on the international avant-garde jazz scene since the early 1960s. Over the years, he has backed high-profile soloists from England, Italy, Germany, and the U.S., including Archie Shepp, Cecil Taylor, Elton Dean, Enrico Rava, and Peter Brötzmann. Moholo first rose to […]

Kalahari Surfers

The Kalahari Surfers are a South African avant-garde/experimental rock band that was initially active as a recording unit during the mid-to-late 1980s. The bands music from this period often juxtaposed manic, zolo-ish arrangements with strident, political lyrics. The Surfers’ first proper album, Own Affairs, appeared in 1984 on the Gross National Products label, founded by […]


Juluka were a South African mbaqanga duo comprised of guitarists/vocalists Johnny Clegg and Sipho Mchunu. The two came together in 1969 as teenagers and performed in Johannesburg for nearly a decade as Johnny and Sipho. Renamed Juluka and augmented with backing players, the duo debuted on CBS in 1979 with the album Universal Men. Eight […]

Johnny Dyani

Johnny Mbizo Dyani (Nov. 30, 1945 — Oct. 24, 1986) was a South African double-bassist who emerged as one of the founding members of Cape Town jazz heroes the Blue Notes, in which he played alongside saxist Dudu Pukwana, drummer Louis Moholo, and trumpeter Mongezi Feza. Just as the Blue Notes began making waves in […]


Jabula were a London-based Afro-jazz/funk collective comprised mostly of South African and Ghanaian musicians. The band released five albums between 1975 and 1982. Star saxist Dudu Pukwana played on the first two albums, which were issued on the Caroline-subsidiary of Virgin. Subsequent releases appeared on the band’s eponymous imprint. At the peak of their activity, […]

Allen Kwela

Allen Kwela (Sept. 11, 1939 – July 1, 2003) was a South African jazz guitarist who released three albums during the 1970s. His first, Allen’s Soul Bag, was recorded with an eponymous octet and released on the Atlantic City label. Subsequent recordings appeared on the Soweto and Ring imprints. He later explored his namesake roots […]

Genevieve Waite

Genevieve Waite (born Feb. 13, 1948) is a South African actress and singer who achieved cult-status opposite Donald Sutherland in the 1968 swinging London drama Joanna. In 1970, she co-starred with Elliot Gould and Paula Prentiss in the American comedy Move and also played an uncredited role in the infamous Raquel Welch-vehicle Myra Breckinridge, adopted from […]

Freedom’s Children

Freedom’s Children were a South African psych-rock band that was primarily active as a recording unit between 1967 and 1973. Amid several lineup changes, the band released three albums on Parlophone. The band included Abstract Truth string-masters Ramsay Mackay and Kenny Henson as well as Hawk guitarist Julian Laxton. Future Rabbitt/Yes guitarist and songwriter Trevor […]


Canamii were a South African symphonic/jazz-rock studio project assembled by two local music-industry insiders, keyboardist/composer Phillip Nel and vocalist/lyricist Claire Whittaker, both of whom worked for the Johannesburg branch of EMI. The nameplate is an altered portmanteau of their respective zodiac sings — Nel being a Cancer and Whittaker a Gemini. The latter roped in […]

Dudu Pukwana

Dudu Pukwana (July 18, 1938 — June 30, 1990) was a South African jazz saxist and composer who rose to prominence during the mid-1960s as a member of the Blue Notes, one of the first Cape Town acts to court an international audience. Under the leadership of pianist Chris McGregor, the band morphed into the […]

Dollar Brand

Dollar Brand was the performance moniker of South African jazz pianist Abdullah Ibrahim. The name was used on most of his releases between 1965 and 1981 and also referred, collectively, to his backing ensembles during this time. In the latter sense, musicians such as Barney Rachabane, Basil Coetzee, Cecil McBee, Charles Sullivan, Enrico Rava, John Stubblefield, […]

Black Disco

Black Disco were a South African Afro-jazz/funk band that released three albums on The Sun (الشمس) label between 1975 and 1976. The band’s second album, Night Express, has gained a cult audience since its 2016 reissue on Matsuli Music. Included in the lineup was Dollar Brand saxist Basil Coetzee, who played concurrently in Pacific Express. […]


Batsumi were a South African spiritual-jazz ensemble that released two albums during the mid-1970s. Members: Zulu Bidi (bass), Lancelot Sello Mothopeng (piano), Johnny Masweswe Mothopeng (guitar), Thomas Thabang Masemola (flute, drums), Themba Koyana (tenor saxophone), Abel Lekgabe Maleka (drums), Buta-Buta Zwane (bongos) Discography: Batsumi (1974) Moving Along (1976)


Assagai were a London-based Afro-rock quintet comprised of three South African and two Ghanaian musicians. The band released two albums, both in 1971, on the Vertigo “swirl” label. Among the players involved were Blue Notes mainstays Dudu Pukwana, Louis Moholo, and Mongezi Feza, all of whom played concurrently in Chris McGregor’s Brotherhood of Breath. Assagai’s […]

Robert Calvert

Robert Calvert (1945–1988) was a poet, singer, and songwriter, best known for his stints in the English space-rock band Hawkwind. He first joined as their performance poet on the 1972/73 releases “Silver Machine,” Doremi Fasol Latido, and Space Ritual. As a solo artist, he issued the 1974/75 UA albums Captain Lockheed and the Starfighters and […]