Serve with Curry and Rice: the Ghoemaisation of Jazz at the Cape

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Since its founding, Cape Town has been a regionally dominant site for arrivals by sea. Many of these were profoundly troublesome, but, in the pre-digital era especially, they also had a near monopoly on transnational musical flows to the Cape.

Local communities have long absorbed, mixed and – most interestingly – reconfigured these varied musical imports. The activities of the Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie brought the combination of Indonesian and Dutch musics that transmuted into Cape Malay Choir Nederlandsliedjies. And 19thC editions of the Cape Times evidence musical entertainments amongst English speaking settler communities that combined western art music, popular song and vaudeville acts in an arrangement adopted and adapted in the Concert and Dance culture of early South African jazz.

Various religious and military musics of European imperial forces have also been co-opted for local ends, as have Glee singing and minstrelsy, but it is a uniquely Capetonian articulation of jazz that is the focus here. Paying particular attention to one of Cape Town’s pre-eminent musical markers, the ghoema beat, this paper explores how that marker has been adapted from the moppies of the Kaapse Klopse and Cape Malay Choirs to shape the quintisential Cape Town sound, Cape Jazz.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jun 2013
EventBridge Over Troubled Waters: challenging orthodoxies. IASPM 17th Biennial Conference - Gijón, Spain
Duration: 24 Jun 201328 Jun 2013


ConferenceBridge Over Troubled Waters: challenging orthodoxies. IASPM 17th Biennial Conference

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