Township comets: The impact of South African jazz on the UK scene

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


That South African jazz musicians have been heavily influenced by musicians from the United States is both understandable and well understood. Various scholars including Coplan (2007), Ansell (2004), Martin (1999), Ballantine (1993), and Erl- man (1991), have traced the early history of this influence to visits by minstrel troupes and jubilee singers in the late nineteenth century. Ballantine (1993) informs us that in the mid twentieth century the influence continued to be important and, on occasion, it was made overt by groups with names such as the African Inkspots and the Manhattan Brothers doing superb imitations of the Inkspots and the Mills Brothers. Indeed artists continued to acknowledge their influences throughout the twentieth century and into the twenty-first century; Chris McGregor’s “Sweet As Honey” (MUSEA 1988) was dedicated to Thelonious Monk and featured a typi- cally Monk-esque harmonic sequence, whilst Winston Mankunku Ngozi’s admira- tion for John Coltrane and Wayne Shorter can be found in more than just the title of “Dedication (To Daddy Trane and Brother Shorter)”. (WRC 1968; Sheer Sound 2003). But as more and more South African jazz artists sought refuge from the brutal politics at home they travelled and practiced their music overseas, notably in the United Kingdom (Abrahams, Africa, Bahula, Deppa, Dyani, Feza, Jolobe, Lipere, Matthews, McGregor, Mahlobo, Miller, Moholo-Moholo, Mothle, Mseleku, Pukwana, Ranku, Saul and Williams, amongst others). Drawing on personal inter- views and recorded music, this paper traces the influence of exiled South African musicians on UK musicians and their music.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationiaspm 2011 proceedings
Subtitle of host publicationSituating popular musics
EditorsEd Montano, Carlo Nardi
PublisherInternational Association for the Study of Popular Music
VolumeIASPM 16th International Conference Proceedings
ISBN (Electronic)2225-0301
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012
Event16th Biennial IASPM conference 'Situating Popular Musics' - Grahamstown, South Africa
Duration: 27 Jun 20111 Jul 2011


Conference16th Biennial IASPM conference 'Situating Popular Musics'
Country/TerritorySouth Africa


  • jazz
  • United Kingdom
  • South Africa
  • diaspora
  • exile

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