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Soweto Blues: Jazz, Popular Music and Politics in South Africa

by Gwen Ansell - £30.00  Continuum International Publishing Group (2004)
hardback    ISBN 13: 9780826416629 | ISBN 10: 0826416624

Soweto Blues springs from the voices of dozens of South African jazzmen and women who lived through the apartheid years. From well-known international figures like Hugh Masekela to the neighbourhood heroes of small communities, the book uses the testimonies of musicians to describe how apartheid impacted on the lives of ordinary (and sometimes extraordinay) people, and how the struggle against it inspired their music. One musician tells of the young Nelson Mandela jiving in township dancehalls; another recalls the nightmare drive home from a rehearsal through the blood and teargas of the Soweto uprising.
Gwen Ansell skillfully illuminates these fascinating and revealing testimonies by providing a panoramic background of social life, politics, and legislation. Soweto Blues offers a musical history of South Africa from the earliest years of colonial settlement to liberation and beyond - covering everything from traditional and choral music to the contemporary pop phenomenon of kwaito (township house music). And the book includes unique material on the experiences of South African musicians in exile: in America, Europe, and the rest of Africa.
Soweto Blues is a fitting tribute to the power of music to inspire optimism and self-expression in the darkest of times.

(Price & availability last checked: March 2021)

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