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The SA Rock Digest is a discussion forum for anything about
South African rock music; past, present and future.

Read it, digest it, enjoy it, send in your comments
and tell your friends....

"Rock" is a very general term encompassing rock and roll,
pop, folk, rock, ethnic-rock, prog-rock, jazz-rock, country-rock,
soul, R&B, metal, indie, alternative, new wave, reggae, etc, etc.

Don't get hung up...if you want to say something about the music
YOU like, go ahead, say it.

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Established January 1999.
Currently mailed to over 300 subscribers.



Here's a web-site that may interest you - thanks to the National Arts Council of South Africa. The first CD collection (a double at that) from the 'Hidden Years' Music archives - 8 years of Splashy Fen. Live recordings of a Sound African Music Experience - Sound stream samples & the coffee table book.

PLEASE NOTE THAT 3rd EAR MUSIC have not been involved with the production of the Splashy Fen Festivals since 1997. With permission, we are the producers of the archive recordings of the festival from 1990 to 1998.

3rd Ear Music hope to have their own site soon with more hidden history CD projects. Later this month "20 YEARS OF ROGER LUCEY - The Road is 20 years Longer" - See the presentation of CUTTING GROOVES - an exhibition of "Censorship of Music under Apartheid - a Celebration of Resistance through Music" - GRAHAMSTOWN ARTS FESTIVAL - Rhodes University - 29th June to the 11th July - Downstairs at the Rhodes Club (below the Kaif).



David Marks
3rd Ear Music Company
The Hidden Years Music Archive Project
Tel: (27)(31) 207-5314
Fax: (27)(31) 207-5305
Splashy Fen - Double CD Celebrating 10 years of Music



Dantai top the charts:

For too long now, many believed that Kwaito was the unassailable domain
of the Gauteng
bands. Not any more! With their debut album 'Operation Lahlela'
achieving great sales across SA, Dantai has struck a further blow for
all the Cape Kwaito bands with the success of the first single released
off that album.

This week, 'Pyjama Jam' cracked the no.1 spot on both Radio Metro and
Radio Ciskei and the accompanying video is receiving extensive
screenings on many of the SABCTV
music video programs. With two more potential singles off the album on
their way - 'Livin Ain't Easy' and 'Dantai' - this Cape Kwaito threesome
are set to join the SA Kwaito elite and open the doors for many other
Cape-based Kwaito groups. Watch this space very closely!!

Nebula BOS Press Release 21 June 1999:

1) Nebula invades Grahamstown

This year, Nebula BOS will be well represented at the annual Martell
Music Festival in Grahamstown. Below is a list of those NEBULA BOS
bands and their dates of appearances at the Grahamstown Festival 1999.
All these bands will also be doing "Meet and Greets" at the MUSICA
store in Grahamstown on the same day as their festival appearances:
Saturday 3 July - Boo
Tuesday 6 July - Blunt
Thursday 8 July - Colorfields
Friday 9 July - Syd Kitchen and Amakool

2) Jorge Carlos joins Colorfields

With his debut African Trance album, 'Trip Of Africa', still attracting
a ton of interest both in SA and internationally, Jorge Carlos has
agreed to join Nebula BOS stablemates Colorfields. The Colorfields
album, 'Incidents', is also still racking up positive sales and reviews
and the addition of Carlos on bass will strengthen the sound and
creative output of this eclectic and dynamic group. Carlos will help
with the group's song arrangements and work together with the band on
new material and will appear with the band at their Grahamstown
performance on the Martell stage.

Carlos' debut album, 'Trip Of Africa', has sold out and is being
reprinted to cope with local and international demand.

3) Comrades Marathon music session

Nebula BOS took the opportunity to showcase some of their acts at this
year's Comrades Marathon music concert. These artists appeared on the
Coca Cola stage in Durban where this year's race finished. The artists
appearing included November 5, MIC, Mabi Thobejane, Eidolon,
Syd Kitchen & Amakool, and Shana (a new kwaito release on the
MELT2000 label.

All these artists were suprisingly cheerful and positive in spite of
having to report for duty at 7.00am, and a good day was had by all
(except for Alexander Volgin and all those brave runners who failed to
make the bell!)

4) Dantai tour

The Cape-based kwaito group Dantai has begun preparing for a national
tour, details to be announced. With their debut single 'Pyjama Jam
currently sitting at no. 1 on the Radio Ciskei charts and on
top of the Metro charts, the interest in this dynamic group has
soared. The second single off the debut album, 'Operation Lahlela',
will be released soon.

5) Nebula news snippets

- 2B4Real will be performing in Upington and Kimberley in early
July to promote their debut kwaito album, 'Rapkwai S'phethi Vibe'.
- Phekesa has become Nebula Bos' top selling artist to date with
over 2000 units sold in the first month of release, many of these
in the eastern Cape region.
- Boo! and Fetish have both sold out all the initial copies of their
debut albums and new copies will be available shortly. Boo!'s CD
has been remastered and the new verion will be re-released next
- Nebula BOS will soon be announcing the name of their artist who
is due for a German release.
- Another new artist signed to the Nebula BOS label is Sipho Dube,
the multi-talented reggae artist, performer and writer.
Sipho, whose last album sold over 20 000 units, has been widely
touted as the most serious challenger to Lucky Dube's seemingly
unassailable position as 'King of SA reggae'.

The Nebula News Team

The Indie Music Explosion



Don't expect to hear anything you've seen before. There are visual
components making use of sound sculptures - crude, hard-core machines
whirring and banging things - as well as ordinary situations portrayed in
the most extra-ordinary manner. The idea is the same unsame world. Along
with this, and indeed part of the same process are operatic soundscapes
making use of highly sophisticated technology and home-made instruments
such as PVC pipes with mouthpieces attached to them.

Still confused?

People often ask what Odd Enjinears is about, and it's a difficult one.
Collectively they share extensive experience in local and international
Performance Art, they have composed for the visual arts i.e. TV, theatre
and film. Also they are a group of multi-instrumentalists having played in
a wide array of post-punk and industrial bands and new-classical ensembles,
they have produced CDs, vinyl records and advertising jingles.

But what's the show about?
I mean, what can you expect to see?

The answer is:

Don't expect to see or hear anything you've seen before.

Come check it out.

Odd Enjinears @
Cuyler street, Grahamstown (a licensed performance-art theatre shabeen)
25th Standard Bank National Arts Festival

Performances daily at 20:00 hrs from 29th June to 10th July 1999,
Shabeen restaurant licensed to 2am daily.

'Fine Tricks on Madness'         
an industrial dance CD single on the Alchemi Label by Odd Enjinears

Alchemi Records
An Independent Label
Member of A.S.A.M.I.

In Association with
Peace of Eden Recording Studio

P.O. Box 1475

Tel/Fax 044 3884832

Represented by:
Howard Kenrick-Butcher
Jeni Harvey-Butcher



Yes, it's finally happened. The Street Level Records website has been updated and now features information on our three latest releases as well as a press release and new cover pic for the forthcoming Usual album.

Grab a cup of coffee and go to to check out our new CD covers and listen to the mp3 sound samples.

The first reviews of the latest Street Level Records singles are out now in the latest edition of Amuzine - The South African Music Ezine. Go to to see what Stephen Segerman had to say.

Street Level Records is also Amuzine's Site of the Week.





On the 25th of June Spriggans will host the launch of the Retribution Denied CD - "Songs of Soul and Psyche" as well of the launch of the new label - Emptiness Records.

There will be CDs on sale - as well as free CD give-aways on the night.

The bands playing will be Angelic Fraud and Demacretia.

Entrance is R10 and bands will start at 10pm

Retribution Denied was a part of the South African music scene from as early as 1991, and played a major role in gaining credibility for local extreme music within the country, and abroad.
The album "Songs of Soul and Psyche" recorded in February 1997 (not released yet due to lack of funding) being both a debut and final album is a testament to 6 years of hard work from a band that is still regarded as one of the forerunners of the South African metal scene.

Situated at 187 DF Malan Drive in Northcliff Johannesburg (Atrium Corner - next door to a rave spot called Time Warp).

Cheers and see you there....

Emptiness Records
083 292-5275

PO Box 1901
South Africa



Visit a new SA entertainment website...and have a jol!

{Editor: For overseas readers a "jol" (pronounced "jawl" or "jorl") is a party, a good time, well, a jol, actually...}



Is the band "KEEP THE CHANGE"
still together?

Arlo Hennings



Does anybody have any information about this gospel group?
Also do they have an album out and if so what record label are
they on?

Leonard Nel



Does anyone have a list of every SA single released? I remember seeing MANY SA
bands on Pop Shop/Fast Forward which I never got to listen to on vinyl, let alone
CD. There were many of them which I think deserved a lot of attention, but as we all
know, SA music was often regarded as inferior. Huh? According to who?!
I would love to hear some of these obscure groups on CD, especially the old bands
from Durban, who were more often than not the most shunned because they weren't
from the *Big Centres* like Jo'Burg or Cape Town. Come on somebody, be forward
thinking for once in SA music's life, and release ye olde albums on CD.

Ian -from NJ, USA



Some time back you posed a question about "covers" and whether they serve
any purpose. My feelings on this are that, if the cover is nothing more
than an attempt to copy the way the original artist performed the song,
then the cover is largely meaningless: either a straightforward attempt to
make money (by cashing in on a "proven" song) or an attempt to show that
the person is technically capable of playing 'like' the original artist.
(Well who really cares?)

On the other hand a cover that really brings a fresh interpretation to a
song can be a genuine work of art. This often happens when a band of a
particular genre takes on a song of a different genre - the results can be

One of the best covers I've heard is Sonic Youth's cover of the Carpenter's
song 'Superstar'. Swirling guitar feedback, backwards solo's and whispered
vocals do wonders for this song. It also gives one and idea of what Sonic
Youth would sound like if they decided to write a few simple, hummable
tunes to hang their noise on. This is available on the album entitled "If I
were a carpenter" which is a great album and contains a number of great
covers of Carpenter tunes by pop and "alternative" bands.

Another memorable cover is Nick Cave and Shane McGowan's duet of "What a
wonderful world" which I don't know who wrote, but which was made famous by
Louis Armstrong. This just has to be heard (and preferably seen) to be
believed. It is on the video of Nick Cave's greatest hits video, which
altho leaves out some of his best performances, is nevertheless a great
buy. Cave also does a great job of Leonard Cohen's "Avalanche". Nick Cave
is possibly the greatest male voice of the 80's and 90's?!

The Sex-Pistols "cover" of Paul Anka's "My way" made famous by Frank
Sinatra is another great moment in the "covering to mock" genre. Other
covers which stick in the mind are Manfredd Mann's cover of Dylan's "Mighty
Quinn" and "The Sisters of Mercy's" cover of his "Knocking on Heaven's


John Caulfield



Last week I bought a 3 CD collection over here in the Netherlands called
"Arbeidsvitaminen" (workers vitamins or something like that).
"Arbeidsvitaminen" was a radio show over here from 1946 to 1994 playing
music for the workers during the afternoon. The interesting thing is that
Clout's Substitute was on there as well. Clout was very popular over here
at the end of the 70's. Substitute made it to number one on the charts
here. We Are Growing from the Shaka Zulu TV-series was also a popular hit
over here. Most people know that it was sung by Margaret Singana nobody
knows that the music is by Julian Laxton. I've introduced some of my family
and friends over here to the music of Julian Laxton (I have The Julian
Laxton Collection) and that of Rabbitt (I've got Boys Will Be Boys, A Croak
And A Grunt In The Night and Rabbitt - The Hits) and they have been very
impressed by it.

Rene (from Holland)



* I grew up in Cape Town, my family was involved in the music business and although I didn't play any musical instruments always yearned to be in a band. A close friend of mine at the time was Anton Fig with his band I think they were first The Beethoven Five and ended up as H.A.M.M.A.K. I remember arriving at Anton's house in the mornings and he would be sitting on a couch banging his head against the back of it to The Shadows music blaring away oblivious of anything around him just taking in the beat. I used to sit in on their sessions and was always amazed at his drumming.Keith Lentin was the other member of the group at the time.
When the Battle of the Bands used to come around once a year there was always rivalry between the groups and often fights used to break out between the fans.

* Who remembers The Electric Circus at the Rotunda in Camps Bay. The sessions there were always great.. Ballyhoo played there for some time.

*And the Concerts at Hartleyvale and Hout Bay? And the socials at the Sea Point Town Hall. The Apple night club in Sea Point once owned by Selwyn Miller. The club next to the SABC in Sea Point ..I think that it was called Chequers.

*Also the concerts at the Luxarama. A group called The Zombies who eventually landed up as 4 Jacks and a Jill.. the Peter and Gordon concert there....

*Otis Waygood ...Hawk and Freedoms Children.. I once had Colin Pratley's top part of his snare drum autographed by I don't know how many of the group.

Just looking back ..remembering those were the days.... the hippies at Kirstenbosch.. The Market in Loop Street....
The Alvin cinema in Camps Bay....

If anybody remembers Michael Oblowitz and has an address for him can they send it on to me. He made a movie in The States which was released here about 2 years ago..."First the fire.. and then the fireworks"

Leon Singer



A year ago two girls [50+ years old] from the old crowd in the late 50s
early 60s came back to get to know their roots and brought us all [whats
left of us] together for a party. Three weeks after they went back to the
USA, I woke up in the middle of the night and began writing. It took a year
of constant work to come up with what I reckon is a great little album, in
the rock 'n roll and ballads bracket. In the process I had a ball,
relearned how badly I play piano, and how tender my guitar fingers had
become, and have continued writing for a next album even though the first
is still not recorded. 'Letter from Africa' is due to be recorded with
equally aged rocker Gerry Barnard in Cape Town starting sometime in July
[hopefully] when Gerry has a space. One of the tracks is called 'Free White
and African' my contribution to the 'African Renaisance. This will be my
first CD having only made LPs so far, the last [of a total of 20 odd] being
'My Time will come to Shine' in 1983.

I suppose my claim to fame could be that I once recorded some demos in my
studio with Johnathan Handley of Radio Rats ... amazed he is still around
and not pulling teeth. My era was really the Bats and Julian Laxton etc, so
I'll be interested to hear if any of them are still kicking ...Pete
Clifford where are you, your country needs you...

Nick Taylor



Anybody out there remember the obscure artist Ramases and his quirky albums, Space Hymns and Glass Top Coffin? Not a South African artist, but Space Hymns is a cult classic here.

Visit the only known website for Ramases at:



Josh Sithole:

It is with much sadness that we note the passing of Josh on Sunday 20 June.
To all those who knew this remarkable local musician we are sure you will
join us in conveying condolences to his wife and family at his loss.
An obituary will appear in the next edition of Semibrief and the Barleycorn
has placed a notice in the Argus.

Steve Murdoch
Tel: +27 21 6836144
Cell: 083 4487292



I have another SA musician friend here in the UK who tells me that my erstwhile group Mac the Nite appears nowhere in The History Of Contemporary Music Of South Africa book. I find this rather odd since, although MTN were not a major league act in SA like Suvuka or Rabbitt, etc, we recorded & released a record there (A Time to Shine) in 1990 through Gallo, were playlisted often on radio, had 5 music videos broadcast on SATV several times, were nominated for and appeared live on OKTV awards, were one of the top (and de facto) acts on the first Sidney Sessions LP and shared the Sun City superbowl stage with the other acts at that memorable concert in 1988. In addition we gigged regularly around the JHB region from 1987 to 1990, and even appeared in an article in Top 40 magazine.

Yours Sincerely

Colin MacDonald



1. The Cutting Grooves Exhibition of the censorship of music under
apartheid is not to be missed at the Standard Bank National Arts
Festival between 30 June and 11 July. Photo's, album covers, posters,
govt documents, a CD-rom, music. An excellent coffee shop to meet up
with friends and so on.

2. As a VERY special celebration of resistance to racism we are re-
releasing the Shifty compilation album `A naartjie in our sosatie'
which includes ten songs by: Timothy, National Wake, Sankomota,
Corporal Punishment, Roger Lucey, Joe Azania and the Chameleons
(Lloyd Ross and Ivan Kadey), Stan James, Bernoldus Niemand,
Desert Moves, Kalahari Surfers. It will be selling at R60-00 at the
festival (at the exhibition merchandise stand) or can be mail-
ordered for R75. Contact Michael Drewett at for
further details about the exhibition or the CD.

3. On the evening of 4th of July we will join up with the Martell
Rock Festival for an evening of live music (The Cutting Grooves
censorship evening) which will include Roger Lucey, Koos Kombuis, Edi
Niederlander and the Little Planet Band and Sipho Mabuse and band.
A real jol!

Michael Drewett


Looking for compilation CDs by various South African artists?
I recommend...

The Best Of South African Pop - a 6CD set of great SA pop and rock from 1960 to 1990. This CD set is a companion compilation to the book The History Of Contemporary Music Of South Africa by Garth Chilvers and Tom Jasiukowicz (1994, TOGA Publishing).

Cape Town Vibes - just what the name says...great vibes from Cape Town; includes a re-recording of the Freedoms Children's classic "1999" re-done by the Brian Davidson Band.

The Hits Of South Africa volumes 1, 2 & 3 - Gallo's collection of South African music of all styles and genres compiled by Derek Smith.

My Generation, volumes 1 & 2 - Nineties SA Rock - some very good music here.

Sharp Cuts volumes 1, 2 & 3 - great SA rock from Tusk records.

Soul Meeting - a brilliant compilation of SA pop & soul music released by Gallo in 1997. Another great collection from Derek Smith.

Sound Offerings From South Africa - another Derek Smith compilation which covers the full spectrum of South African music, old and new. Brilliant, and very reasonably priced.

Street Level Bare Essentials...the Hits - Street Level Records sampler CD...great stuff.

Take My Heart - a collection of love songs from the history of SA pop. From Ballyhoo to Gert Potgieter, this compilation from Derek Smith and Malcom Lombard will bring back some wonderful memories.

A Taste Of Africa - An EMI compilation of great SA rock and ethno-rock tracks from Juluka, Stimela, Sipho "Hotstix" Mabuse, éVoid, PJ Powers, Bright Blue, etc.

21 Years Of SA's Best - another superb EMI pop collection - released in 1996.

Yesterdays Best volumes 1, 2 & 3 - international and local pop songs lovingly compiled by Malcolm Lombard.

2 new releases:
SA Music Explosion

Haven't heard these 2 CDs yet, but the bands listed include most of the current crop of great SA rock bands.

Most of these CDs are available in Musica stores country-wide or order them online from:


Vote for YOUR favourite SA Rock album at:

Vote for YOUR all-time favourite SA song at:

Vote for YOUR favourite McCully Workshop album at:


The online archive for the History of South African Rock

African MUsic magaZINE

The Hub of South African Music

Selling South African Music to the World

5% discount for Digest members!
Type "Digest Member" in brackets
after your name when submitting info.

The Ultimate Independent Music Site in South Africa

Supporting South African Music

The Musician's Resource

Whats on in Cape Town

What's on in Cape Town and around South Africa

Online magazine

Cape Town's Independent Record Label

Free musical equipment classifieds ad website

Over 100 links relating to South African music

Message Board for SA Rock

South African independent record company



Chris Chapman
(031) 3036466


Makes your computer sound better if you listen to MP3's, WAV files, music samples, web radio, on-line concerts and much more.

Visit and click on QSound banner.


An extensive selection of vinyl and CDs. Big supporters of South African music.
Speak to Neil or Alan on 021-595 3220 or email Neil at:


Vinyl and second-hand CDs. Always something new.

Branches at:
Cape Town Central:
55 Castle Street (off Long Street), Cape Town

3 CHB Building (opposite the entrance to Wynberg Hospital),
Maynard Road, Wynberg

10% discount for Digest members!



Looking for Radio Rats, Popguns, Chauffeurs or Glee Club recordings?
Contact Johathan Handley for a catalogue at:

Radium Wreckords
Suite 207
Private Bag X10


by Annette Carson

The first and only definitive biography of Jeff Beck - published in South Africa in January 1999 and available by mail order from the author. Trade paperback format,
256 pages, with a comprehensive discography.

SA price R85,00, or R100,00 including registered p&p. International orders
by surface mail US$18.00 or 13 British pounds, by airmail US$30.00 or 20
British pounds. E-mail or call (011) 883 3619.


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