Winston Mankunku Ngozi
South African Musician

Oct
13

Martin Myers wrote: R.I.P Winston Mankunku a great SA music icon … my thoughts go to his family and great friend Mike Perry.

Oct
20

Rainbow Restaurant  Est.1981

23 Stanfield Lane

Pinetown

Contact details: 031 702 9161 or 083 463 8044; bandwagon@artslink.co.za ; www.therainbow.co.za

DATE: Sunday 1 November 2009

TIME: Doors open at 12pm, 1st set just after 1pm

TICKETS: R40 presale or R50 at the door

EVENT: The Umkhumbane Ensemble in a Tribute to Winston “Mankunku” Ngozi

This concert was booked a long time before we got the sad news of the passing of one of the Rainbow’s favourite jazz legends, Winston “Mankunku” Ngozi on the 13th of October. We have spoken to Mankunku’s manager, Chris Syren at Making Music, and he has given us the go ahead to present this concert as a tribute and I have personally asked the band to include some of his classics, including that great anti-apartheid anthem Yakhal’inkhomo. When you see the line-up below, you will understand why it made perfect sense and why they are the perfect band for such a tribute. Appropriately, there will be a tribute to Mankunku in Cape Town on the 31st of October, the day before our local tribute.

The reason why the Umkhumbane Ensemble is the perfect band is because it features a wonderful selection of some of our locally based jazz legends as well as a few upcoming stars. (Although one wouldn’t think so when one considers that the reason it has taken so long to go to press with this concert is because we have been trying to raise some sort of sponsorship to ensure that these local legends, who have long passed paid their dues, know they will be adequately paid before the gig rather than having to wait and see what comes in at the door on the day. Seems like our local liquor companies are more interested in spending millions on bringing American R&B stars to our city than actually giving a bit back to an historic venue like the Rainbow which, besides the music we present, also enables them to sell a good few million rand’s worth of product every year)

The line-up of the band is: Jerry Kunene and Muntu Dube on Alto saxophones; S’thembiso Ntuli and Moses Sefatsa on tenor saxophones; Bheki Luthuli and Eric Duma on trumpets; Theo Bophela on piano; Mdu Mahlobo on guitar; Zithulele Dlamini on drums; KB Maphumulo on bass; Nothando Madondo on trombone and vocals; and Adolph Kunene on vocals.

Is there anything more I can tell you before you are convinced that this will once again be another memorable Sunday afternoon at the Rainbow – just like those many Sunday’s passed when Mankunku graced our stage? RIP

Oct
13
Oct
13
Jika by Winston Mankunku & Mike Perry

Jika by Winston Mankunku & Mike Perry

Jika was composed and recorded during the period here known as “the bad years “ ie. when the system of racial oppression called apartheid was at its height under P.W . Botha ‘s “ Imperial Presidency “. There is a strong protest content in the lyrics , but due to harsh censorship laws in force at the time this messaage had to be conveyed in a covert and subtle way in order to release the album without any problems. Xhosa idioms were used to express our strong feelings of disatisfaction with what was happening at the time.

Jika was recorded in London as well as Cape Town in 1986. The trip enabled us to work with talented exiles like Bheki Mseleku, Russell Herman , Claude Deppa . Johnny Dyani and Lucky Ranku who were all living in London at that time.

This album is now widely regarded as a South African music classic. It has been released several times overseas and is still very active on the local market.

WHAT THE LYRICS MEAN

Jika * turn around, change

Wajikelez’umzi weny’indoda thyini awako uwushita nabanibo * You are always darkening your neighbour’s doorstep when it should be your own that you should be checking out.. This is the literal translation : actually we were telling the Oppressors either to stop making life intolerable for the people here or to pack their bags and go back to their countries of origin.

Baleka wenfama{ Wendoda} * Go back Oppressor!

Crossroads, Crossroads * A ghetto stuated about 15 kilometers from Cape Town.

Yho-Yho* An exclamation- we were expressing shock and horror at what was happening at the time.

Tula Sana* Hush beloved – everything will be allright. We wanted to console young people and families who had been hurt in the apartheid era.

Asiyapo* We are NOT going there. This referred to the notorious practise of forced removals. More specifically , in the mid 80’s , the Oppressors wanted to remove the people from Gugulethu { a large, established township near Cape Town where Winston lived} to Khayalitsha far away. The people refused and stayed put.

Utikuthenina* What’s the matter then?

Senzagabomi* We are doing it on purpose {ie. Staying put }

Ntyilo Ntyilo * An onomatopaeic expression conveying the sound of birdsong

PRESS EXTRACTS

* CAPE ARGUS “Like chili sauce on an ice cube “.

*CAPE TIMES 24/3/87 “ It shows the growth of musicians who have not stagnated and have taken note of the musical and political developments in the townships and have not prostituted their musical identities. It is also a successful marriage of the compositional minds of Mankunku and pianist and friend Mike Perry.” Karen Rutter

*CANBERRA TIMES 29/6/88 “What I like about Jika is it does not preach or make too much of the African connection. Instead it strolls along, sweetly paced and toned.” Michael Foster

* SUNDAY TIMES 26/4/87 “ For Beauty , imagination and sheer musicianship this record has it all “ Rene du Preez.

*SOUTH”8/4/87 “Mankunku jumps from kwela style mbaqanga to cool jazz with an ease that defies all musical stereotypes and Mike Perry is with him all the way. The two weave together with the assurance of old friends mutually supporting each other through thick and thin.” Karen Rutter

*AVAN-GUARD RECORDS , SYDNEY “ In all it is a beautiful record which grows on you the more you play it.” Peter Sinclair.

WINSTO MANKUNKU AND MIKE PERRY

Winston and Mike met in 1976 having been introduced by mutual friend and musical compatriot Johnny Gertze. After gigging extensively in the early 80’s the duo decided to form a partnership in 1985 and embark on a recording project independently.This project developed into the album “Jika” which was recorded in London and Cape Town under Winston and Mike’s own label “Nkomo Records “.

Oct
13
The Best Of Winston Mankunku Ngozi

The Best Of Winston Mankunku Ngozi

Oct
12
Dudula by Mike Perry & Winston Mankunku

Dudula by Mike Perry & Winston Mankunku

DUDULA was recorded in Cape Town during ’96. It’s a laid-back album again featuring a wide variety of styles: the bustling, impatient energy of “Khawuleza” {Hurry Up!} contrasted with the cool, spacey – “Amanzi Obomi” {Water of Life} or the simple lyricism of “Shirley“ against the mbaqanga of “Masihambe” {Let’s Go}. Or the wistful introversion of “Green and Gold” vis –a-vis the upfront, clubby title track “Dudula”{Forward!}.he album contains a great deal of improvisational freedom and the soloists take full advantage, one highlight being the extended coda on the title track where guitar, piano and sax share centre stage, exchanging phrases freely. Spencer Mbadu’s solo on “Khawuleza” is like a composition all on its own, a singing, quintessentially township riff which develops. Winston Mankunku’s delicate entry in the ballad “Shirley” builds slowly to a powerful crescendo- another highlight.

Oct
06
Winston Mankunku Ngozi - Molo Africa Album Cover

Molo Africa

MOLO AFRICA – SAMA AWARD WINNER 1999

1. KHANYA {RISE AND SHINE} Features tight rhythm section work and the two solos by Feya Faku and Mankunku make for an uplifting opening track.

2. A SONG FOR BRA DES TUTU. A majestic, stately piece featuring trombones demonstrating Mankunku’s originality and expertise as a composer and arranger as well as his versatility as a musician. Church bells, baritone sax and acoustic piano, all played by Winston himself, provide a rich backdrop to a restrained yet soulful tenor sax performance. Listen for the subtle vocals and check out Vusi Khumalo’s sensitive take on drums.

3.LANGUNYA KHAYELITSHA {ZONKE} – to all the townships

A definitive township mbaqanga. Brass ensemble work complemented by vocals and a smoking rhythm section make this a memorable track.

4. TEMBELA ENKOSINI {Praise the Lord}

Winston’s unique piano introduces his 2 tenor introduction. Jack van Poll joins Winston on tenor and the track builds till Soi-Soi’s vocal finally puts the seal on a deep and significant composition. A song that Mankunku waited a long time to produce and this shows in the attention to detail in the complex arrangement.

5.LET GO!

Crisp, funky rhythm section work again provide a solid yet flexible cushion for some great playing by the 2 horns.

6. PEACE BROTHERS PEACE

Features a gospel – influenced piano {Tete Mbambisa} and a beautiful vocal from Winston.

7 MOLO AFRICA {Good Morning Africa}

Features again a combination of forms. The vocal ensemble has an almost conversational quality to it – this is juxtaposed against a bebop influenced African melody. Like one gets taken from a Transkei marketplace to New York or Joburg in a split second …