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Kwela, Allen Duma (South Africa)  
Allen Duma Kwela

ALLEN Kwela was born on the 11th of September 1939 in Chesterville, Durban and grew up on the South Coast where he also attended school. He began his young life as a herdboy and apart from attending school he already realised his passion was for the guitar. His older brothers were both musical, playing guitar and violin respectively, but rather than encourage their younger sibling, they would beat him severely if he so much as touched their instruments.

Instrumentation:
guitar
Genre: African Jazz, jazz, mbaqanga








In desperation he made himself a guitar out of a one gallon oil drum and cable wires which he would strum while tending his fathers herds. It was not until he left home that he acquired a proper six string guitar which he would tune to a major triad so that he could achieve a sound akin to that of Glen Miller and play one of his favourite tunes "In The Mood"



When he returned to his town after a year away from home the word soon spread that there was a youngster with burning fingers. A neighbour brought him an electric guitar to practise on and he was soon the solo act doing shows that lasted the whole night at jazz spots around his home.

Like so many musicians he felt it essential to move to the bustling city of Johannesburg in order to meet other musicians and hopefully cut a record. It was here that Allen Kwela found a home for the emerging sound that was to become known as Kwela music, a strange twist of fate bearing in mind the name of the composer. It was in Jo’burg that Allen met the late Spokes Mashiyane, together they composed, arranged and played their own brand of music at all the local night-spots. Spokes went on to greatness acquiring the title of father of Kwela music and sadly leaving his premier song-writer by the way side. Allen found that his natural inclination was for jazz and moved away from Kwela to carve out his own niche as one of South Africa’s finest indigenous rhythms and jazz which he plays to incorporate a wider range of listeners and broaden the appeal of his music.

His debut album "The Broken Springs Of Allen Kwela" speaks of the broken dreams and aspirations of the black people as a result of the Apartheid era. Featured on the album are: local singing sensation Sibongile Khumalo, Vusi Khumalo (drums), Glen Mafoko (bass), Barney Rachabane (saxophone) and Denzil Weale (piano).

  Recordings : Kwela, Allen Duma
1998
The Broken Strings Of Allen Kwela

The Broken Strings Of Allen Kwela

click here for more about these and other recordings by : Kwela, Allen Duma


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