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A History of Zamrock: Zambia's mix of tribal patterns, heavy rock, blues and psychedelic from the 1970s
May 21, 2012 12:04 PM   Subscribe

Zamrock is a largely forgotten musical movement, born from a newly independence still trying to find stability. The sound is a mix of local sounds with heavy, bluesy and psychedelic rock, usually sung in English, the constitutional language for Zambia. Unfortunately, little of the history is written, and those who were there are fewer each year. Last year, Emmanuel Kangwa “Jagari” Chanda, the co-founder and lead singer for WITCH (We Intend To Cause Havoc), was interviewed for two hours (Vimeo; transcript; source) and recorded a radio show with 14 Zamrock tracks. The South African newspaper Mail & Guardian have an article with more history and interview snippets with Jagari, whose stage name is an Africanisation of Mick Jagger's name. (via)

Sampling of tracks on YouTube:

From Witch - "Lazy Bones!!"
Black Tears and Strange Dream, Havoc, Lazy Bones, Strange Dreams

Rikki Ililonga: live in London, 30/10/2010; and from the Dark Sunrise compilation:
Love Is The (Only) Way, The Hole, Sunshine Love

Amanaz - "Africa"
Sunday Morning, Khala My Friend, History of Man, Green Apple

Chrissy Zebby Tembo & Ngozi Family - "My Ancestors"
My Ancestors, Coffin Maker, Oh Yeh Yeh

Ngozi Family - "45,000 Volts"
Everything Is Over, Nizaka Panga Ngozi, Night of Fear

The Peace - "Black Power"
Black Power, I Have Got No Money

Musi O Tunya - "Wings Of Africa"
Mpondolo, One Reply
posted by filthy light thief (16 comments total) 37 users marked this as a favorite

 
brilliant as usual FLT
posted by Potomac Avenue at 12:17 PM on May 21, 2012


That Now-Again 6LP Witch box set is about to come out, too.
posted by box at 12:17 PM on May 21, 2012


I'd like to add Blackfoot's The Foot Steps (full album on that Youtube account). If you don't feel great after listening to those songs then you probably need brain surgery.
posted by theodolite at 12:24 PM on May 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is great!
posted by brundlefly at 12:31 PM on May 21, 2012


See also: Lost tracks of President-for-Life officially approved smooth jazz-funk from Mauritania.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 12:44 PM on May 21, 2012


Amazing post.
posted by Vhanudux at 12:51 PM on May 21, 2012


box, Now-Again was the source of this post. They (re)release some amazing stuff from around the world, and do a damned fine job of it.

And if you're looking for more Zambrock bands, or related sounds in general, you can jump around links on Discogs, from the album links provided here. There are so many interesting old bands, and new labels focused on bringing these bands to new listeners. I just came across the Shadoks Music label discography page, which looks like a huge time-sink of finding sample tracks on YouTube and elsewhere.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:09 PM on May 21, 2012


Great post, great music.
posted by MartinWisse at 1:13 PM on May 21, 2012


Julian Cope has been tied up with other stuff, but I'm sure he'll be coming out with a book on this soon.
posted by snofoam at 2:11 PM on May 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


theodolite, thanks for those links. In the radio show, Jagari talks about the relationship between Blackfoot and other Zambian groups. And with that, let me emphasize that the "radio show" is more than a convenient place to hear 14 Zamrock tracks, but also learn a lot about the musicians and the history behind the music. Jagari shares a lot of really keen insight into the music.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:48 PM on May 21, 2012


Dunno how I missed that 'via.' Thanks for this post, flt!
posted by box at 3:20 PM on May 21, 2012


YESSS! Great post! I love WITCH! Thank you.
posted by Capricorn13 at 4:34 PM on May 21, 2012


I had never heard of Zamrock until two days ago, when Aquarium Drunkard did a blog post on Chrissy Zebby Tembo & Ngozi Family. The Wikipedia describes it as a combination of Jimi Hendrix psychedelia and James Brown funk.
posted by LeLiLo at 8:55 PM on May 21, 2012


Wait. African-flavoured psych-rock from the 70s...

WHY HAVE I NEVER HEARD OF THIS UNTIL NOW?
posted by clvrmnky at 5:57 AM on May 22, 2012


Should you happen to be in the UK, Amazon has the new 4 CD set from NowAgain for just £10 delivered.

For the majority of you outside the EU, that'd be about £8.50 plus shipping.

A bargain.
posted by Hobo at 7:21 AM on May 22, 2012


This is fantastic, thanks so much for the post.
posted by Stagger Lee at 2:54 PM on May 22, 2012


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