Talk:Skokiaan

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100 BSAP band 1936 </gallery>August Musarugwa trained in the BSAP police band, with the bandmaster hitting him on the knuckles if he made a false note. I have a photograph of police bandsmen at BSAP Depot 1936 but am not sure how to upload it. (Photo S.A. Bowbrick)

He was employed as a clerk by another ex-policeman, Syd Bowbrick (1907-1978) who was personnel manager for the Cold Storage Commission, the government meat marketing board from the end of 1949. Bowbrick organized works sports, cinema, etc. and the works band – the African Dance Band of the Cold Storage Commission under August Musarugwa. Michael Baird in the attachment to Bulawayo Jazz 1950,51,52 (recordings by Hugh Tracy) International Library of African Music, Rhodes University, says that August moved to Bulawayo from KweKwe in 1950 (apparently quoting Joyce Jenje Makwenda's book Zimbabwe Township music (www.zimbabwetownshipmusic.co.zw, storytime@zol.co.zw.)

This makes it most unlikely that there was a 1947 Gallotone record. I believe the one pictured with In the Mood on the reverse was the 1953 recording. The one that was mentioned with KAREKWANGU on the reverse, I do not know. Perhaps KAREKWANGU was the origanal local title?

Syd Bowbrick was strongly into preserving African music and dance, organizing village dance groups from the Zambezi valley to travel to Bulawayo for festivals or the Eisteddfod. He stopped abruptly when a police friend told him that the Special Branch (security) had opened a file on him. However he continued to support the works band.

There was an attempt to launch the band commercially. (was this the Chaminuka Band that Tracy recorded? I have no idea. They got a well paid job in the Congo, but all their instruments were stolen. Neither the players nor their sponsor could afford to replace them. So it was back to the day job, clerking, plus playing local gigs with the firm’s instruments. This was in the very early 1950s.

Bowbrick had met Hugh Tracy recording in the bush in the 1930s and arranged for him to record Musarugwa.

He also arranged for Gallo Africa to record Skokiaan somewhere between August and December 1953, in Bulawayo. The musical arrangement of this recording was influenced partly by the fact that they had to employ a session musician who played both the piano and the trumpet (He was paid 5 shillings (70c). He later became a full time member of the Bulawayo Sweet Rhythm Band.) Bowbrick prevailed on the band not to all play at once as they wished, but to let solos stand out, in deference to his unsophisticated western ear. Compare the hit arrangement with Tracy's recording a year earlier.

Bowbrick sent copies of the record to major record companies. Decca replied with a letter saying that Ted Heath, the top bandleader in Britain, did not think that it had any potential. Eventually it was picked up. Bowbrick always regretted that nobody picked up Musarugwa’s Tinochimero, which he thought would have been a bigger hit. The Chishona vocals probably put western bands off.

Spokes Mashiane recorded Skokiaan in 1955, some years before his hit, Kwela Claude, made the penny whistle acceptable.

Presumably it was because of the success of Skokiaan that Musarugwa got enough money to buy instruments, and launched the Bulawayo Sweet Rhythm Band. It had the same players. Even though it was a works band it did have outside players.

At the time African contestants in dance competitions wore white tie and tails. A 30 inch watch chain was de rigueur, going from the fly buttons to the right trouser pocket.

The tune came from the one played in shebeens to warn staff and customers that there was a police raid and staff and customers should dispose of the evidence. The sheebeen might indeed have been supplying skokiaan, but was more likely to have been selling lager or spirits – until 1957 it was illegal to sell Natives (Black Africans) anything but the traditional beer – looking like a dilute maize or sorghum flour porridge with 2.5% alcohol. Skokiaan was sometimes traditional beer fortified with methylated spirits, which could blind or kill. Musarugwa was well acquainted with sheebeens as a policeman and as a customer.

When Louis Armstrong visited Bulawayo in 1961, some years after his hit, he arranged to play with August at his concert. August was startled to hear from Armstrong how much he should have earned in royalties. On investigation, it turned out that this was because he had been asked to sign the standard contract, under which an African artist only got royalties on sales in Southern Africa. However, Bowbrick had vetted the contract and crossed out the relevant sentences before Musarugwa signed it, so he was entitled to full royalties. His lawyers, Coghlan and Welsh, took it up. Baird states that he got his money.

The name was spelt Musarugwa, but they were switching to a new orthography in the 1930s which could explain spelling differences. Shona spelling is now very different to that of Swahili, say, or Zulu while it started out much the same,

As a police bandsman he would have played several instruments.

It would be most surprising if there were two or more August Musarugwas recording in Southern Rhodesia, let alone Bulawayo, which probably had 40,000 population then. It was a Matabele area, and Musarugwa came from the opposite end of the country. August was not a common name. We are talking of a tiny urbanized population, and a miniscule number of professional musicians.

Sources: I knew August from age 5 to age 11, when he left the Cold Storage in 1954. My father Syd Bowbrick kept up with him until 1966 when Syd left the country after UDI. My brother, who was also at the recording session, and at the Bulawayo Louis Armstrong concert worked for his solicitors. The only time I have seen skokiaan, the brew, was in August's presence. Peter Bowbrick peter@bowbrick.eu 77.99.100.12 (talk) 18:42, 28 March 2009 (UTC)



I just wanted to point out that "Skokiaan" with that exact same spelling means Shocker in Afrikaans. Tsaba-Tsaba is also an area in south africa about 200 km from zimbabwe (Now a Nature Reserve). The style and feel of the song is quite common to the traditional Afrikaans music called Boeremusiek. This song was not written by anybody from Zimbabwe. (or Rhodesia if you insist...) The reason it was published under a black african's name? Psychological warfare against Apartheid South Africa. (Afrikaners are of European decent) Originally it would not have had any vocals. Now, back to the propaganda...

"Skokiana " ; "Sikokiyana" ; "Mahewu": originally a marimba solo recorded by August (Machon) Msarurgwa Sky in Southern Rhodesia back in 1952. One question: why did not Bill Kaley entile his rendition of the said tune as "Zimbabwean"? That's the question, indeed! 81.244.38.179 16:09, 28 May 2006 (UTC)

Because the song was known in the US as Skokiaan from the many previous hit versions! It doesn't get any simpler than that. 23skidoo 16:35, 28 May 2006 (UTC)

I don't get the think about "only vocal version to chart in the U.S." I'm aware of a vocal version by Louis Armstrong. Was the version by Louis Armstrong which reached #29 not vocal?

--I believe that is correct. I have two mp3 versions of the song by Louis Armstrong, one of which has vocals and the other is a shorter (but complete) version that doesn't. Migp 18:24, 30 August 2006 (UTC)

Can anyone here shed some light on the reason for the spelling variant "Skokian"? Is that an accepted/alternate spelling? Or is it an incorrect one that has somewhat taken root just because of the frequent appearance of the misspelling? Migp 18:26, 30 August 2006 (UTC)

I think it's just a frequent misspelling. 23skidoo 20:58, 30 August 2006 (UTC)
  • "Skokian" is probably a wrong spelling. I saw this spelling yesterday while I was looking for "new" info about Skokiaan's roots. This marimba intrumental was aka "Skokiana" and "Sikokiyana". Think we're not get out of the woods yet! Stephan KŒNIG 12:05, 7 November 2006 (UTC)

Back in the Forties...[edit]

...with African Dance Band of the Cold Storage Commission of Southern Rhodesia, leader : August Msarurgwa. Skokiaan was backed with KAREKWANGU issued on GALLO/Gallotone-JIVE GB.1152 in 1947!!! The B.S.R. Band could have already recorded it in 1950! August Msarurgwa marimba intrumental of the tune was released in 1952. Nhlapo viewed class division as an obstacle to African creativity, and wondered why tsaba-tsaba and other township styles could not be ‘polished and given to the world as the La Conga from Africa?’ 47. His suggestion was prophetic. In 1947, August Musururgwa and his Band of the Cold Storage Commission of Southern Rhodesia recorded the classic tsaba dance tune, Skokiaan. Stephan KŒNIG 15:33, 11 November 2006 (UTC)

  • At last! Quite terrific!!! Thanks for having corrected Skokiaan's origins. Best wishes. Stephan KŒNIG 23:58, 1 December 2006 (UTC)
  • Everything is definitively said...Stephan KŒNIG 00:05, 2 December 2006 (UTC)
  • Pérez Prado : Skokiaan / The High And The Mighty, RCA Victor 47-5839, September 1954. Stephan KŒNIG
  • Alix Combelle's version issued on the Philips label was probably the second one. The first one from 1953 had been issued on Polydor.

This label, Polydor, had been bought the same year by NL Philips. At the time, all Polydor Eps were re-issued by Philips with new catalog numbers. For example : French singer Jacqueline François En Avril A Paris (from Charles Trenet), Polydor 576.000 re-issued on Philips 432.078 NE in December 1955. Same singer : Polydor 576.010 (1954) then Philips 432.079 NE, 01/1956 and her last Polydor EP 576.019 NE, 1955 re-issued in 1956 on Philips 432.080 NE. Etc. Stephan KŒNIG 19:12, 2 December 2006 (UTC)

Skokiaan by Ralph Marterie charted...[edit]

...in the Dutch-speaking region of Belgium. Info taken from Sixties Hitparade Belgium. Stephan KŒNIG 21:43, 2 December 2006 (UTC)

Marterie, Ralph


Chicago, Illinois, US

Skokiaan / Crazy ‘bout lollipop Mercury 04/55 17

Guaglione (Bambino) / Carla Mercury 03/57 03 D

Shish-kebab / Bop a doo - bop a doo Mercury 09/57 04

Tequila / Popcorn Mercury 05/58 01

Torero / Cha-cha-cha

Mysteries Remain[edit]

Several mysteries remain about the early history of Skokiaan.

  • The first mystery concerns the number of times that Gallo recorded Msarurgwa playing Skokiaan, and where Hugh Tracey's recordings fit in.

Did Gallo record Skokiaan twice, once in 1947, and again in 1954? Or was the master recording re-used for the second record? [Response Certainly re-recorded in 1953-54 - I remember it as late 1954, as I had father and brother at the session there.]

Where does Tracey's 1950-52 recording fit in? Tracey's African odysseys were, after all, partly sponsored by Gallo.[Response: Yes, his angel knew Tracey and supported his work, which is how he got the recording contract]


How did Gallo, a South African company, record Msarurgwa in Southern Rhodesia? I presume that Gallo sent someone to Bulawayo to record Msarurgwa, as Tracey had done. Was it Tracey himself? If not, did the band travel to Gallo's Johannesburg studio? Or did Gallo use a studio in Rhodesia? [It was certainly recorded in Bulawayo - my family was there]

One possible solution is that the "1947" record and the 1954 record is actually the same. I would be very interested in hearing from someone who can provide evidence that two records exist, one dated 1947, and another, dated 1954.

If both a 1947 and a 1954 record exist, was the 1954 recording a re-mastering of Tracey's 1950-52 one? Or did Gallo send someone (Tracey?) to Bulawayo to record Msarurgwa for a second time in 1954? [Response: certainly recorded in Bulawayo. I doubt if they had re-mastering there]

  • Andrew Tracey told me in an e-mail that Gallo did have a branch in Southern Rhodesia, but could not confirm when they started operating. DocDee 04:38, 8 December 2006 (UTC)

Where does the reported 1952 marimba recording fit in? Neither the 1947, 1952, or 1954 versions feature marimba. [God only knows: August was an amazing sax player from when I first met him, and I had never heard of an mbira or marimba tune by him, recorded or unrecorded.]

Perhaps this reference is actually to the 1957 steel band version by the Southern All Stars?

  • The second mystery is whether Msarurgwa fronted two bands, or one that changed names.

The 1947 recording of Skokiaan is with his African Dance Band of the Cold Storage Commission of Southern Rhodesia.

The 1954 recording was of Msarurgwa with his Bulawayo Sweet Rhythms Band (London Records, catalogue #1491).

Did these two bands comprise the same musicians, or two different sets of people, both led by Msarurgwa? [Response: Same man, overlapping membership. When he went professional instead of being financed by the Cold Storage Commission as a works band he played under the name of the Bulawayo Sweet Rhythm Band. No doubt it started with him moonlighting - with the full knowledge and support of the firm. No mystery here.]

If the band's name was changed, why was this considered necessary? Was it dictated by one of the two record companies?

On the recent compilation of Tracey's "Bulawayo Jazz" recordings (Sharp Wood SWP032) the name of both bands occur. The implication is that both bands existed by 1952. But I suspect that "Bulawayo Sweet Rhythms Band" was added to the sleeve to attract prospective buyers more familiar with that name, as none of the tracks are credited to them. Instead, ten tracks are credited to the Cold Storage Band [1].


The most plausible explanation is that there was only one band, recorded in 1947, which was renamed for the 1954 release of Skokiaan on the London label. This is certainly the conclusion reached by Stone (1999:346). [Comment Rubbish: It was certainly re-recorded in 1953-4, See history in previous sections. Come to think of it see a long history of talk that has been removed,]

comments added by Peter Bowbrick peter@bowbrick.eu, who knew him through this period. DocDee 05:41, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

Skokiaan in 1947[edit]

I think it was nearly a miracle (*) to find this information because of the current stuffs on the Net~(for example : Galaxia's website). I spent this whole afternoon searching the 1952 version (a marimba solo instrumental) by August Msarurgwa Sky. Unfortunately, I didn't find anything. And yet, I saw the latter info twice a few months ago when I was working on the original versions of the songs recorded by Bill Haley during his Decca Sessions. Only two finger claps but what was my key? That's the question. Anyway, I haven't said my last word. Maybe one day or another...with a little bit of luck. Stephan KŒNIG 19:27, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

  • (*) Why? About 30 years ago (or more), I already knew that the original version had been recorded by A. Msarurgwa (yet I've never heard anything about the Musarurwa spelling). When for the first time I saw, on the Net, nearly 5 or 6 years ago, that the Bulawayo S.R.Band were "supposed" to have recorded the o.v., I was doubled up with laughter. Thanks to me (but it doesn't matter), we have finally discovered the good origins of this instrumental. Quite tremendous! Isn't it? Stephan KŒNIG 19:51, 5 December 2006 (UTC)
  • Do you think that our friend August was the leader of the "Bulawayo"? Playing marimba in a well known sax and trumpet version just like the Cold Storage? In my opinion, he had nothing to see with this band. There is nothing to prove it... Stephan KŒNIG 23:37, 5 December 2006 (UTC)
  • is there anybody who is quite sure that August Msarurgwa and August Musarurwa were the same person??? If yes, August was a multi-instrumentalist musician? Stephan KŒNIG 23:54, 5 December 2006 (UTC)
  • A Ray Templeton wrote in Music Traditions about the name change from the Cold Storage Band to the Bulawayo Sweet Rhythms Band, and speaks of the leader as August Msarugwa. He says the Bulawayo Sweet Rhythms Band's 1954 version was released on Decca (F10350) [2]. Professor Ruth M. Stone confirms the name change in her book (Stone 1999:346). DocDee 05:29, 6 December 2006 (UTC)
  • An Alastair Johnston wrote about the name Msarurwa in connection with the Bulawayo Sweet Rhythms Band [3]. As the record he refers to is actually Tracey's 1951 recording of the Cold Storage Band, it seems safe to assume that Msarurwa and Msarurgwa is the same person. There is also a photograph which is confusingly identified as being the "Bulawayo Cold Storage Rhythms Band" with its leader, August Msarugwa [4]DocDee 05:29, 6 December 2006 (UTC)

Musarurgwa's marimba version (1952)[edit]

I removed the sentence "Msarurgwa reportedly released a marimba version in 1952" as I cannot verify that this recording actually happened.

If someone can find a reference, or provided a scanned image of a label that confirms this, we can paste the sentence back in again.

I also removed the reference to Msarurgwa's marimba version from the list of recordings. DocDee 05:10, 6 December 2006 (UTC)

  • Recent facts confirm that it is highly unlikely that Msarurgwa recorded a marimba version of Skokiaan during the 1950s. Both Prof Andrew Tracey (Hugh's son) and Maria Minnaar-Bailey say that the modern marimba was only invented in Zimbabwe in 1960. Minnaar-Bailey grew up in Zimbabwe during the 1970's as the daughter of Olof Axelsson, director of Kwanongoma College of African Music. DocDee 04:33, 8 December 2006 (UTC)
  • What do you mean by "modern marimba" (made of bamboo and "calebasses"--->can't find the translation in English). I sent you a photo of a marimba from Southern Rhodesia a few hours ago. Not to be confounded to a balafon of Guinea. Stephan KŒNIG 18:35, 11 December 2006 (UTC)
  • According to Prof Andrew Tracey, the marimba was only introduced to Zimbabwe in 1960 [5] DocDee 20:06, 11 December 2006 (UTC)

Msarurgwa or Musarurwa? One person or more? One band or two?[edit]

  • Should we say Msarurgwa or Musarurwa?

The record label on the 1947 Gallotone recording identifies August Msarurgwa as the leader of the African Dance Band of the Cold Storage Commission of Southern Rhodesia.

Yet authoritative sources say that August Musarurwa was the leader of the African Dance Band of the Cold Storage Commission, including the websites of the International Library of African Music, and of Sharp Wood Records. Sharp Wood Records transferred Hugh Tracey's 1951 recording of the African Dance Band playing Skokiaan to CD [6].

It seems safe to assume that the August Msarurgwa who fronted the African Dance Band of the Cold Storage Commission for Gallotone in 1947, and the August Musarurwa who led the African Dance Band of the Cold Storage Commission in Tracey's 1951 recording, is the same person. All sources say he was the leader of the band.

Did Gallotone or Tracey misspell the name? I have come one Gift Musarurwa, whose internet site says that he is the brother of August Musarurwa[7]. If his claim is true, then Gallotone was at fault.

  • But did Msarurgwa/Musarurwa also lead the Bulawayo Sweet Rhythms Band of the 1954 London Records release?

Several sources say that the African Dance Band of the Cold Storage Commission changed its name to the Bulawayo Sweet Rhythms Band, including Ray Templeton, Alastair Johnston, and Ruth M. Stone. Professor Stone confirms the name change in her book (Stone 1999:346).

Templeton identifies the leader of the Bulawayo Sweet Rhythms Band as August Msarurgwa. He says the Sweet Rhythms Band's 1954 version was released on Decca (F10350) [8]. Johnston also speaks of Musarurwa in connection with the Bulawayo Sweet Rhythms Band [9]. Johnston is probably quoting the Sharp Wood catalog, as he includes the image from Sharp Wood's CD.

Msarurgwa/Musarurwa apparently also played for the Chaminuka Band, listed on Sharp Wood's CD[10].

I have found a photograph which is confusingly identified as being of the "Bulawayo Cold Storage Sweet Rhythms Band" and its leader, August Musarurwa [11]. While the author seems confused about the band’s name, s/he agrees with the other sources about who the leader was.

So Msarurgwa/ Musarurwa also seems to have led the Bulawayo Sweet Rhythms Band. DocDee 16:35, 6 December 2006 (UTC)

the Bulawayo Sweet Rhythms Band[edit]

British Decca F10350 was released in 1954. The group's original name was the Bulawayo Cold Storage Band (*) but renamed for the US market.

Our friend August's surname : 2 other spellings :-)[edit]

  • MUSURURGWA and MUSARURGWA. Goodness gracious! Not kidding! Stephan KŒNIG 22:11, 10 December 2006 (UTC)
  • In my opinion, these spellings differ from the used Zulu languages (or dialects?). Afrikaans, Fanagalo, Tsonga/Changana and Venda???
  • You probably mean Shangaan and Venda. Bear in mind that Musarurwa was a Shona from Southern Rhodesia, not a Zulu from South Africa. 68.116.113.57 05:52, 11 December 2006 (UTC)
  • Nope : quite sure for Tsonga/Changana. Stephan KŒNIG 18:26, 11 December 2006 (UTC)
  • Yes it is Venda (not the "veda" I wrongly wrote - mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa). Stephan KŒNIG 18:49, 11 December 2006 (UTC)

Photo of the Bulawayo etc.[edit]

http://meltingpot.fortunecity.com/navarino/212/face/face004-mahubesound.html Stephan KŒNIG 18:55, 11 December 2006 (UTC)

a marimba of Brazil[edit]

Do anybody still thinks that it is a balafon (of Guinea) ??? Stephan KŒNIG 21:18, 13 December 2006 (UTC)

Skokiaan issued in 1947 : the evidence is quite clear !!![edit]

http://www.africultures.com/index.asp?menu=revue_affiche_article&no=4307&lang=_en Stephan KŒNIG 21:40, 13 December 2006 (UTC)

http://www.originals.be/eng/main.cfm?c=t_new_show&id=8531[edit]

What to think of this ? 1947 or 1952 ??? Stephan KŒNIG

Fair use rationale for Image:Skokiaanlabel.JPG[edit]

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BetacommandBot (talk) 05:35, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

== Skokiaan == (the never-ending story of this incredible tune)

Thanks a lot. So, the original is from 1949 not 1947? However, I'm not certain at all seeing I saw a website talking about that tune issued in 1947. Have you already seen One Hit Wonder forum and Engl.-sp. Wikipedia ? Tanks again. Stephan


2009/3/28 Quality Economics <quality.economics@blueyonder.co.uk>

August Musarugwa trained in the BSAP police band, with the bandmaster hitting him on the knuckles if he made a false note. Attached is a photograph of police bandsmen at BSAP Depot 1936. (Photo S.A. Bowbrick)

He was employed as a clerk by another ex-policeman, Syd Bowbrick (1907-1978) who was personnel manager for the Cold Storage Commission, the government meat marketing board from the end of 1949. Bowbrick organized works sports, cinema, etc. and the works band – the African Dance Band of the Cold Storage Commission under August Musarugwa.

Syd Bowbrick was strongly into preserving African music and dance, organizing village dance groups from the Zambezi valley to travel to Bulawayo for festivals or the Eisteddfod. He stopped abruptly when a police friend told him that the Special Branch (security) had opened a file on him. However he continued to support the works band.

There was an attempt to launch the band commercially. They got a well paid job in the Congo, but all their instruments were stolen. Neither the players nor their sponsor could afford to replace them. So it was back to the day job, clerking, plus playing local gigs with the firm’s instruments.

Bowbrick had met Hugh Tracy recording in the bush in the 1930s and arranged for him to record Musarugwa.

He also arranged for Gallo Africa to record Skokiaan somewhere between August and December 1953, in Bulawayo. The musical arrangement of this recording was influenced partly by the fact that they had to employ a session musician who played both the piano and the trumpet (He was paid 5 shillings (70c). He later became a full time member of the Bulawayo Sweet Rhythm Band.) Bowbrick prevailed on the band not to all play at once as they wished, but to let solos stand out, in deference to his unsophisticated western ear.

Bowbrick sent copies of the record to major record companies. Decca replied with a letter saying that Ted Heath, the top bandleader in Britain, did not think that it had any potential. Eventually it was picked up. Bowbrick always regretted that nobody picked up Musarugwa’s Tinochimero, which he thought would have been a bigger hit. The Chishona vocals probably put western bands off.

Spokes Mashiane recorded Skokiaan in 1955, some years before his hit, Kwela Claude, made the penny whistle acceptable.

After he got enough money to buy instruments, Musarugwa launched the Bulawayo Sweet Rhythm Band.

At the time African contestants in dance competitions wore white tie and tails. A 30 inch watch chain was de rigueur, going from the fly buttons to the right trouser pocket.

The tune came from the one played in shebeens to warn staff and customers that there was a police raid and staff and customers should dispose of the evidence. The sheebeen might indeed have been supplying skokiaan, but was more likely to have been selling lager or spirits – it was illegal to sell Natives (Black Africans) anything but the traditional beer – looking like a dilute maize or sorghum flour porridge with 2.5% alcohol. Skokiaan was sometimes traditional beer fortified with methylated spirits, which could blind or kill. Musarugwa was well acquainted with sheebeens as a policeman and as a customer.

When Louis Armstrong visited Bulawayo, some years after his hit, he arranged to play with August at his concert. Louis was shocked to hear that August had spent all his earnings. August was startled to hear how much he should have earned in royalties. On investigation, it turned out that this was because he had been asked to sign the standard contract, under which an African artist only got royalties on sales in Southern Africa. However, Bowbrick had vetted the contract and crossed out the relevant sentences before Musarugwa signed it, so he was entitled to full royalties. His lawyers, Coghlan and Welsh, took it up.

The name was definitely pronounced Musarugwa, but they were switching to a new orthography in the 1930s which could explain spelling differences.

I have a strong recollection of it being Bulawayo Sweet Rhythm, not Rhythms, Band – we had all the records at home.

It is my impression, but only that, that August joined the Cold Storage at about the same time as my father: they were certainly not allowed to leave the police during the war.

As a police bandsman he would have played several instruments. I never heard of him playing an mbira.

I have never heard of a 1947 recording.

Sources: I knew August from age 5 to age 11, when he left the Cold Storage in 1954. My father Syd Bowbrick kept up with him until 1966 when Syd left the country after UDI. My brother, who was also at the recording session, worked for his solicitors. Peter Bowbrick peter@bowbrick.eu —Preceding unsigned comment added by 62.88.95.28 (talk) 20:17, 28 March 2009 (UTC)

Skokiaan (part 2)[edit]

Stephan Koenig à quality.econom. afficher les détails 13:42 (Il y a 1 minute) Répondre


Thank you very much for these explanations. Stephan Koenig (62.88.83.155 (talk) 11:47, 30 March 2009 (UTC))


2009/3/30 Quality Economics <quality.economics@blueyonder.co.uk> - Masquer le texte des messages précédents -


I should have mentioned perfect hygiene at the abbatoir – they have to have far higher standards than Britain if they are to export to us.

Slavery. August’s tribe in the East would have been threatened by slavers over a thousand years. The last raid was Arab/Portuguese slavers in 1905. I do not know what part his tribe played in this.

The Matabele, based in Bulawayo, were a Zulu offshoot who arrived in 1836. They were one of Chaka’s impi who did not dare return to Zululand after an unsuccessful raid. They used the Zulu system of capturing tribes, enslaving or killing the men, enslaving and marrying the women. Much nastier than commercial slavery. When they settled in Southern Rhodesia they continued this system. There were annual raids on surrounding tribes for grain, cattle and women. This was the nominal excuse for the 1893 Matebele war and the occupation of Matabeleland. It is normally expected that it takes at least one generation to get rid of slavery, after its legal abolition. I do not know how they did it in Rhodesia. There were slave tribes and slave owning tribes. There were slave soldiers in the impi. The children were fathered by slave owners and slave mothers. It was not just a matter of sending people home and returning their property. So there were ex-slaves and slave owners around at the time of Skokiaan. People August’s age would have been born in the residual slavery. And the Matabele war was only 60 years before Skokiaan, closer than we are to the recording of Skokiaan.

This is still of fundamental importance in Zimbabwe politics, the Matabele/Shona divide.

Google Chaka Zulu, Matabele, Bemba, Yao, Angoni, Slavery Rhodesia, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Best wishes Peter

Skokiaan (part 3)[edit]

It would be with pleasure but I don't hold any one of both 78 RPM. Sorry. Stephan (Koenig) 62.88.83.155 (talk) 11:52, 30 March 2009 (UTC)


2009/3/29 Quality Economics <quality.economics@blueyonder.co.uk>

If you have the music, I would love a copy.


The Cold Storage Commission was a government marketing board, which bought cattle at a fixed price. It slaughtered them and stored them, frozen or chilled. It exported what it could, and sold some locally. Butchers could buy and sell as much as they liked. The idea was to set a minimum price for farmers, to keep a stable agricultural economy. It was, and is, non profit making.


Bulawayo had an enormous, old, abbatoir, which killed from 500 to 800 head a day. It had 800 workers, living in huts in a compound. There was a holding ground of perhaps 50 acres. There were a dozen houses for whites – we lived there for a year. At the time the technology was primitive, and a lot of the blood and guts which is marketed now was pumped out onto the veld. It was a major stopping point for all migrating birds going down to the South – unlimited food.


There were enormous cold rooms, chiller and freezer. And it had its own railway sidings. Sides of beef were shipped to Cape Town or Durban by rail, then by ship to England. We got the temperature of the refrigerator trucks down packing tanks in the roof with ice mixed with salt. We could get it down to 2 to 5 degrees Farenheit!


It was in the industrial sites.


At the time there were donkeys and muels pulling carts from the station all around town. The donkeys used to escape and take refuge in our holding ground. We children used to catch them and ride on them.


August and my father worked in a small office in the compound. You got used to the smells. We used to walk all over the factory, and ride on the railway engines from the age of six.


It was run as a fiefdom, with its own school, shops, scholarships, etc. So when later there were riots burning factories in Bulawayo, the staff were issued with pick handles to defend the factory and their jobs. Certainly all the staff knew everything I did until I left Rhodesia when Ian Smith got in.


The only time I have seen Skokiaan was with August, though I have drunk potheen in Ireland (Don’t!)


Best wishes

Peter

skokiaan (part 3)[edit]

Sort of! The British South Africa Company’s police was a sort of private army that occupied Southern Rhodesia, North Eastern Rhodesia and North Western Rhodesia. It fought in the Matabele and Mashona rebellions of 1896. It took part in anti slavery wars up to 1897. It conducted the Jameson raid, and fought in the Boer War and the First World War. It was basically a mounted police force that could become mounted infantry at a moment’s notice. After Self government in 1922 in Southern Rhodesia, it became the British South Africa Police – nothing to do with the South African Police. Still mounted infantry, Photos attached.

In the second world war the single men went straight into the army, mostly into the SAS and the Long Range Desert Group, of which they were founder members. This is the 300 whites I am talking about. Similarly, the black troops became the backbone of the Rhodesian African Rifles and the Kings African Rifles in Burma.


When I was young the country claimed it could get 53000 armed men at 24 hours notice, with a white population of 200,000.


So, while they had a record of 70 years of blood free race relations after the rebellion, the possibility of a rebellion was always at the back of their minds.


As you will see the native police did not wear boots. We were not too keen on them either, not in that climate. We had tough feet: my first wife used to stomp out her cigarettes with her bare feet.


Policemen carried 303 rifles doing patrols in the bush, to shoot for the pot.


Best wishes

Peter


From: Stephan Koenig [12] Sent: 29 March 2009 15:28


Is that an army ?

2009/3/29 Quality Economics <quality.economics@blueyonder.co.uk>

See bandsmen 1936


From: Stephan Koenig [13]

Sent: 28 March 2009 20:15

To: quality.economics@blueyonder.co.uk Subject: Re: Skokiaan

62.88.89.45 (talk) 20:14, 30 March 2009 (UTC)












2 pièces jointes — Télécharger toutes les pièces jointes Afficher toutes les images

027 Gwelo.bmp

6545 Ko Afficher Télécharger

009 Lloyd.bmp

1059 Ko Afficher Télécharger

Skokiaan (part 4)[edit]

  • Skokiaan (South African Song), 12/1959 : from AUGUST (Machon) MSARURGWA SKY's Marimba solo instrumental SKOKIANA/SIKOKIYANA/MAHEWU, Southern Rhodesia [now, Zimbabwe in the Southern Africa region), probably reissued on (Eric Gallo's Brunswick Gramophone House in Jo'burg) Gallo/Gallotone in 1952; an illicit home-brewed liquor made primarly of yeast, sugar and (warm) water, a Zulu Tsaba-Tsaba alcoholic tribal drinking song drunk on the beach under the moonlight by the Zulu tribes : the skomfani skokiaan. ***Skokiaan means moonshine. However this tune, still instrumental (sax & trumpet version), was already recorded by the African Dance Band of the Cold Storage Commission of Southern Rhodesia, leader August Msarurgwa (other spelling as MUSARURWA, MUSARURGWA and MUSURURGWA [which is his real Mashonaland surname] depending on the used Zulu languages : Afrikaans, Fanagalo, Tsonga/Changana or Venda).***The disc featuring Karekwangu on the B-side was issued on GALLO-Gallotone-JIVE GB.1152 and released in 1947.***[14]
Peter :

As I say, I do not know of a marimba version or an mbira one. Or indeed the 1947 one. I cannot find a reference to the Marimba one. All alcohol is made of yeast, sugar and water. The skokiaan in Southern Rhodesia would have been traditional beer, fortified with poisonous meths. i.e. not moonshine or potheen. Some years later they were distilling in Zambia. Variant spellings were due to a change in the spelling system for Shona a bit earlier than this. Afrikaans is not Zulu, but kitchen Dutch, Fanagalo is kitchen Zulu. Venda is a Shona dialect – i.e. a Bantu language but not one of the Sesutho or Zulu trees but the third branch.

I would be reluctant to say it was a South African song without evidence, rather like saying Land of Hope and Glory was a French song. I do not know how much August amended a traditional song or just arranged it. Burns, for example turned crap Scottish traditional songs into poetry, often with amended music.

I have never seen a Zulu drinking on the beach, though it is possible. Mostly they are inland. Zimbabwe is a long long way from the beach.

I do not understand the 12/1959 reference – surely it would be much earlier. (I replied Bill Haley & His Comets)

Try this: Peter to me.

      • Skokiaan (Zimbabwian Song), based on a song played in shebeens to warn of police raids. Skokiaan in Zimbabwe was traditional beer fortified by poisonous methelated spirits and was illegal. It was first recorded by August Msarurgwa (other spelling as MUSARURWA, MUSARURGWA and MUSURURGWA: There are variant spellings as the system for writing Chishona had just changed) and was possibly composed by him.

The tune was first recorded as a sax and trumpet instrumental by the African Dance Band of the Cold Storage Commission of Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) under leadership of August Msarurgwa. The disc, featuring Karekwangu on the B-side, was issued on GALLO-Gallotone-JIVE GB.1152 and released in 1947.

The hit version was recorded in 1953 by August Musarugwa and the African Dance Band of the Cold Storage Commission of Southern Rhodesia for Gallotone. The band changed its name to the Bulawayo Sweet Rhythms band at the time the record became successful in 1954.

(Of course it depends who you want it for, and how long you want it)

Best wishes

Peter

                                 62.88.84.8 (talk) 13:07, 31 March 2009 (UTC) (Stephan Koenig)

Skokiaan (Zimbabwean song) (Part 5)[edit]

Dear Stephan, The CD Bulawayo Jazz 1950,51,51 was recorded by Hugh Tracy. It has a 1952 ‘trial’ version of Skokiaan. The notes say that August joined the Cold Storage in 1950, citing JOYCE Jenje Makwenda, ‘Zimbabwe Township Music’ wwwzimbabwetownshipmusic.co.zw storytime@zol.co.ZW. Before that he lived in KweKwe, two hundred miles away. So the label on the front page of Wikepedia is for the 1953 recording published probably in 1954. The one with kare kwanga, could be the same one with In the Mood given a local name.My ….. The In the Mood lyrics are in Sindebele, or one of the Zulu family. Again must be post 1950.

Peter 62.88.82.212 (talk) 15:29, 2 April 2009 (UTC)

Skokiaan (pt 6)[edit]

afficher les détails 16:58 (Il y a 53 minutes) Répondre


This is from the man who made the CD with all August’s tracks on, the Tracy recordings. Bulawayo Jazz. It is great. It has a 1952 impromptu version of Skokiaan with everyone jamming at the same time.

From: Michael Baird [15] Sent: 05 April 2009 11:49 To: peter@bowbrick.eu Subject: Re: All About Jazz Inquiry from Peter Bowbrick re: Other

Dear Peter,

Thanks for your email. I don't really know what you are referring to - I have compiled my cd series from what I dug up in the archive. There will be no more August Musarurwa released by SWP Records. At ILAM there are many 78s in pretty poor condition; this is undoubtably where the tracks you talk about are to be found.

With best wishes, Michael


visit http://www.swp-records.com for more info, secure online shopping

Posted by 62.88.93.242 (talk) 15:57, 11 April 2009 (UTC) and a sound sample from each album

On 4 Apr 2009, at 16:46, peter@bowbrick.eu wrote:


My Name: Peter Bowbrick - peter@bowbrick.eu

Purpose of Inquiry: Other

Inquiry Details: Thank you very much for the Bulawayo Jazz CD. As a boy I knew August (Details on skokiaan Wikepedia discussion page) The Rhodes site www.greenstone.ilam.ru.ac.za has an uncredited Skokiana and Karewangu recording with incorrect details. I guess that one is the 1953 recording of Skokiaan by Muserugwa and the Karewangu is also by him and was on the back of Skokiaan, on a record mentioned in the discussion, with an impossible date.

    If you do get a copy of Karewangu, I would love to have a copy.

And if you do come across The Bulawayo Sweet Rhythm recording of Tinochimero [sic] Gallotone, I would love a copy. My father desperately tried to get the western record companies to take it up as a follow up to Skokiaan, but with no success. I imagine because it was unsaleable with the Shona lyrics.

   Thank you again for your work on African music

Peter Bowbrick peter@bowbrick.eu. Please answer to my e-mail as i am not likely to log on to this site again.

This inquiry was initiated from your musician profile at All About Jazz. http://musicians.allaboutjazz.com

Peter Bowbrick is responsible for the contents of this message.

62.88.93.242 (talk) 15:57, 11 April 2009 (UTC) (Stephan Koenig) - April 11, 2009 - 5:55pm

Nice piece of work!! —Preceding unsigned comment added by 80.171.34.240 (talk) 08:47, 31 May 2009 (UTC)

Skokiaan[edit]

Definitively not recorded in 1947 seeing August "Msarurgwa" joined the African Dance Band of the Cold Storage Commission of SR in late 1949, early 1950. This 78" has been released on 8 June 1951. Info from Goldworthy, Disa and Mr. Peter Bowbrick, all from Great Britain. Musururwa is the right spelling taken from the village of the same name in the Zwimba Reserve. E-mails: goldworthy@ukzn.ac.za - disa@ukzn.ac.za 14:00, 12 October 2009 (UTC) Stephan KŒNIG —Preceding unsigned comment added by 91.86.107.136 (talk)

Spokes Mashiane[edit]

The list of recordings does not include Spokes Mashiane's recording, rather late, 1956? by my memory. This was the first Kwela we heard and caused great laughter. Later it took off as a quite independent form in South Africa particularly.81.98.178.89 (talk) 22:36, 24 December 2014 (UTC)

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