1 June 2004
Late pop icon Brenda Fassie scooped two posthumous awards at the South African Music Awards (Samas) at Sun City in North West province over the weekend, while jazz overtook kwaito, with Miriam Makeba and Zim Ngqawana walking away with the most awards – though masked Kwaito star Mzekezeke proved he’s still the people’s favourite.
The Samas – the 10th year of which coincides with a decade of democracy in SA – is the longest-running music awards event in the country, with categories spanning all musical genres.
“The Sama 10 event also marks a decade of awarding excellence and recognising artistic talent”, said the Recording Industry of South Africa, which organises the annual event.
Fassie’s “Vulindlela” was voted Song of the Decade, while “Memeza”, which has sold over 550 000 copies, received the award for Best Selling Release of the Decade.
Veteran musician and producer Sello “Chicco” Twala, who produced some of Fassie’s biggest hits, received one of three Lifetime Achievement Awards handed out at Sama 10. The late “Big Voice” Jack Lerole, and Juluka, were the other two recipients.
- More on the Lifetime Achievement Awards
Zim Ngqawana’s album “Vadzimu” scored three awards: Best Male Artist – beating Arno Carstens, Danny K, Bheki Mseleku and Winston Mankunku Ngozi – Best South African Traditional Jazz Album, and Best Engineer, awarded to Peter Pearlson.
Miriam Makeba’s recent release, “Reflections”, scooped three awards: Best Jazz Vocal, Best Adult Contemporary: English, and Best DVD.
Masked Kwaito star Mzekezeke again proved himself as the people’s choice, winning the majority vote for both Artist of the Year and Song of the Year, for “Akekh’ uGogo”.
Kabelo Mabalane’s “And the Beat Goes On” was named Best Kwaito Album.
The rest of the Sama winners
- Best Female Artist – Swazi Dlamini (album: “My First Love”)
- Best Duo or Group – Mafikizolo (“Kwela”)
- Best Tsonga Music – George Maluleke (“Ri Orheli”)
- Best Mbhaqanga Album – Soul Brothers (“Kuze Kuse”)
- Best Maskandi Album – Phuzekhemisi (“We Baba”)
- Best Newcomer – Adilah (“S’esfikile”)
- Best Music Video – Tebogo Matlhatse (“Smatsatsa” by Thembi)
- Best Instrumental Album – Lorraine Shannon (“Lorraine Shannon”)
- Best Contemporary Jazz Album – Dondo (“Changing Times”)
- Best Adult Contemporary Album: Afrikaans – Amanda Strydom (“Verspreide Donderbuie”)
- Best Adult Contemporary Album: African – Jabu Khanyile (“Wankolota”)
- Best Pop Album – Watershed (“Wrapped in Stone”)
- Best African Pop Album – Ringo Madlingozi (“Ringo Live”)
- Best Rock Album – Arno Carstens (“Another Universe”)
- Best R&B Album – TK (“Black Butterfly”)
- Best Dance Album – Revolution (“The Journey Continues…”)
- Best Rap Album – Skwatta Kamp (“Mkhukhu Funkshen”)
- Best Contemporary Gospel Album – Joyous Celebration (“Live in Cape Town”)
- Best Traditional Gospel Album – IPCC (“Mamelang”)
- Best African Gospel Album – Rebecca Malope (“Hlala Nami”)
- Best Soundtrack – Zynne Sibika (TV drama “Tsha Tsha”)
- Best Album Packaging – Derick Taljaard (“Perels voor die Swyne” by Johannes Kerkorrel)
- Best Producer – Andile Yenana and Winston “Mankunku” Ngozi (“Abantwana Be Afrika” by Ngozi)
- Best Single – Anke Pietrangeli (“Silver Lining”)
- Best Male Composer – Jeff Maluleke (“Mambo”)
- Best Female Composer – Gloria Bosman (“Play Me the Love Songs”)
- Best Joint Composition – Alexis Faku and Tsakani Mhinga (“Black Butterfly”)
- Best Selling Release of the Year – Steve Hofmeyr (“Toeka”)Lifetime Achievement Awards
Veteran musician and producer Sello “Chicco” Twala, who produced some of Fassie’s biggest hits, received one of three Lifetime Achievement Awards handed out at this year’s Samas. The late “Big Voice” Jack Lerole, and Juluka, were the other two recipients.
“Our veteran artists are the lifeblood of our industry,” said Sama chairperson Duma ka Ndlovu. “Through passion and talent, they have forged new paths and broken down barriers.”
The prestigious award honours an individual’s contribution to the music industry, and goes to those who have been in the music business for at least 20 years – no small feat in South Africa, given the difficulties of working under apartheid.
Juluka, Chicco and “Big Voice” Jack have all altered the landscape of South African music, but each has done so in a different way.
Juluka is renowned for fusing Western and African melodies, lyrics and structure; Chicco’s distinct style has African and Latin American influences; and the late Lerole was a self-taught pennywhistle player who became a shining light in kwela music and a great force in jazz.
Johnny Clegg and Sipho Mchunu formed Juluka in the early 1970s, after Mchunu challenged Clegg – already known as a competent Zulu guitarist in the maskandi tradition – to a guitar competition.
Mchunu and Clegg struck up a forbidden friendship that led to a musical partnership. The collaboration persisted despite racial abuse and police harassment – and continues today.
Their music, with its mix of languages and cultures, was often banned and blacklisted.
Juluka won many awards between 1979 and 1985, when it finally broke up. Clegg’s second band, Savuka, split up in 1993. In 1996, Mchunu and Clegg re-formed Juluka and recorded “Ya Vuka Inkunzi”.
The pair are now working on a traditional Zulu album.
Chicco, aka Sello Twala, took up percussion and played in bands such as Umoja and Harari in the 1980s, before launching a solo career in 1985 at the age of 22.
A year later the album “We don’t need war” became his first triple-platinum release, and in 1990 he teamed up with poet Mzwakhe Mbuli on the song “Papa stop the war”.
Chicco, a long-time admirer of music from other parts of Africa, took time off to travel, and in 1991 produced “Nomari”, which incorporates African and Latin American influences.
South Africa’s readmission into the African fold has given Chicco fresh sources of inspiration; he is reaching new heights in his career and is developing new talent on the continent.
He has also produced the music of South African stars such as Yvonne Chaka Chaka and the late Brenda Fassie.
‘Big voice’ Jack Lerole
Lerole’s musical career began on the streets of Alexandra in the early 1950s: he was inspired by the music of “amaSkosh”, who marched about in Scottish kilts playing pennywhistles.
Cuthbert Mthembu of the erstwhile Radio Bantu discovered him, and Lerole honed his craft as a street musician. In 1952 he recorded his first single, “Filasiya Rhala”.
Lerole and his brother formed Black Mambazo in the early 1960s, which struck chords with international listeners. His bellowing, ultra-bass style of singing – which became known as “groaning” – earned him the name “Big Voice Jack”.
When the popularity of kwela started to fade, Black Mambazo adopted mbaqanga and swapped the pennywhistle for the saxophone.
Lerole founded Mango Groove with Claire Johnston in 1983, and co-wrote one of their biggest hits, “Dance some more”.
But it was through performing at the Bassline in Melville that greater renown found “Big Voice”: Dave Mathews invited him to perform in New York and Boston in 1997.
Lerole’s music evokes nostalgic memories of Sophiatown and the Drum era, and his young pennywhistle students continue to practise the legacy left by his death in 2003.
SouthAfrica.info reporter. Additional reporting by Chandrea Gerber, City of Johannesburg