9 March 2010

Dudu Pukwana - Zila '86

Here is the third of the Zila records on the Jika label and it's a studio recording, in contrast to the two earlier ones. Perhaps because of that, it sounds more polished and arranged than the others. To these ears, also a more deliberate attempt to cross over in order to reach the mainstream, to appeal to the dance club scene and to the emergent audience for so-called world music. In any event, it's an eminently danceable and well-groomed set of tunes, and I'm particulary happy to encounter yet another version of the Dudu classic "Mra", here neatly intertwined with another tune. I think we must be up to about half a dozen versions by now and everyone's a pure delight!

The crew is very much the same as on the former posted here, except that Harry Beckett is unfortunately absent from the proceedings. Pinise Saul is in full force and so are Lucky Ranku, Churchill Jolobe, Ernest Mothle and others of the regular crew. And Django Bates is on piano and synthesizer throughout the disc.

Basic info:

Dudu Pukwana - Zila '86
Jika ZL3

Side A

1. Madodana (The Young Ones) (Dudu Pukwana)
2. Hamba (Go away) (Victor Ndlaziwana)
3a. Mra (Dudu Pukwana)
3b. Khali (Columbus Ngukana)
4. Harare '86 (Dudu Pukwana)

Side B

1a. Nonceba /Merciful) (Dudu Pukwana)
1b. Nonmpongo (Ace) (Allen Kwela/Dudu Pukwana)
2. Let's Get Together (Mervyn Africa)
3. August One (Ntulukazi) (Adam Glaser/Dudu Pukwana)

Zila personnel all tracks

Dudu Pukwana Alto & soprano saxophones, Arranger
Pinise Saul Vocals & Cabassa
Lucky Ranku Electric guitar
Churchill Jolobe Drums
Fats Ramobo Mogoboya Congas


Django Bates synthesizer on A1 A2 A3 B1b/B2, piano on B1 B2, tenor horn on A3 B3
Mervyn Africa Piano on Side A/B2, Vocal on B2
Adam Glasser synthesizer on A4/B3
Eric Richards Electric Bass on A1/A4/Side B
Ernest Mothle Electric Bass on A1/A4 Side B
Roberto Pla Timbales on A1/A3/B2
Josh Makhene Backing Vocals on Side A/B1/B2

Rrecorded January 1986 at Wave Studios, London
Engineered by Martin Giles
Produced by Dudu & Barbara Pukwana
Phoography and sleeve design by Jak Kilby
Cover illustration by Nathan Dambuza Mdledle

So get those feet tapping and other body parts shaking! Party time!


kinabalu said...




Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing this. I agree, MRA is a fascinating tune to track through all its versions. I often put the version from Gwigwi's Kwela next to the one from the first Brotherhood of Breath record on mixes. Can't wait to hear all of this. Thanks again, MB

wightdj said...

Nice treat, I don't remember running across this one before. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for Zila 86. New for me, appreciate the chance to hear this.

Anonymous said...

Greetings to all you enthusiasts who love this music. As one of the original players on Zila 86 ( and co composer of August One) I thought you might like to know that some of us are still going strong - Barbara Pukwana, Dudu's wife and original producer of so many of his albums is still very committed to african jazz and co produces the African Jazz Allstars which includes Lucky Ranku, Pinise Saul and yours truly on keyboards. Check us out at Ronnie Scotts on 22 May and at the Camden Centre 4th June in London.

But just one afterthought - I have mixed feelings about seeing our music distributed here for free.

On the one hand everybody is doing it, and if it wasnt for websites like this freely sharing, those of you who love this music would probably never get the chance to hear it again.

On the other hand, supposing Barbara wanted to do a re-issue of Dudu's albums, the fact that they were all available for nothing would make it that much more commercially unviable, and those of us trying to earn a living from music which is the opposite of commercial are kind of left out.

* * *

It is not my intention to put a huge moral trip on everyone. I dont have the answer.. it is the way the internet is going and we have to survive by other means.

So I would say to whoever is getting our music for free, please in your own way do something to contribute back to the communities and peoples from where this music came originally. Make an effort to buy a ticket and attend a live concert or get your friends to.. buy the albums available even if you have a pirated shared file or whatever..

And at least acknowledge the issue amongst yourselves.

I really am not having a go at anyone, not least the site which has lovingly presented all these great albums and is contributing to a community of specialised listeners who value the music


Adam Glasser

kinabalu said...


thanks for a thoughtful message. As you rightly pinpoint, there are some inescapable dilemmas in doing this sort of thing. On the one hand, we'll try to give the music we love wider exposure than what it otherwise might have got. On the other hand, by doing that, we may potentially undercut the reissue market potential, as you rightly argue. There is no easy way out of it, except that we would not post records that have been reissued or that we knew were going to be reissued.

But if blogs of this sort induce labels or copyright owners to put out these records properly again, then we may have served a useful purpose. For the posters, it's not entirely free, as we have to locate these records in the first place, which may not be an easy task, and prferably at an affordable price, too. In the ideal world, all of this should be easily available, but, alas, that world does not exist.

I have come across an "unofficial" concert recording of the African Jazz Allstars, from last year's Willisau festival, but I think I will refrain from putting it up here for the above reasons.

If the Allstars should turn up in my backyard, I'll be there for sure ...

Jak Kilby said...

As the photographer/ sleeve designer, and from not infallible memory banks after all these years - it's worth mentioning that as far as I remember Harry Beckett was on this album. You comment that it's a pity he is not. I can't access my copy to play it right now, being separated by continents, but from what I remember when the album was released Harry was upset that his name was left off the credits. The reason for this was that Dudu gave me the listings info for typesetting and by an oversight, not uncommon ((!), neglected to put the name in question. And not having been in the studio during recording sessions or hearing the pre-release tape I could not be in a position to question the personnel list. As I say, this is from rusty memory but that was the case on one of Dudu's albums I worked on. I'm pretty sure it's this & if you can listen to the recordings and hear a trumpet &/or flugel horn that's definitely Harry Beckett. Dudu was a really great musician by the way, of the best.

kinabalu said...

You're quite right. Listening again, you can discern a trumpet/fluegelhorn on some of the tracks, but it's tightly interwoven with the other instruments and with the arrangements. No solos as on the previous Bracknell/Willisau lp.

Benji said...

does anyone know of a place where I can find the lyrics to Mra sung on this album? very interested, thanks in advance :)

Anonymous said...

Pls re-up!!

kinabalu said...

New link:


Anonymous said...

Thankyou for the re-up. Greatly Appreciated !

apf said...

Thank you !