1001 South African Songs You Must Hear Before You Go Deaf

Just another music list

Sophiatown – Soweto String Quartet

Sophiatown – Soweto String Quartet

Renaissance - Soweto String Quartet

Renaissance – Soweto String Quartet

For many years whites were raiding black music for inspiration and new sounds. Then in 1989, brothers Sandile, Thami and Reuben Khemse teamed up with Makhosini Mnguni, brought along their violins, viola and cello and launched a counter raid. Bringing a township jive swing to the traditionally European instruments and sounds they beat a path that led to a nine month residency at Sun City and through this came to the attention of Grahame Beggs of BMG records. From there they have gone on to scale the musical heights.

Sophiatown was a black area in Johannesburg under apartheid and it suffered a similar fate to District 6 in Cape Town where people were forcefully removed to make way for white housing. Despite the negative connotations the name of the piece conjures up, the song itself is vibrant and uplifting. It is a celebration of life as it bounces along at an upbeat tempo and stands as a wonderful example of what can be achieved by taking the best elements of different cultures and fusing them, rather than, as the song title is a reminder of, dividing.

Where to find it:
Renaissance – Soweto String Quartet (1996), Colossal, CDBSP7009

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One thought on “Sophiatown – Soweto String Quartet

  1. John Egge on said:

    Another stunning tune from my best South African music friends. Thank you, Sandile, Makhosini, Reuben and Thami for being my friends. RIP Sophiatown, long live the SSQ.

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