1001 South African Songs You Must Hear Before You Go Deaf

Just another music list

A Swinging Safari – Shangaans

Jungle Drums - The Shangaans

Jungle Drums – The Shangaans

‘A Swinging Safari’ was actually written by and made famous by a German chap called Bert Kaempfert who, along with his orchestra, created a ‘African’ sound that found favour in Europe and elsewhere. He also recorded other ‘African’ songs like ‘Wimoweh ‘ (aka ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight’), ‘Zambezi’ and ‘Skokiaan’.

‘A Swinging Safari’ is immediately recognisable and some of the younger readers may recognise it as the tune behind Akkedis’ ‘Sweet Stelenganga’. But while Bert used various orchestral sounds (including a penny whistle) to create his sound, The Shangaans were a beat band and therefore used Hammond organs and guitars to produce their version of the track. The band consisted of Johnny Dean, Alain D Woolf, Grahame Beggs, Mark Berry, Glen Muller (surprisingly they didn’t call themselves the Glen Muller Band) and Bill Mulller. Their version is a bouncing romp through the song and mixes the African rhythm of the track with the 60’s beat band sound to good effect. It brought a local-ness to a sound which was African but not of Africa.

Safaris are wonderful things to go on. They take you out of the everyday dullness of life, give you a healthy dose of fresh air and relaxation and let you lose yourself in the wonders and calmness of nature. They can be exciting and surprising, but you can’t always get the time off to disappear into he bush, but if you have a spare 3 minutes, you can put on the Shangaans’ ‘A Swinging Safari’ and lose yourself in the wonderful freshness and relaxation that these beats bring.

Where to find it:
Jungle Drums (Vinyl) – The Shangaans (1965)


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