Select Page

A jazzy warm welcome to Marabi Jazz Lounge

 Marabi is a style of music that evolved in South Africa over the last century.  Marabi was the name given to a keyboard style that had a musical link to American jazz, ragtime and blues, with roots deep in the African tradition.  Early marabi musicians were part of an underground musical culture and were not recorded.

The African Jazz Pioneers is one of the few groups that for decades made marabi their style of music.  The group also performed at the prestigious Montreux Jazz Festival with their performance resulting into a live recording of an album.  Even though marabi originated in Johannesburg, it spread to many other parts of South Africa.   Abdullah Ibrahim’s early music career was influenced by marabi and many others.

Other groups that made marabi very popular include Jazz Maniacs, the Merry Blackbirds and the Jazz Revellers. By then, marabi had grown beyond its early stages.  It was recorded in studios, played on radio stations and made available in the entire country.  As South Africans, we are proud to call this music genre our own.

As we enter the month of September which is also Heritage Month, we salute our departed jazz icons.  These include Zim Ngqawana, Winston “Mankunku” Ngozi, Bheki Mseleku, Johnny Fourie, Thandi Klaasen, Mirriam Makeba, Johnny Dyani, Ezra Ngcukana. Dolly Rathebe, Johnny Mekoa, Edmund “Ntemie” Piliso, Dudu Pukwana, Lulu Gontsana, Basil Moses, Moses Khumalo and Moses Molelekwa.

We still have a long list of living legends that are making sure that South African jazz is truly international.  They include Dorothy Masuka, Sibongile Khumalo, Estelle Kokot, Hugh Masekela, Herbie Tsoaeli, Phillip Tabane, Barney Rachabane, Tete Mbambisa, Tutu Puoane, Linda Kekana, Paul Hamner, Marcus Wyatt, McCoy Mrubata, Nduduzo Makhathini, Carlo Mombelli and Andile Yenana.

Welcome to Marabi Jazz Lounge, a blog that is a platform for jazz.  In this blog, we will post about what is happening mainly in South Africa. The reason we named this blog Marabi Jazz Lounge is to give it a South African identity. We will also bring you stories about jazz musicians and individuals that are making a significant contribution to the promotion and growth of jazz. Subscribers are welcome to interact with us as we embark on this new journey.