DIGITAL VAULT // Hotep Idris Galeta - Heading Home

Monday 7 June 2021 marks what would have been the 80th birthday of pianist, composer, educator and cultural industries advocate Hotep Idris Galeta (1941-2010) - a figure whose contributions to South African jazz at home and abroad have yet to be fully documented and understood. With this in mind, As-Shams is excited to announce a forthcoming digital release of Galeta's 1990 magnum opus Heading Home (available only on vinyl and cassette to date). The album was recorded in Cape Town during one of Galeta's first trips back to South Africa after living in exile for 30 years and he shines as a frontman and composer with the formidable backing of Khaya Mahlangu on sax, Spencer Mbadu on bass and Monty Weber on drums. Issued on the African Echoes imprint, Heading Home helped shape the profound themes and tone of South African jazz in the1990s and, over thirty years later, Galeta's compositions still exude a timeless vitality. Happy birthday Bra Hotep.

Hotep Galeta with friend and producer Rashid Vally (June 1990)

ANNOUNCING // HARARI - Beaters & Rufaro

Keyboards • Vocals - Selby Ntuli
Bass - Alec Khaoli
Drums - Sipho Mabuse
Recorded at Gallo Studios
Engineer: Peter Cerenio
Produced by Rashid Vally
Original Release 1975 • Cat. No. GL 1814

Keyboards • Vocals - Selby Ntuli
Bass - Alec Khaoli
Drums - Sipho Mabuse
Recorded at Gallo Studios
Engineer: Peter Cerenio
Produced by Rashid Vally
Original Release 1976 • Cat. No. GL 1874
FEBRUARY 2021: Friends and bandmates from schooldays, Selby Ntuli, Sipho Mabuse and Alec Khaoli already had a pair of sturdy rhythm and blues records on CBS under their belt by the mid-70s but it was over the course of two formidable albums with As-Shams in 1975 and 1976 that they transitioned into the Afro-rock juggernaut that would forge South Africa's most unique and successful modern dance sound of the era. It was also over the course of these two albums that the Beaters would transition into Harari, taking on the identity of their signature song, which in turn took its name from what would later become the capital city of Zimbabwe. Mastered from original tapes with beautifully restored artwork and comprehensive notes, Beaters - Harari (1975) and Harari - Rufaro (1976) are due for reissue by Matsuli Music on 1 March 2021.

MOVEMENT IN THE CITY - Black Teardrops

Keyboards • Organ • Guitar - Pops Mohamed
Tenor Sax - Basil "Manenberg" Coetzee (Flute on "Camel Walk")
Alto Sax • Flute - Robbie Jansen
Bass - Sipho Gumede (Peter Odendaal on "Camel Walk")
Drums - Roger Harry (Monty Weber on "Camel Walk")
Recorded at Satbel Studio ("Camel Walk" at Gallo)
Engineer: Phil Audoire
Produced by Rashid Vally
Original Release 1981 • Cat. No. SRK 786150

DECEMBER 2020: 1981 South African Soul-Funk-Jazz by the creator of the Black Disco albums. As underground jazz fermented in the social and political powder keg of early-80s South Africa, composer and bandleader Pops Mohamed retired the Black Disco moniker in favour of Movement in the City. The group's second offering under their new name yielded one of the most treasured releases in the As-Shams/The Sun catalogue by way of Black Teardrops, a singular blend of down-tempo and atmospheric South African rare groove featuring Dollar Brand saxophonist Basil "Manenberg" Coetzee and bass wizard Sipho Gumede. Sharp-Flat's 2020 reissue puts the album back in print for the first time in 40 years.

GIDEON NXUMALO - Early-Mart Suite

24 December 2020: Gideon Nxumalo was a key figure during the formative years of South African jazz in the 1950s, helping shape the emerging South African jazz sound as a pianist and composer and contributing to the scene as a radio presenter, music teacher and arranger. His recorded output as bandleader/composer is comprised of three iconic albums from Jazz Fantasia (1962) to Gideon Plays (1968) to Early-Mart (1970).

Early-Mart was Gideon Nxumalo's tribute to his friend and musical compatriot, drummer Early Mabuza (Castle Lager Big Band, Mankunku Quartet), who died in 1969. Nxumalo assembled what journalist and observer Leslie Sehume reports was a 14-piece band for the album, which was recorded during a legendary overnight session in February 1970 and released just months before Nxumalo's own death on 24 December 1970.

Opening the album is the 15-minute title suite Early-Mart, a journey through the life of Early Mabuza that is epic in scope and varied in form and that reconciles moments of great joy with others of deep pathos. As a precursor to our 50th anniversary vinyl repressing of the album and its full digital release, we present the composition's two distinct musical parts accompanied by an archival portrait of Early Mabuza from 1970 by artist Winston Saoli.

Produced by Rashid Vally, Early-Mart (KRS 107) was released on Soultown Records, which would evolve into As-Shams/The Sun in 1974. It was Vally's first foray into avant-garde South African jazz and would lead to his label's fertile relationship with Abdullah Ibrahim (recording as Dollar Brand). Winston Saoli's painting was not used for the original release of Early-Mart in 1970 but his work does appear on Dollar Brand + 2 - Peace (KRS 110) in 1971.

Composed & Arranged by Gideon "Mgibe" Nxumalo
Recorded at Ster Studios, Johannesburg
Engineer: Trevor Evans
Produced by Rashid Vally

SISONKE XONTI - uGaba the Migration

13 November 2020: Highly anticipated sophomore release from saxophonist and composer Sisonke Xonti, winner of South Africa's 2020 Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Jazz. At the centre of the album, Xonti's four-part "Migration Suite" is his boldest work to date, exploring rural and urban identity and the perilous spiritual journey from homeland to the global village. Produced by Xonti and pianist Yonela Mnana and featuring photography by Mandisa Buthelezi, the album appears on As-Shams/The Sun as part of a roster of new artist releases on the cusp of the iconic South African jazz label's 50th anniversary.

Music & Words by S. Xonti • Photography by Mandisa Buthelezi
"The Call" by S. Xonti & B. Dyer with Lyrics by Keorapetse Kolwane
Poem “Migration” on "The Migration Suite Part II" by Teboho Moleko

Tenor Sax • Soprano Sax • Vox - Sisonke Xonti
Piano • Vox - Yonela Mnana
Trumpet - Sakhile Simani
Double Bass - Benjamin Jephta
Drums - Sphelelo Mazibuko
Percussion - Tlale Makhene
Bokani Dyer - Rhodes
Keorapetse Kolwane - Vox
Lwanda Gogwana - Trumpet 
Vuyo Manyike - Electric Bass
Leagan Breda - Drums

Produced by Sisonke Xonti & Yonela Mnana
Recorded by Peter Auret at Sumo Sound Studio, Johannesburg
Assistant Engineers: Tshepo Mothwa & Luyanda Molao
Mixed by Francis Müller • Mastered by Rogan Kelsey
Created with the Support of Standard Bank
Design Layout by Rouleaux van der Merwe
Produced for As-Shams by Calum MacNaughton
Cat. No. SRK 897246


NOVEMBER 2020: "I can't wait. I wish Basil and Sipho were still alive to see this!" Pops Mohamed, October 2020. When Mohamed approached label director Rashid Vally at As-Shams in the mid-70s to pitch the idea of his Timmy Thomas-inspired Black Disco project, he never imagined that he would be tethered with two of the most sought-after session musicians in South African jazz, As-Shams stalwarts Basil "Manenberg" Coetzee (left) and bassist Sipho Gumede (right). Their 1975 debut would spur a string of memorable professional collaborations and a friendship that lasted decades. As alternative urban culture fermented in the social and political powder keg of early-80s South Africa, Mohamed retired the Black Disco moniker in favour of Movement in the City. Their second offering yielded one of As-Shams' most treasured releases by way of Black Teardrops (SRK 786150), a singular blend of down-tempo, atmospheric Soul-Funk-Jazz that's been out of print for nearly 40 years. We're pleased to announce a 2020 reissue in partnership with SHARP-FLAT. Grab this LINK for more details.

Movement in the City (L-R): Robbie Jansen (Alto Sax & Flute), Roger Harry (Drums), Pops Mohamed (Keyboards), Basil Coetzee (Tenor Sax). Absent: Sipho Gumede (Bass Guitar). Also featured on Black Teardrops are Peter Odendaal (Bass) and Monty Weber (Drums).

UPDATE // TETE MBAMBISA - Did You Tell Your Mother

JUNE 2020: Revisiting archival recordings helps us collectively assemble, re-construct and write the story of South African jazz. It also provides a crucial opportunity to honour the elders of the jazz scene and acknowledge their profound contributions to shaping the genre in our country. Making all this possible is a small but dedicated music community that manifests these artefacts through passionate support. Thank you. We're delighted that Did You Tell Your Mother has reached many of you in lockdown but also a little heartbroken that this reissue has arrived at a time where we can't gather publicly to celebrate composer and pianist Tete Mbambisa in the manner he deserves. While we await a clear view to a Cape Town event, you can seek out a copy of this classic 1979 release on LP from SA record stores, CDs directly from Tete's management or DIGITAL ALBUM.


Trumpet - Mandla Mlangeni
Tenor Sax - Max Treutner
Alto Sax - Benedikt Reising
Trombone - Josephine Nagorsnik
Bass - Oz Yehiely
Drums - Felix Wolf

Composed by Mandla Mlangeni
Album Artowork by Baba Tjeko
Recorded in Bern, Switzerland in 2018
Mixed & Mastered by Gavan Eckhart at Soul Fire
Produced for As-Shams by Calum MacNaughton
Cat. No. SRK 897245

MARCH 2020: Composer and trumpeter Mandla Mlangeni is a dynamic and ambitious young force in South African jazz and has gained traction internationally via residencies in Germany and Switzerland and as a member of Shabaka & The Ancestors. As a bandleader, Mlangeni nurtures a palette of shapeshifting projects from the Amandla Freedom Ensemble to the Tune Recreation Committee to showcase his compositions at home and abroad. The BirdSong Ensemble behind Imvuselelo is a formidable Swiss collective and the recording follows Mlangeni's Berlin-based Bird Song Project LP of 2017. Album artwork was created by South African designer Baba Tjeko and the release marks the 2020 revival of the iconic As-Shams/The Sun South African jazz label. The title track and centrepiece of the album "Imvuselelo" means reawakening and is a 3/4 waltz composed in 2014. Imvuselelo is available in a vinyl edition of 300 copies with an expanded DIGITAL ALBUM featuring an alternate take of "Tau Ya Afrika."

TETE MBAMBISA - Did You Tell Your Mother

Piano - Tete Mbambisa
Tenor Saxophone & Flute - Basil Coetzee
Bass - Zulu Bidi
Drums - Monty Weber

Composed by Tete Mbambisa
Album Artwork by Hargreaves Ntukwana
Produced by Rashid Vally
Original Release 1979 • Cat. No. SRK 786148

NOVEMBER 2019: 40th-anniversary deluxe vinyl repressing of Tete Mbambisa’s Did You Tell Your Mother of 1979 under the creative direction of Eating Standing Records in Italy. Hargreaves Ntukwana’s original ink drawing was revisited to carefully reproduce the album’s iconic cover, which replicates the SRK 786148 first pressing and honours producer Rashid Vally’s minimalist vision. We reached even deeper into the As-Shams Archive to add a rare Hargreaves Ntukwana printed insert advertising the Kohinoor Store, the Johannesburg jazz hub where the album was originally distributed.

Tete Mbambisa performing at the University of Cape Town in 2012
(Photo: Calum MacNaughton)