KK04 // SYD KITCHEN - Across

An atmospheric, spiritual solo guitar outing themed around the four elements. If there was ever any doubt about Syd Kitchen's mastery of the acoustic guitar, this offering certainly puts the matter to rest.

Original Cat. No. NOBUD003
© Syd Kitchen ℗ Kitchen Kulture 2007
2022 Syd Kitchen Digital Archive Cat. No. KK04

SF10 // MASHABE BAND - Mandela

Despite notable forays into the global sounds of rock and disco, the local heart and soul of Zambian popular music in the 20th century lies in the Kalindula sound. With it’s ceremonial tribal roots on homespun guitars, traditional double bass and percussion, Kalindula evolved into a modern, electric sound over the course of the Zamrock years in the 1970s and lived it’s golden age as Zambia’s most popular groove in the 1980s. There to document the prodigious outpouring of creativity was Zambia Music Parlour, the independent outfit that had launched the likes of WITCH, Ngozi Family and Amanaz a decade earlier. One of the label’s principal Kalindula talents was the Mashabe Band, led by songwriter James Chisenga. Deeply Afrocentric with a name that refers to mystical spirits, the Mashabe Band often performed in traditional dress with body paint. Of the band’s three albums and numerous singles issued by ZMPL, Mandela from 1987, named to honour the political prisoner who would go on to lead South Africa’s first democratic administration in 1994, is the group’s most compelling point of entry and an excellent primer for the Kalindula style as a whole. Restored from the master tape vault of the Zambia Music Parlour label, Sharp-Flat presents an essential slice of Zambian music history from a period ripe for investigation and rediscovery. Complex African rhythms with crisp electric amplification and tribal roots presentation, the Mashabe Band formula is mesmerising and infectious.

Composed by Mashabe Band
Recorded at dB Studios, Lusaka
Recording Engineer: Peter Musungilo
Producer: B.D. Nyati
Director: E.G. Khuzwayo

Original Release 1987 • Reissue 2022

WIT4-5 // WITCH - The Disco Singles

By the end of the 1970s, WITCH was a Zambian music institution. Active since 1972, they had survived the Zamrock years and left an impressive garage, psych and prog discography in their wake. But at the outset of the 1980s, the band was ready to embrace the modern sounds of a new era. Undertaking personnel changes and relocating to Zimbabwe, they were primed by the independence celebrations of their neighbouring country to undertake their mythical transformation into an African disco powerhouse.

With access to a state of the art recording studio in Harare, WITCH produced two exquisite albums in the early 1980s. Appearing in 1980, Movin' On was preceded by the single "My Desire," which featured new member Christine Jackson on lead vocals. With an upfront funky bass-line, falsetto backing vocals, swirling synths and tight horns, it was a searing hot disco offering that made no bones about the fact that the WITCH was ready to get down. Composer/vocalist Stanford Tembo's mid-tempo burner "You Are My Sunshine" was the perfect fit for the flip.

Documenting the band's drift from disco into boogie, WITCH's final album Kuomboka was released in 1983 without an accompanying single. New lead vocalist Patrick Chisembele injected youthful energy and a modern soul edge, most notably on "Erotic Delight" with its crisp drums, slinky keys and intoxicating bass groove. Pop reggae was also within the album's stylistic purview by way of the closer "Jah Let the Sunshine" as well as "Change of a Feeling," the flip side of a recently discovered single that wasn't originally released.

Mastered from the original analog tapes for the very first time, SHARP-FLAT brings you the WITCH DISCO SINGLES as you've never heard them before. From Movin' On, WIT 4 presents a single edit of "My Desire" backed with "You Are My Sunshine." From the Kuomboka sessions, WIT 5 presents a single edit of "Erotic Delight" backed with "Change of a Feeling," an unheard WITCH track released for the very first time in 2021. Joining the Rebel Disco Series in the wake of "Freedom Fighter" from early 2021, both releases are available as vinyl 7-inch singles in a regular black edition with a psychedelic African print sleeve as well as limited blue (WIT 4) and pink (WIT 5) editions of 100 copies each.


Backed by bassist Nux Schwartz and drummer Wesley Gibbens, Syd Kitchen returned to the studio for AmaKoologiK (1999) after a four-year leave of absence. The personal songwriting of City Child (1995) had given way to a more socio-political orientation that examined South Africa's post-apartheid experience with satirical detachment. Gone were the swinging jazz rhythms that underpinned his sophomore offering as Kitchen sharpened his signature Afro-Saxon sound. Running under 30 minutes and issued as a maxi CD, AmaKooligiK was Kitchen's gateway to Africa's Not for Sissies (2001) and it's period-defining title track. As the promises of the Rainbow Nation began to collapse amidst rising crime and economic ruin, Kitchen was there to capture South Africa's millennium mood with his unique blend of painful truth and stoic humour.

All Songs Written & Arranged by Syd Kitchen

Syd Kitchen - Acoustic &  Electric Guitars, Mandolin, Vocals
Wesley Gibbens - Drums, Percussion
Nux Schwartz - Bass
Greg Leisegang - Accordion
Karen van Pletzen - Backing Vocals

Produced by Syd Kitchen & Nux Schwartz 
Recorded at No Budget Studios in Umbilo
Engineered by Nux Schwartz
Mixed by Syd Kitchen & Nux Schwartz at Tropical Sweat Studios
Mastered by Jürgen Bräuninger at Gerald Lapierre Studios

Syd Kitchen & AmaKool (L-R): Syd Kitchen (Back) with Greg Leisegang (Accordion), Nux Schwartz (Bass) & Wesley Gibbens (Drums).

KK02 // SYD KITCHEN - Oops​!​! Warts an All

A new installment in the Syd Kitchen digital archive series, celebrating what would have been his 70th solar orbit in 2021. This cassette-only release from 3rd Ear Music documents an acoustic set at Le Plaza Hotel in Durban in 1992 with the "no effects or overdubs" aesthetic of the era's unplugged ethos. Syd visits 1970s material from the Kitchen Brothers, dips into his 1987 album Waiting for the Heave and debuts material that would end up on AmaKoologiK in 1999. Raw live energy and audience engagement abounds with an amusing epiphany about vegetarianism and impromptu guest appearances. Notable too is a bonus track featuring an early incarnation of the Aquarian Quartet with Steve Newman and Tony Cox joining Syd as the Flying Sombreros. Restored with the support of producer and engineer David Marks from his original 2-track DAT recording.

WIT3 // WITCH - "Freedom Fighter" / "Funky Reggae"

Many Zambian bands underwent interesting evolutionary trajectories over the course of the 1970s but nothing matches the radical leap undertaken by WITCH from the bold and progressive Afro-rock of their Janet album in 1977 to their fully fledged boogie outing Movin' On in 1980. These two incarnations of Zambia's most cherished ensemble have been comprehensively documented over the last decade and have attracted distinct legions of Zamrock and disco acolytes. Unreleased until now, the non-album single "Freedom Fighter" (with it's quirky reggae B-side) emerges as the missing link that unites the two WITCH camps, finding the group in Zimbabwe as the new nation came into being and documenting a mercurial period with their sound in the process of shapeshifting.
The expanded 1980s lineup of WITCH was interested in exploring the band's potential as a vehicle for modern dance in the vein of Earth, Wind & Fire and Kool & The Gang. Joining the existing core of Chris Mbewe on guitar, Gideon Mulenga on bass and Boyd Sinkala on drums were two former bandmates from the group Guys & Dolls in the form of Patrick Mwondela on keyboard and Emmanuel Makulu on guitar. Working alongside founding vocalist Jagari Chanda until his final departure was an additional lead singer named Stanford Tembo, who had cut his teeth a decade earlier fronting a group called Suzie Q. While the band was touring neighbouring Zimbabwe on the cusp of the nation's April 1980 independence celebrations, it was Tembo who introduced "Freedom Fighter" to the WITCH setlist. Resurrecting a composition he had written a couple of years earlier about the political struggle in Mozambique, Tembo recast the lyrics in English as well as Shona, Zimbabwe's most widely spoken language. The track prompted euphoric audience responses and was quickly recorded in Harare to document the historic moment.
Drums - Boyd Sinkala (Lead Vocal on "Freedom Fighter")
Guitar - Chris Mbewe (Lead Vocal on "Funky Reggae")
Bass - Gedeon Mulenga
Keyboard - Patrick Mwondela
Guitar - Emmanuel Makulu
Backing Vocals - Shaddick Bwalya

Recorded in Harare, Zimbabwe
Produced by WITCH
"Freedom Fighter" Words & Music by Stanford Tembo
"Funky Reggae" Words & Music by Shaddick Bwalya

Audio Restoration - Neal Birni
Mastering - Morten McCoy
Design & Layout - Ash Pederick
Liner Notes - Calum MacNaughton

Original Zimbabwe Release 1980
2021 Reissue Produced by SHARP-FLAT with Rebel Disko
Edition of 300 Vinyl 7" Single with Numbered Insert
Under License from WITCH
Cat. No. WIT 3

KK01 // SYD KITCHEN & THE UTENSILS - Waiting for the Heave

Although Syd Kitchen (1951-2011) had been active as a songwriter and performer for well over a decade, most notably in a folk duo with his brother Pete as the Kitchen Brothers throughout the 1970s, the year 1987 marked the release of his ambitious and fiercely independent solo debut Waiting for the Heave. Backed by the Utensils, composed of Marius Botha on bass and Kevin Gibson on drums, and privately pressed for Syd's Hairy Guava Records imprint, the album was presented with a characteristic wry detachment that camouflaged its true depth. Self-produced and recorded over a period of close to a year with contributions from multiple engineers, Waiting for the Heave was an uncompromising and idiosyncratic take on 1980s South African folk-rock with eclectic lashings of Afro-pop, reggae and swing jazz to boot.

Despite its long gestation, the performances came off as tight without feeling overworked and Syd's evolving guitar wizardry is on display. Moreover, the set provides an exquisite portfolio of original songwriting and novel phrasing, at times flippant ("Perfect Condition"), occasionally cynical ("Wastelands") and often deeply personal ("Silky"). It conjures timeless allegory ("Railway Room") while speaking directly to its social and political reality ("Crossroads"), closing with a sincere invocation of peace, liberty and fraternity that would have felt hopelessly out of reach in South Africa at the time ("Dancing in the Streets of the World"). Available only on vinyl LP until now, Waiting for the Heave sees its first full reissue as a digital album to mark what would have been Syd Kitchen's 70th birthday on 14 February 2021.

All Songs Composed, Published & Arranged by Syd Kitchen

Syd Kitchen - Acoustic & Electric Guitar, Percussion & Vocals
Marius Botha - Electric Bass, Harmony Vocals on "Marcus"
Kevin Gibson - Drums
Steve Robinson - Lead Guitar Solo on "Silky"

Recorded April '86 through February '87 at:
Soundcrew Productions, Westville - Engineer: Ron Selby
Redolfi Studios, Durban North - Engineer: Bruno Redolfi
Shifty Studios, Johannesburg - Engineer: Lloyd Ross

Mastered at Shifty Studios by Lloyd Ross
Produced by Syd Kitchen for Ultrazulcha Promotions
Cover Picture - René Tupper
Cover Concept - The Utensils
Photography & Art Direction - Barry Downard
Publicity & Continuity - Michael Cross

Original Cat. No. Hairy 001
1987 Vinyl Release - Hairy Guava Records
2021 Digital Archive Cat. No. KK01
Released with Support & Direction from Pete Kitchen & Sev Kitchen


In September 2019, Cape Town pianist Hilton Schilder travelled to New York for a pair of appearances at Dizzy's Club during a long weekend of programming at Jazz at Lincoln Center focused on composers from South Africa. In New York (2020) documents Schilder's mystical Friday the 13th performance with Dizzy's prominent Manhattan windows looking out onto a full moon.
Schilder's New York trio is comprised of South African expat Jimmy Mngwandi on double bass alongside acclaimed Bronx drummer Will Calhoun (of Living Colour renown). Appearing on vocals for part of the set is Siya Makuzeni, notably reprising a decade-old collaboration with Schilder entitled "Paint Your World."
The set opens with Schilder's signature mouth bow energy smudge under the title "Alien of Extraordinary Ability" (an amusing phrase from his visa application) and includes a solo piano arrangement of Russell Herman's avante-garde, Estudio-era composition "Aryeah and the Dwarf" from the late-1970s. Also notable is the group's energised vocal rendition of "The Art of Flying" and other fluid live manifestations of material from Schilder's Rukma Vimana release of 2016.

Piano  Bow - Hilton Schilder
Bass - Jimmy Mngwandi
Drums - Will Calhoun
Vocals - Siya Makuzeni

Music Composed by H. Schilder
Except "Aryeah and the Dwarf" by R. Herman (Arr. H. Schilder)

Recorded Live at Dizzy's Club on 13 September 2019
Jazz at Lincoln Center • New York, NY
Concert Programming & Direction by Seton Hawkins, Georgina Javor
& Jason Olaine
Audio Recording by Juan Carlos Andrews
Mastered by Richard Vossgatter
Produced by Calum MacNaughton
Released November 2020 CD

SF08 // MOVEMENT IN THE CITY - Black Teardrops

1981 South African Soul-Funk-Jazz from the master tape vault of the As-Shams/The Sun label 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 this new name yielded what has become one of the most sought-after releases from As-Shams 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. Reissued in an edition of 500 vinyl LP, putting the album back in print for the first time in 40 years.

Keyboards • Organ  Guitar - Pops Mohamed
Tenor Sax  Flute - Basil "Manenberg" Coetze
Alto Sax  Flute - Robbie Jansen
Bass - Sipho Gumede • Peter Odendaal
Drums - Roger Harry Monty Weber
Recorded at Satbel Studio & Gallo
Engineer: Phil Audoire
Produced by Rashid Vally
Original Release 1981 Reissue 2020 First Edition of 500 Vinyl LP
Repress Edition 2021

SF07 // DEREK GRIPPER - A Year of Swimming

In 2012, Derek Gripper dazzled solo guitar and African music enthusiasts alike with an album entitled One Night on Earth: Music from the Strings of Mali. The proposition was to interpret the ancient music of the 21-string kora from Mali on the 6-string classical guitar and the outcome was a critically acclaimed set and a watershed moment for African guitar music. With an affinity for arranging the works of distinguished Malian griot Toumani Diabaté, Gripper went on to release the equally lauded Libraries on Fire in 2016 and has performed these works internationally in addition to sharing his techniques with a growing community of players online.

With A Year of Swimming (2020), the South African guitarist and resident of Cape Town presents his most multidimensional collection of works in the form of a snapshot of a year of personal transformation, framed by the ritual of cold water swimming. The influence of Mali is felt via re-workings of compositions by Salif Keita and Baaba Maal but Gripper also channels the Xhosa uhadi (musical bow) and the mbira (thumb piano) of Zimbabwe as part of a trio of dedications to influential African women performers. The album is fleshed out by his own singular compositional style that marries avant garde guitar primitivism with classical grace and precision. Raw yet ornate, intense yet elegant, Gripper's sound is a force of nature.
Solo Guitar by Derek Gripper
Featuring Works by Derek Gripper, Salif Keita & Baaba Maal
And Arrangements of Xhosa, Zimbabwe & Mali Traditionals Inspired by and Dedicated to Madosini, Chiwoniso Maraire & Fanta Sacko
Recorded by Howard Butcher at Peace of Eden
Cover Photo by Aron Halevi
Design by Twoshoes
Released November 2020 Edition of 300 Vinyl LP 
Produced for SHARP-FLAT by Calum MacNaughton
Distributed by Strawberry Rain Music (CAN) & Painted Dog (NDL)