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© Ben Robertson 2006 - 2015


Quotes  of the Year


Bra Louis Moholo Moholo –

South African jazz and improvised music master drummer who is one of the most prolific recording artists in the history of all Africa:

.“We are trying to get to as many people as we can, spiritually – vibe – and hopefully we do get a response but then the response is not too cool with maybe some other people that we’re playing music to like, for instance, the record shop, the record companies. Like the big record companies don’t want us to play this music so… they are the audience as well. They forget that they are audience; they think they are bosses and maybe they they think that they are something else but they are just an audience as far as I - as far as we,- are concerned. They’re just an audience with big monies and very stubborn and, ehh… Bullshit!”

speaking on the DVD that  accompanies Born Free by Livio Minafra & Louis Moholo Moholo


Verckys Kiamuangana Mateta

Former T.P. OK Jazz alto sax soloist speaking in a recent interview about band leader Franco and what it was like to make music with him:

“For him to improvise to the best of your abilities you had to know the song in and out. Although there was lots of space for improvisation, rehearsals were very important to Franco. Every musician had to express the best of himself: OK Jazz was like a collective team. When we were playing, we were giving advice to each other. There was a lot of fraternity…”

quoted by Samy Ben Redjieb in his sleeve notes to Congolese Funk, Afrobeat & Psychedelic Rumba 1969 -1978 by Verckys & Orchestre Vévé, publisfed by Analog Africa


Ken Braun -

The following quotation describes what happened in 1954 in Kinshasa shortly after Isaac  Musekiwa, a gifted young Southern African jazz musician, became the first saxophonist in a group made up of local musicians led by Joseph Kabesele, later known to his fans across Africa as Le Grand Kallé:

“All that this remarkable group lacked was a name. That was decided by fans when Kabesele and his regulars (including Musekiwa) introduced a song entitled African Jazz. Henceforth they were called Orchestre African Jazz.”

from the sleeve notes to “Le Grand Kallé: His Life, His Music” by Ken Braun, page 12, published by Sterns Music


Professor Robin D.G. Kelly, University of California, best known for his definitive book on Thelonious Monk and the most prominent African-American scholar ever to have written about African jazz- -

"… we can no longer speak so confidently about jazz as an American art form, or render African jazz musicians outside the pale of the music's history."

from “Africa speaks, America answers: modern jazz in revolutionary times” Harvard University Press, page 10


Member of Staff Benda Bilili - 

"My Orchestra is Staff Benda Bilili,

It will never die,

We'll be better and better so we can play with the big boys,

Like Werra or Papa Wemba,

Great artists like Koffi,

Why not us?

We're as good as they are."

from the English subtitles of the documentary movie Benda Bilili about a group of disabled musicians from the back streets of Kinshasa. (DR Congo)


Hugh Masekela -

“In the townships, being unable to dance is a sign of dementia and total social bankruptcy."

(from his sleeve notes to his CD Jabulani)


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