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Psychedelic South African afro‑rock in the spotlight on reissues

The label Matsuli Music is re-releasing two classic albums from psychedelic South African afro-rock: Rufaro and Harari.

Recorded by the Rashid Vally’s independent label, As-Shams, these two records plunge us into the rich past of psychedelic afro-rock in South Africa. They are works that reflect the eclectic career of The Beaters. Previously disciples of Soweto Soul, they were inspired by American soul, but also by musical affirmations given by black artists from the Stax and Motown record companies. The Beaters opened for Percy Sledge during his South African tour in 1970, as well as for Brook Benton, Wilson Pickett and Timmy Thomas.

Nevertheless, they were deeply moved by their tour of Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, which fuelled a thirst for independence. Soon enough, they followed Thomas Mapfumo’s example and used African influences in their music.  Sipho Hotsix Mabuse recalls this period: “With Harari [formally The Beaters], we rediscovered our Africanness, the rhythms and the contagious music of the continent. We went home inspired! We transformed ourselves into musicians dressed in dashikis who greeted the Black Power.” The Beaters replaced their Nehru jackets with dashikis and afros on their return. Their new name also came from Zimbabwe. These two albums are a perfect illustration of their musical journey.

Pre-order the Rufaro album, as well as the Harari album, before their March 1 release.