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date: 13 October 2019

Rachabane, (Joel) Barney locked

  • Darius Brubeck


(b Alexandra township, South Africa, March 2, 1946). South African alto and soprano saxophonist, flutist, and penny whistle player. In a career that typifies the history of jazz in South Africa in the second half of the twentieth century, from the age of 11 he played penny whistle on street corners in a group called the Little Bunnies, then continued in the same vein with the Kwela Kids. He was self-taught, but passed Royal Schools exams through Grade VI in music theory and flute. In the 1960s and 1970s he played saxophone with Abdullah Ibrahim, and he may be heard on albums that are now considered to be classic. He also performed in Chris McGregor’s Castle Lager Big Band (1963) and such groups of the 1960s as the Big Five (alongside Johnny Mekoa and the drummer Early Mabuza) and the Soul Giants (which included the trumpeter Dennis Mpali). Two of his compositions from this era, ...

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