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About Kwela

Kwela is a pennywhistle-based street music from southern Africa with jazzy underpinnings and a distinctive, skiffle-like beat. It evolved from the marabi sound and brought South African music to international prominence in the 1950s. The music has its roots in southern Africa but later adaptations of this and many other African folk idioms have permeated Western music (listen to the albums A Swingin' Safari by the Bert Kaempfert Orchestra (1962) and Graceland by Paul Simon (1986)), giving modern South African music, particularly jazz, much of its distinctive sound and lilting swagger. One reason for the use of the pennywhistle is that it is cheap and portable, but it also lends itself as a solo or an ensemble instrument. The popularity of the pennywhistle may have been based on the fact that flutes of different kinds have long been traditional instruments among the peoples of the more northerly parts of South Africa, and the pennywhistle thus enabled the swift adaptation of folk tunes into the new marabi-influenced music.


This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Kwela , which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

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