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Thunder in their Hearts

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Thunder In Their Hearts is the first full account of South African jazz music in Britain. In 1961, when the celebrated township musical King Kong arrived in London, it brought with it a cast featuring some of South Africa’s brightest jazz stars. Many of them never went home. Instead they became the first wave of South African musicians to flee the oppressive South African apartheid regime for exile in Britain. In the years that followed they would be joined by many of their compatriots, both musical and political. Exile jazz and exile politics were closely connected, and music was an important part of the cultural and political battle against apartheid. Looking in detail at seminal groups such as the Manhattan Brothers, Chris McGregor’s Blue Notes, and Jabula, Thunder In Their Hearts traces the lives and careers of some of South Africa’s most gifted and celebrated artists, documenting the impact of the South African exiles on British and European jazz, and articulating the links between music and the political struggle. From the London success of King Kong until the fall of apartheid, South African jazz musicians played, lived and campaigned in Britain: Thunder In Their Hearts is the first book to tell their story.

Published: Jul 1, 2018