Essential to the goal of making South African swing music more available to a larger audience, is capturing the stories that surround it: the artist biographies, the song meanings, and the historical context in which this music was originally created and enjoyed. We sought to do this through the album liner notes and the creation of an online resource (you’re here!).
We relied on a variety of helpful resources to educate ourselves on the history of South African swing, and compile the relevant stories to share with others. We were also privileged to visit the Sophiatown museum outside Johannesburg, where we met with former Sophiatown residents who were able to share their personal memories of the place, music, and forced removals. Their stories – as well as the experience of being in Sophiatown itself, a far cry from what it was – made the facts and figures that we read in articles real and guided our understanding.
The liner notes of the Echoes of Sophiatown tribute album provide an overview of the the trajectory of South African swing, as well as short biographies of the original recording artists to familiarise listeners with their names, faces, and stories.
This corner of the Cape Town Swing website serves as an aggregator of the liner note contents, essential resources for learning more, and all the other stories we could not fit in the liner notes.