African Storybooks of Songs is a collection of music on six albums, which captures the spirit of a group of musicians brought together on their quest to bring the world music 'from the heart of Africa'.
Their story began in 1994 when Nelson MANDELA became President of the new South Africa and music pioneers Lennox Tom and Barney Rattle met up and began to record with artists from the townships.
In the years following, they built studios and rehearsal rooms and released numerous albums including 3 collaborations with ABAVUKI - introducing their music to international audiences via township tours – and even heading abroad to places like Ibiza to showcase their talents and share it with mainstream.
In 2014 they did a Freedom Day tribute show in London at the South African Embassy for the 20th anniversary of Mandela’s release – where they met the 'One and Only' Jazz Pioneer Don Laka and formed a new relationship with the living legend who has shaped South African music throughout the apartheid era producing and releasing some of the biggest names to come out of South Africa including Brenda Fassie, Miriam Makeba and Hugh Masekela.
From that day on they started making plans to bring South African music to the world in a big way and Don started composing new songs fusing his infectious Jazz beats into the Classic works of Chopin.
In 2015 they released Afro Chopin and Don Laka toured London in a sell-out series of shows in famous jazz spots such as the 606 CLUB in London and THE VENUE in Brighton and also The St James Theatre in London. The album was critically acclaimed as a huge Milestone in the re working of Chopin into Don's classic South African Jazz Style of Kwaai Jazz.
Earlier this year, on behalf of every South African musician, Don led a movement and took on the South African music establishment. He managed to achieve the impossible by reversing the quota of local music played on the radios to 90% local airplay with just 10% being awarded for music from abroad. This is a major turning point for all musicians in South Africa as it will ensure that the many billions of Rand that is generated by music play no longer goes abroad and now stays in the country to help local artists and composers thus giving South African music the chance to grow and be heard nationally and internationally.
The team is now working on a film and TV project about the great music and history of South Africa alongsisde the release of these six albums featuring all the artists that Rattle has recorded and worked with over the past two decades - making up an iconic music collection, called the AFRICAN STORYBOOK OF SONGS.
Experience a taste of Don Laka's talents in this 60 second video