Thursday, 20 January 2011

84: Elias and His Zigzag Jive Flutes, “Tom Hark” (no.2, 1958)

Later a hit for the Piranhas, a regular on the Tannoy at various football grounds and the theme to Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle, this was one of world music’s first successes; its title apparently a mishearing of the word “tomahawk”, the weapon that Elias Lerole, his brother Aaron, and their musician friends habitually carried to avoid being attacked by gangs on the streets of their native Johannesburg. Struck big in the UK after featuring on the ATV series The Killing Stones, a Wolf Mankowitz-scripted drama about exploitation in the diamond trade; with sad inevitability, the Lerole brothers saw not one penny of the track’s sales.

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