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Welcome to Zamrock – How Zambia’s Liberation Led To a Rock Revolution, 1972-77

Now-Again, Zamrock — May 30, 2017 | Comments (4)


Vol. 1 & Vol. 2 both shipping now from Rappcats.

Born Free – “Mad Man”

By the mid 1970s, the Southern African nation known as the Republic of Zambia had fallen on hard times. Though the country’s first president Kenneth Kaunda had thrown off the yoke of British colonialism, the new federation found itself under his self-imposed, autocratic rule. Conflict loomed on all sides of this landlocked nation. Kaunda protected Zambia from war, but his country descended into isolation and poverty as he supported rebel movements in neighboring countries Angola, Zimbabwe and Mozambique and stood up against apartheid South Africa.

This is the environment in which the 70s rock revolution that has come to be known as Zamrock flourished. It’s no wonder that the Zambian musicians taken by American and European influences gravitated to the dark side of the rock and funk spectrum. Fuzz guitars were commonplace, as were driving rhythms influenced by James Brown’s funk and Jimi Hendrix’s rock. Musical themes, mainly sung in the country’s constitutional language, English, were often bleak.

When Now-Again Records’s Eothen “Egon” Alapatt started his investigation into this scene, he found that Zamrock markers were few. Only a small number of the original Zamrock godfathers that remained in the country survived through the late ’90s, when the music recorded in ’70s Zambia became the final frontier for those global-psychedelic rock junkies searching for their next fix. AIDS decimated this country, and uncontrollable inflation forced the Zambian rockers that could afford to flee into something resembling exile.

This was not a likely scene to survive – but it did. Following Now-Again’s previous anthologies centered around Zamrock bands WITCH, Ngozi Family, Amanaz and Musi-O-Tunya, Welcome To Zamrock!, presented in two volumes, arrives; these two volumes highlight Now-Again’s decade-long investigation into this musical movement and present the definitive overview of its most beloved ensembles. Zamrock’s ascension, its fall and its resurgence is detailed in an extensive book written by Alapatt and Zambian music historian Leonard Koloko. Both Welcome To Zamrock! volumes are presented as 2LPs (with WAV download card and edited booklet) and also as a full 104-page hardcover book with CD. Bundles of both formats are available only via Rappcats, at a discounted price. Both anthologies contain rare tracks by WITCH, Amanaz, Paul Ngozi, Chrissy Zebby Tembo, Five Revolutions, Dr. Footswitch and every important Zamrock band.

Read: Dr Footswitch – Everyday Has Got a New Dream – Welcome to Zamrock!

Images of Welcome to Zamrock Vol. 1 & Vol. 2


  1. Will this record be included with the subscription program?

    Comment by Laurence LeWinn — May 4, 2017, 6:19 pm
  2. @Laurence – Welcome to Zamrock is a regular Now-Again release and will not be part of the subscription service.

    Comment by admin — May 4, 2017, 9:08 pm
  3. Hi. I cannot access the ‘Welcome to Zamrock! Vol.2’ bundle to buy on rappcats.
    Is it sold out? The links to purchasing Volume 1 and Volume 2 are live but only Volume 1 is available to purchase in the bundle formats. Any comments on this?

    Comment by Simwinji Zeko — July 2, 2017, 9:10 am
  4. Have arrived late on the Welcome to Zamrock! compilations but wow!, long forgotten tunes and melodies have resurfaced in my memory bank from listening to the Mp3 clips (cue guitarist extraordinaire Victor Kasoma’s ‘Request to God’tune,with his group The Oscillations, which used to be played on national radio).I remember The Oscillations doing some gigs around Lusaka,about 1978, in tandem with Rikki Ililonga’s group at the time ‘Mass Voice’. I knew Jesper Siliya Lungu, but he never let on to me that he had a track called ‘Hot Do’! Thanks for unearthing it. While on National Service I and some friends were allowed to rehearse on the Machine Gunners music equipment for about six months.This entailed a round trip of up to 3 hours travelling by hitching rides on army trucks to and from the rehearsal room in the environs of Ndola on the Copperbelt. We even went on a ‘tour’ with them to Luapula Province taking in Mansa and Samfya and an ad hoc gig on the way back in Mufulira. That was interesting!Those tales require another forum though. All I will say for now is that most of those rockers were dealt a raw deal, a bad card and really negative societal attitudes underpinned by official prejudice, both oppressive and repressive. As you say, it’s a wonder any music was produced or created at all!!But some soldiered on and thank goodness they did. I notice the demise or descent into obscurity of many is hazy. I would like to know what happened to Peter Lungu, Dr Footswitch,Ricky Banda and Mike Nyoni for example. The where,when,how and what happened is important to me for their legacies as musicians and human beings.

    Comment by Simwinji Zeko — July 2, 2017, 9:50 am

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