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The Retreat Song: now wait a minim!

PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2016 8:02 pm
by Kari Salonen
It is funny really how a simple song can spellbind you so that you can't think of much else for hours (OK, days sometimes). I seem to fall into the spell of almost every other old South African song I hear.

One such just bounced back from a few years ago, when I was doing some spare time research on the output by Jamaican singer Nora Dean. There was this strange but immensely catchy tune called Ahmad-Jamal, sung in what was decidedly not english. I have a hunch I might have posted it here too - I rarely can keep these finds to myself:

It sounded somehow familiar - Nora Dean had/has a voice and delivery that recalls old SA singers and groups. It didn't take that long to hunt down the original, more as a tangent from the voice and the melody than anything educated - as in: could this be South African? Miriam Makeba?:

Why Nora Dean, or rather her producer, maybe Joe Gibbs, chose to name the song Ahmad-Jamal rather than The Retreat Song or Jikele Maweni, is anybody's guess... But what I only discovered today was the song was featured in the succesfull show/musical Wait A Minim! that seems to have left a mark in all of its Johannesburg, London and Broadway incarnations. The Singer in this Broadway cast (studio) recording is South African born Dana Valery:

And I wouldn't be at all surprised to hear that somebody among us was present at those shows...

Re: The Retreat Song: now wait a minim!

PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2016 1:55 pm
by uiwangmike
I remember Wait a Minim running in London in the early 60s, but I never saw it (I didn't have much money at the time). One of the show's performers, Jeremy Taylor, became quite well-known, particularly in a partnership with Spike Milligan. This song got a lot of radio play.