Label Profile

OGUN Records Profiled

Source: Bandcamp Daily.

There’s a long history of musical conversation between the jazz musicians of the UK and South Africa. Back in the 1970s, the OGUN record label began to document the collaborations between South Africans in exile and some of the UK’s most fiery free jazz players.

During apartheid, while jazz became the music of resistance in South Africa (with the most radical music recorded for the As-Shams label), many musicians fled to Europe. The exodus followed the 1960 Sharpeville Massacre where 69 protesters were shot dead at a peaceful Pan African Congress demonstration against the pass laws. “The state’s attempted silencing took many forms,” wrote Gwen Ansell of the post-Sharpeville clampdowns in her seminal book Soweto Blues: Jazz, Popular Music, and Politics in South Africa. “The closing down of the last spaces for expression; the attempt to replace urban and politically aware discourses with synthetic, tribal substitutes; the creation of distractions; and the driving of increasing numbers of artists into exile.”