Founded by Lloyd Ross and Ivan Kadey, Shifty Records was a South African anti-apartheid record label which existed for over a decade beginning in 1982. In 1986 Kadey left South Africa and became partner with the Waterland Design Group in Hollywood, designing studios at Capitol Records, Virgin Tokyo, Sony/Epic Santa Monica, and many other recording venues. At this time Warrick Sony bought in as partner with the purchase of recording equipment.
Aimed at providing a platform for independent music with a social message, Shifty was an outlet for South African musicians opposed to apartheid. As a result, Shifty struggled to gain exposure on the radio stations of the Broederbond-controlled South African Broadcasting Corporation. Its anti-establishment stance was appealing to young and politically marginalized South Africans. This was evident when poet Mzwakhe Mbuli's unadvertised Change is Pain went gold after the apartheid regime banned possession and distribution of the album.
The label helped establish boerepunk and the alternative Afrikaans genre at a time when it was a reflex to stereotype all Afrikaners as supporters of the National Party. Operating from a caravan hitched to a Ford V6 truck, the Shifty studio produced an album every two months until 1993.
Kontaktnätet, a Swedish non-governmental cultural organisation financially supported Shifty Records from 1986 to 1992 and held various manifestations in Sweden for the company and the various artists associated with Shifty.
In 2002, notorious Bureau of State Security agent, Paul Erasmus was granted amnesty by the Truth & Reconciliation Commission for his overzealous campaign against Shifty Records artist, Roger Lucey, a campaign which ended his career. The amnesty application does not apply to other artists, appearing with Lucey, or released on the Shifty label. In particular, Lucey appears on Shifty compilation albums such as Forces Favourites and Anaartjie in our Sosatie. Erasmus claims in his biography to have waged a total war against the music industry. He is also one of Lucey's biggest fans, having confiscated most of his albums from record stores. The entire episode is documented in Stopping the Music: The Roger Lucey Story.
Artists appearing on the label included:
Shifty Records often made use of a core group of musicians who appeared on different artists' recordings as support instrumentalists, e.g. drummer Ian Herman and trombonist Jannie "Hanepoot" van Tonder who can both be heard on many albums from the Shifty Catalogue.
RCA Records is an American record label currently owned by Sony Music Entertainment, a subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America. It is one of Sony Music's four flagship labels, alongside RCA's former long-time rival Columbia Records; also Arista Records, and Epic Records. The label has released multiple genres of music, including pop, classical, rock, hip hop, afrobeat, electronic, R&B, blues, jazz, and country. Its name is derived from the initials of its defunct parent company, the Radio Corporation of America (RCA). RCA Records was fully acquired by Bertelsmann in 1987, making it a part of Bertelsmann Music Group (BMG) and became a part of Sony BMG Music Entertainment after the 2004 merger of BMG and Sony; it was acquired by the latter in 2008, after the dissolution of Sony/BMG and the restructuring of Sony Music. RCA Records is the corporate successor of the Victor Talking Machine Company, making it the second-oldest record label in American history, after sister label Columbia Records.
Arista Records, Inc. is an American record label owned by Sony Music Entertainment, a subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America, the North American division of the Japanese conglomerate Sony. The label was previously handled by Bertelsmann Music Group. Though the label was founded in November 1974 by Clive Davis, Arista in its current form was re-established in 2018. Along with Epic Records, RCA Records, and Columbia Records, Arista is one of Sony Music's four flagship record labels.
Jive Records was an American independent record label founded by Clive Calder in 1981 as a subsidiary to the Zomba Group. In the US, the label had offices in New York City and Chicago. Jive was best known for its successes with hip hop, R&B, and dance acts in the 1980s and 1990s, along with teen pop and boy bands during the late 1990s and early 2000s.
The South African music scene includes both popular (jive) and folk forms like Zulu isicathamiya singing and harmonic mbaqanga. South Africa has a global music industry.
The Zomba Group of Companies was a music group and division owned by and operated under Sony Music Entertainment. The division was renamed to Jive Label Group in 2009 and was placed under the RCA/Jive Label Group umbrella. In 2011, the RCA/Jive Label Group was split in half. Multiple Jive Label Group artists were moved to Epic Records while others stayed with Jive as it moved under the RCA Music Group. In October 2011 Jive Records was shut down and their artists were moved to RCA Records.
Johannes Kerkorrel, born Ralph John Rabie, was a South African singer-songwriter, journalist and playwright.
Tananas is a South African band formed in 1987. Originally it consisted of Mozambican Gito Baloi, Ian Herman and Steve Newman. First recorded by the independent label Shifty Records, Tananas combined jazz, Mozambican salsa and township jive. They released eight albums, the last two on the Sony label.
Mzwakhe Mbuli is a South African poet, Mbaqanga singer and former Deacon at Apostolic Faith Mission Church in Naledi Soweto, South Africa. Known as "The People's Poet, Tall Man, Mbulism, The Voice Of Reason", he is the father of Mzwakhe Mbuli Junior, also known as Robot_Boii.
Cape jazz is a genre of jazz that is performed in the very southern part of Africa, the name being a reference to Cape Town, South Africa. Some writers say that Cape Jazz began to emerge in 1959 with the formation of The Jazz Epistles, many of whom were from Cape Town, including Abdullah Ibrahim, then known as Dollar Brand. Cape Jazz is similar to the popular music style known as marabi, though more improvisational in character. Where marabi is a piano jazz style, Cape Jazz in the beginning featured instruments that can be carried in a street parade, such as brass instruments, banjos, guitars and percussion instruments.
James Phillips was a South African rock singer, songwriter, and performer.
Paul Erasmus was a South African Security Police officer who testified to the Goldstone Commission, and later the Truth and Reconciliation Commission about police dirty tricks and violence during the apartheid era. This testimony revealed the existence of a unit in the Security Police called STRATCOM that specialised in misinformation and propaganda against opponents of the regime. Erasmus also testified on the police efforts to discredit Winnie Madikizela-Mandela by spreading false rumours about sexual affairs and drug use.
Roger Lucey is a South African musician, journalist, film maker, actor and educator. In the late 1970s and early 1980s his early career as a musician was destroyed by Paul Erasmus of the Security Branch of the South African Police, because the lyrics to Lucey's protest songs were considered a threat to the Apartheid State. Although already aware of his anti-apartheid songs, the South African Government's security apparatus only swung into action to destroy Lucey's career after he performed a radical song in a programme on Voice of America radio. The criminal methods used against Lucey formed part of the testimony given by Paul Erasmus in front of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Eet Kreef is the first studio album by Johannes Kerkorrel and the Gereformeerde Blues Band. Released in 1989 on the now-defunct Shifty Records label, the album was a commercial success despite its tracks being banned from radio airplay by the South African Broadcasting Corporation.
Andrew Brel is a UK author whose work includes The Emergency Bouzouki Player and One Day in Paris and a professional musician for over forty years. He has released 12 albums of meditation music since 2001.
Matthew van der Want is a South African singer, songwriter and recording artist.
Robin Morton Auld is a South African singer-songwriter, guitarist, poet and writer. He has released twenty albums to date, along with a novel and poetry collection.
Warrick Sony is a South African composer, producer, musician and sound designer. He was born Warrick Swinney in Port Elizabeth, in 1958.
Phendula is the second studio album by South African singer Zahara. It was released by TS Records on September 13, 2013. The album's production was primarily handled by Robbie Malinga and Mojalefa Thebe. It features guest appearances from Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Anele & Neliswa, Mzwakhe Mbuli, Mukengerwa Tresor Riziki and 2 Face Idibia. It was supported by three singles: "Phendula", "Impilo" and "Stay". Upon its release, the album was made available for purchase on iTunes and Musica.
The Voëlvry movement in South Africa was genre of anti-apartheid music sung in Afrikaans. The term Voëlvry meant "free as a bird". This movement has been said to have started on April 4, 1989 in Johannesburg in a packed club. This marked the beginning of what some have called a rock and roll uprising. The Voëlvry movement used music in the Afrikaans language to show pride. The movement focused on Afrikaner youth. The main goal of the movement was to get Afrikaner youth to see the changes that had to occur in the “authoritarian, patriarchal culture”.
The apartheid regime in South Africa began in 1948 and lasted until 1994. It involved a system of institutionalized racial segregation and white supremacy, and placed all political power in the hands of a white minority. Opposition to apartheid manifested in a variety of ways, including boycotts, non-violent protests, and armed resistance. Music played a large role in the movement against apartheid within South Africa, as well as in international opposition to apartheid. The impacts of songs opposing apartheid included raising awareness, generating support for the movement against apartheid, building unity within this movement, and "presenting an alternative vision of culture in a future democratic South Africa."