Strange Dream: An Introduction to Zamrock 1972 to 1979

Zamrock music came into being during a daring moment in African history when western rock music made sense with African revolution. Zambian pysch was inspired, performed, and hand-pressed between the beginning of the African country of Zambia’s independence in the mid 60’s and its economic meltdown of the late 70’s. Birthed in this moment of political and cultural change, it wasn’t long before the newly grown fuzz guitar movement was washed away like it never existed, as if it were only a dream lost between the cracks of an adolescent Republic’s stark reality.

The instruments used to complete most Zamrock recordings had been pawned away before the end of the decade to ensure the survival of the musicians into the 80’s and into what they hoped was an end to the economic turmoil the newly independent country experienced. Unfortunately the 80’s brought an HIV/AIDS epidemic that Zambia has still not recovered from. At the time, one of every five Zambians was infected and today it’s difficult to find surviving Zambians who took part in the Zamrock phenomenon. The only living member of the now legendary group WITCH, singer Emanyeo “Jagari” Chandra, was rediscovered working in gemstone mines. Jagari claims the other four members of his band have all died from AIDS. Still, they continue on through the music.

And about the music itself? It speaks of its own survival, as well as the melancholia for a place where refugees salvage guitars and kick up hard dirt for the love of noise, and where that noise pops and screeches against the needle, refusing to be buried.


 Listen below to The Cosmic Clash’s zamrock mixtape to familiarize yourself with the passion and energy these groups created. Please support them and the labels that have spent equal amounts of passion and energy rediscovering them for us. Now-Again Records especially.


                        Strange Dream: An Introduction to Zamrock by The Cosmic Clash on Mixcloud