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February 25, 2012 By Andy Ross

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A little bit of trivia...

Did you know that Bulawayo, the city I grew up in, in Zimbabwe, was the birthplace of a unique type of jazz? One of the songs that came out of the city's Cold Storage Band (more about the name later), made its way to the US where the likes of Louis Armstrong recorded his own version. Listen to Skokiaan and then see how many folk covered it by looking on the right hand side of the YouTube screen. The Cold Storage Band is short for... wait for it...The African Dance Band of the Cold Storage Commission of Southern Rhodesia. I don't know much about the band but the Cold Storage Commission was the body that looked after slaughterhouses and butcheries when I lived in Zimbabwe. Strange but true! Maybe the band was established by its director August Musarurwa to play at weddings and celebrations which was how a lot of bands became established in those days - 1940's and '50's. If anyone knows, drop us a line...

When I lived and worked in Bulawayo, jazz was alive and well. I worked in a hotel that was the centre of the movement, and night after night I would walk on the pavement past the basement windows pouring heady music into the street. I never went in because I was too young, but someday I want to go back and see what I can find.