In the early-twentieth century governmental restrictions on black people increased, including a nightly curfew which kept the nightlife in Johannesburg relatively small for a city of its size (then the largest city south of the Sahara). Marabi, a style from the slums of Johannesburg, was the early "popular music" of the townships and urban centres of South Africa.
Practitioners played marabi on pianos with accompaniment from pebble-filled cans, often in shebeens, establishments that illegally served alcohol to black people. By the 1930s, however, marabi had incorporated new instruments - guitars, concertinas and banjos - and new styles of marabi had sprung up. These included a marabi/swing fusion called African jazz and jive, a generic term for any popular marabi style of Pre war, in the 1930s, when Eric Gallo's Brunswick Gramophone House sent several South African musicians to London to record for Singer Records. Gallo went on to produce music in South Africa, beginning in 1933.
His company, Gallo Record Company, remains the largest and most successful label in South Africa, having had acclaimed artists such as Solomon Linda, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Miriam Makeba, Mahlathini and the Mahotella Queens and many more pass through the recording studios. Marabi, which happens to be a keyboard style of play traceable to the 1920s are mostly made up of Jazz with instruments like like guitar and banjo.
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