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Gumba Fire: Bubblegum Soul & Synth Boogie in 1980s South Africa
Various Artists
Soundway Records
Catalogue Number
Release Date
March 9, 2018

In 1980s black South Africa a local form of pop music evolved as the disco boom died down and slowly mutated. It was often ubiquitously described as Bubblegum - usually stripped-down and lo-fi with a predominance of synths, keyboards and drum-machines and overlaid with the kind of deeply soulful trademark vocals and harmonies that South African music is famous for.

Compilers Miles Cleret (Soundway) and DJ Okapi (Afrosynth Records) present a selection of 16 rare, handpicked 1980s cuts that highlight the period that nestles in between the ‘70s (where American-influenced jazz, funk and soul bumped shoulders with local Mbaqanga) and the ‘90s when Kwaito and eventually house-music ruled the dancefloors of urban South Africa.

Alongside French-Caribbean Zouk this kind of music has slowly been making its way into the DJ sets of many of the most open minded selectors around the world. This compilation is in many ways a sister release to the hugely popular compilation of Nigerian boogie and disco that Soundway released in late 2016 : “Doing it In Lagos: Boogie, Pop & Disco in 1980s Nigeria”.

The album takes its name from the band Ashiko’s track of the same name Gumba Fire that features on the compilation. The term is derived from gumba gumba, the term given to the booming speakers of the old spacegram radios that broadcast music into South Africa’s townships and villages. The phrase later evolved into Gumba Fire to refer to a hot party.


"The real, real sounds of South Africa" MOJO

"Parfaitement sélectionnées à la main, et avec amour!" Radio Nova, France

"Unsurprisingly this is amazing. Beautiful, uplifting sounds." Alexander Nut (Eglo Records/NTS Radio)

"Bound to get you dancing" Record Collector Magazine

Digital Tracklist

  1. 1 My Brother The Survivals 4:46 Buy

    My Brother

  2. 2 Mind Games Stimela 5:35 Buy

    Mind Games

  3. 3 Hlala Nami Hot Soul Singers 4:14 Buy

    Hlala Nami

  4. 4 Wayawaya Zoom 5:31 Buy


  5. 5 Gumba Fire (Madlakadlaka) Ashiko 5:42 Buy

    Gumba Fire (Madlakadlaka)

  6. 6 Heartbeat Monwa & Sun 4:52 Buy


  7. 7 Do You Trust Amajita? Ntombi Ndaba 3:50 Buy

    Do You Trust Amajita?

  8. 8 Selallane The Black Five 3:33 Buy


  9. 9 Picnicing Starlight 4:03 Buy


  10. 10 Hayi Ngodlame Zasha 4:41 Buy

    Hayi Ngodlame

Show All Tracks 16
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