Founded by frustrated musicians Lloyd Ross and Ivan Kadey in the dark beginnings of the turbulent 1980s, Shifty Records was a fiercely independent maverick label intent on recording original South African music - sounds that spoke about what was actually
According to some, Shifty often felt more a collective of like-minded musicians than a record label. Because Shifty was always operating on a shoe-string budget, people pitched in.
Conscription into the South African Defence Force (SADF) became a rallying point for expressing resistance to an increasingly militant apartheid state in the 1980s. As conscious objectors were becoming more vocal about how compulsory military conscription
After hearing a trade union choir perform at a rally, Lloyd Ross and his friend Brian Tilley, then of Video News Services, spent the winter of 1985 recording songs sung by workers affiliated to the Federation of South African Trade Unions (Fosatu), the pr
Convinced of the power of mixing music with spoken word, Shifty recorded with a number of poet-activists from the Congress of South African Writers (COSAW), including Mzwakhe Mbuli, Lesego Rampolokeng and Vusi "The Voice" Mahlasela.
While apartheid South Africa had a notoriously elaborate censorship system, few songs were actually banned by the official state censor, the Directorate of Publications. More often than not, it was the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) that fu
A new type of alternative Afrikaans music began to make itself heard in the mid-1980s. Energetic, anarchistic and angry like never before, this was the beginning of a rock revolution, headed up by charismatic rebel boere-troubadours with defiantly absurd
Organised by Shifty Records and upstart Afrikaans paper Vrye weekblad, the Voëlvry tour of 1989 was the apex of Afrikaans protest rock, as Shifty’s merry band of irreverent musicians climbed aboard the ossewa and took their youth uprising on the road,
One of the most influential stalwarts of the Shifty Stable, James Phillips was a performer, composer and cultural pot stirrer who refused to compromise. James the Boptist, Bernoldus Niemand, Bartholomew Biased, ex-Private Willie Smit from De Aar... he use
The sounds of Shifty are synonymous with some key Shifty spaces, notably Jameson's.
An alphabetical list of the musicians who recorded with Shifty.
Chronological list of all Shifty releases, with links to relevant Shifty press releases.
A 2014 Heritage Month tribute to the Shifty Records music label, combining exhibitions, documentary screenings, panel discussions and, of course, concerts to celebrate the Shifty story of musical activism in the struggle for democracy in South Africa.
© SAHA 2021