[Hidden Rarities #34] Freedom’s Children (South Africa)

Freedom’s Children were one of the most important bands of the South African scene of the late 60’s and early 70’s, pioneers of Acid and then Prog sounds in the country. The history of the band began in 1966 in Durban from an idea of ​​Ramsay Mackay and Colin Pratley, who were later joined by Ken Henson and Jimmy Thompson. The sound of the band in the initial phase was Astral Acid Rock, a genre that the population of their country was neither accustomed to nor ready to welcome and the band decided to move to England. Unfortunately for problems with work permits due to their nationality as Barry Irwin, who replaced McKay, was black. However, they begin to record their music, managing to sign a recording contract with EMI which in 1968 released their debut entitled “Battle Hymn of the Broken Hearted Horde.” A very intense album full of interesting ideas, with a mixture of Psychedelic sounds, Heavy Proto-Prog and forays into Blues-Rock. The next “Astra,” released in 1970, is also considered by fans and collectors to be the most valid album from a musical point of view, showing good maturation and personal characteristics. Compared to the previous one the sounds are more elaborate and Heavy Prog, as well as the third and last “Galactic Vibes” which continues the musical discourse. The band has quality ideas and within its albums it ranges from the most classic Prog to Psychedelia, a brief foray into Experimental. The live performances allowed him to get noticed at the time, only to unfortunately disband in 1971 after releasing the 3 albums we were talking about before. Over the years they have been reprinted several times, making them affordable. In 2007 the limited edition “Shadoks Box” 3-CD boxset of 300 copies was released, after two years of struggle and hard work with tons of help from collectors in South Africa, England, Austria and the United States. Since all of the mastertapes were lost in a great fire, they had to burn from the original vinyl, using two or three fresh copies of each album to get the best possible sound. One of the most interesting bands of the African Rock scene, which for the quality of the music proposed would have deserved better luck. A limited distribution, the problems linked to apartheid that prevented many live performances, prevented its affirmation on the world scene. This band deserves to be part of this editorial on Hidden Rarities, both for the quality of the music, and for their particular history that has made them little known, earning them the nickname “The Pink Floyd Of South Africa.


[1969] Battle Hymn Of The Broken-Hearted Horde (Parlophone)
[1970] Astra (Parlophone)
[1971] Galactic Vibes (Parlophone)
[1990] A New Day ‎(Cass) (Victory Records)
[2020] Ourang-Outang (Freedom’s Children with Malombo Jazz Makers) (Sharp-Flat Records)

Freedom’s Children |Spotify|

Author: Jacopo Vigezzi

Talented South African teen sings S...

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