New podcast series explores the biggest catalogue of African music

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 Photo of LUCKY DUBE, performing live on stage (Photo by John Lynn Kirk/Redferns)
Photo of LUCKY DUBE, performing live on stage (Photo by John Lynn Kirk/Redferns)
  • Gallo Vault Sessions is a six-part podcast series exploring South Africa’s rich and complex musical history.
  • Home to legends like Miriam Makeba, and Sipho "Hotstix" Mabuse, the podcast celebrates its 95th anniversary.
  • Each episode features interviews with artists, label executives, and radio veterans, as well as a 60 minute mix.


Gallo Music houses the most extensive collection of African Heritage music masters globally. A new podcast comes through the prism of this longest-running independent recording label in Africa. Gallo Vault Sessions is a new six-part podcast series that explores South Africa’s rich and complex musical history. 

Presented by Gallo Music in collaboration with KONJO, in association with The Sowetan, the series is narrated by Kineta Kunutu and researched, produced, and written by artist, researcher, and DJ Zara Julius at KONJO.

KONJO is a Pan-African research and cultural storytelling agency.

Gallo Music, home to legends like Miriam Makeba, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Lucky Dube, Oliver Mtukudzi, Thandiswa Mazwai, and Sipho "Hotstix" Mabuse, is using the podcast to celebrate its 95th anniversary.

Rob Allingham, music historian and Gallo Archivist
Rob Allingham, music historian and Gallo Archivist holding a a one-inch, eight-track separate from 1970. (Photo supplied by Gallo Music)

"Gallo became the Motown Records of South Africa. Its great catalogue started resonating with the rest of the world," said Antos Stella, CEO of Content Connect Africa.

From the 1930s to present-day South Africa, the 6-part podcast series produced by culture agency KONJO explores the backstories and overlooked tapes from the Gallo Music Vault. With an archive spanning nine decades, the series reflects on how music shapes culture and how our cultures are shaped by music.  

For the next six months, one episode will be released a month. Each episode features interviews with artists, label executives, and radio veterans. To go with each discussion is a specially commissioned 60-minute DJ mix inspired by the episode’s focus. Featuring some of South Africa’s most sought-after original recordings, the mixes are compiled by discerning selectors like Paul WaxOn and Vusi Hlatywayo and Naledi Chai /of Fly Machine Sessions and Abraham Mennen.

Having premiered 31 March, episode one provided the company’s backstory and introduced all the moments to follow in the series on all podcast and audio streaming platforms. A curated mix by Paul WaxOn (@waxonsa) accompanied the episode.

A picture of Zara Julius recording the podcast. Ju
A picture of Zara Julius recording the podcast. Julius is the series producer and researcher. (Image supplied by Gallo Music)

Adds series producer and researcher Julius, "Music is almost one of the central pillars of how we engage with one another in South Africa. This series highlights how South Africa's political history has affected the trajectory of music so that I don’t think it has elsewhere."  Although it is a celebration, Gallo Vault Sessions won’t shy away from difficult conversations. Instead, the podcast’s topics will include radio censorship, race, Afrikanerdom, cultural boycotts, the global explosion of South African music, and new emerging voices.

"We wanted to bring the stories behind Gallo’s 95-year legacy to life. But as we got deeper into it, it increasingly became clear that what we were doing was bringing South Africa's musical history to life," commented Gallo Music’s managing director Simu Mukuna.  


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