Dance BandsBefore the advent of rock ‘n’ roll, it was the era of the dance bands. Typically the bands consisted of at least a drummer, a pianist, a bassist and a saxophonist, and most also included a guitarist. They brought joy to the dancing public drawing large crowds mainly on Friday and Saturday nights.The popularity of these dance bands co-existed with the new rock, rhythym and soul groups and were an integral part of the entertainment scene. Quite often they were the resident band at the popular dance venues. In Durban The Himalaya Hotel, The Pelican, The Island, The moon, The Admiral and Sol Namara were popular haunts of the dancing public. A special genre is associated with the music of the dance bands affectionately known as Langarm.
Updated 28 September 2021
As Syd Williams puts it“One of the reasons why langarm dance bands are so loved, is because of their versatility. No matter what era your heart is set on, the bands have a song list to suit. Their extensive repertoire allows them for all musical tastes, from waltzes, foxtrots, quicksteps, tangos, sambas, rhumbas, jazz, jive, bop, cha chas, line dancing, quadrilles, squares and a good dose of rock 'n roll and R&B love. The collection of music are tried and true, that will work with almost any crowd, young or old. The versatile musicians and sensational vocalists have all styles of music covered. The band's extensive playing experience means that they always have the right tunes and tempos to suit the mood for any function, from weddings, anniversaries, reunions and everything else in between. Their experience also develop a great ability to read the crowd and to pick up on the styles that will work best, as the evening progresses.Whenever the band has a break in between sets, the professional DJ adds extra spice and groove to the evening with an outstanding performance to make it a night to remember.Langarm dancing is refreshing and wonderful and cherished by all South Africans. Deep down, the music is loved by everyone who feels their own sense of pride for their own favourite band. LangArm Music and Dancing - our Cultural Heritage is a Facebook page dedicated to Langarm Music
The Dukes Combo
It seems as if The Dukes combo have been playing forever. Led by Dee Sharma the group has spanned six decades
Sam Latin Kings
Another of the great Dance Bands from the 50s and 60s that continued making people take to the floor into this century.
The Blue Ricks
Not as long lasting as the other two Dance Bands, The Blue Ricks, as the resident band at the Himalaya hotel was one of the most popular Dance bands
This page is dedicated to those dance bands that brought pleasure to the thousands of dance fans.
The Ray Kress Quintet
was another of the great dance
bands of the 60s. Unfortunately no
recordings of the group exist, as far
as I know.
Bobby Hendricks Bobby Hendricks was born in Caledon on the 7th February 1936 and died in 1999. Well known for his strict tempo dance music, he was popularly known as the ''King of Langarm.'' Bobby was posthumously awarded by the Western Cape Department of Environmental and Cultural Affairs for his exceptional contribution to the entertainment industry and for the five Gold Albums he produced. The municipality of Caledon named a street after the great man who brought so much joy to so many people.(Syd Williams)
The Savoys Another one of the popular Dance Bands that performed mainly in the Durban area.At various times the following were members of the group: Roy and Shirley Simon, Russell Simon, Kevin Selling, Tennyson James, Lance James and Baby Duval. Lefty Johnson
Michael George on Drums, Clement Sigamoney on Guitar, Henry Paul on Double Bass with Willy Joseph, Gambie George and Pickie Jeevanantham on Sax.(Brian George)
The El Ricas
was one of the most popular bands from Johannesburg. Ably led by Trevor Roskins who was reecognised as one of the finest saxophonist their repution spread throughout the country. They were the resident band at the Chez Gaye night Club but also played at other night clubs.Girl From IpanemaFiestaChez Gaye Kwela
The Five Pennies
The Lyceum Combo
was another band from Johannesburg that could be considered the rival of the El Ricas.
Eric Gabriel, Alan Pillay, Edgar Royeppen, Andy Joseph and Ivan Daniels
Some of the members of the Lyceum Combo formed The Hi-Notes."Kat" Smith - Drums, Harold Baxter - Piano, Aziz Larney - Accordion, Haroun Kirsten - Guitar, Bobby Merckle - Sax and Ernest Mitchell - Double Bass