Yes, Cecil Sapseid was indeed my father. He played under the name ‘Dick Sapper’, was known to his friends as Sapper and work colleagues as Dick. He was born on 23 October 1906 in Marylebone, London, England and died in Fish Hoek, Capetown, 25th October 1981 and is buried in Maitland Cemetery, Capetown, South Africa.
Before the war he had a small dance orchestra known as Cecil Sapseid and His Savona Band and played in hotels mainly in Eastbourne, Sussex, England. All the members of the band were called up together into the Royal Army Ordinance Corp. I cannot find a listing on ENSA but know they entertained the troops. In 1948 he, together with my mother Marjorie and myself, emigrated to Lusaka, Northern Rhodesia, now Zambia, where he joined the NR Government as Assistant Broadcasting Officer in the Central Africa Broadcasting Service. One of his duties was to go with recording engineers into rural areas to record tribal music on reel to reel recording equipment for re-broadcast on the African Service. It was that music that influenced his composing music such as Imbote, based on a traditional beer drinking song. The copyright for this particular piece of music as bought by Decca Music and subsequently recorded by both Bert Kaempfert and Dan Hill; the latter being credited with the composition on some recordings, together with my father’s associate, Aleck Nkhata. The original records that I have show both Sapseid/Nkhata as composers. The Bert Kaempfert version can be heard on line on Orchestral Wonderland Volume 1.
During his time in Lusaka he recorded a weekly musical programme for broadcast on the English Service Radio and also wrote a weekly comedy show for the same broadcasting service.
He left Government for a while to become the resident musician at the Ridgeway Hotel, Lusaka, but returned to Government service at the formation of The Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland and transferred to Salisbury (now Harare, Zimbabwe) as Director of African Broadcasting.
Just prior to the Declaration of Independence of Rhodesia in 1965 my parents returned to the UK to run a village store in Balcombe, East Sussex. The lure of Africa and distance from my family brought them back to Salisbury, then on to retire for a second time in Capetown. My father had only been there a few months when he sadly died of a cerebral haemorrhage.
Unfortunately I am unaware of any music composed by him other than Imbote (pronounced Im- bow-TAY) and I would be grateful for more information. During his time of composing I was away at boarding school and was unaware of this side of him as he mostly played dance music and music from the shows.
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