Durban - The soothing sounds of the guitar is what attracted musician Godfrey Daniels to music and inspired him to learn to play the instrument.
Back in the 1960s, Daniels (now 75) joined The Jets as the lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist alongside his cousin, Cyril Francis, brother Ivan Daniels and friends Tony “Bulan” Lazarus and Ortel Singh.
“Back then we could not afford formal training and learned from one another. We used to also listen to the music on the record player and work out the chords, bass, lyrics and harmonies,” recalled the great-grandfather of four.
Daniels, an evangelist, said that while he admired international groups, including The Beatles and the Rolling Stones, he drew inspiration from a Cape Town band, The Big Beats.
“The group had two blind musicians. One was a bass guitarist and the other a lead guitarist. Both were exceptional musicians and they motivated me to practise three to four times a week.”
The Jets, who adopted The Beatles’ fashion style, performed at weddings, birthday parties and at various Durban hotels, including the Himalaya and Admiral.
“We also performed at concerts in Pietermaritzburg and we toured Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, East London and Johannesburg.
“We were the supporting band for the Mickie Most concert at the Durban City Hall and performed in the first non-white dance at the Durban Ice Rink with The Flames.”
The group won the Durban Rock Band Contest three times and the Champion of Champions competition.
While Daniels was successful, he had his fair share of challenges.
“The challenge was to make enough money to buy good quality instruments to achieve the sounds we wanted.”
Other than The Jets, he played with the Concords, Kreme, the Dukes Combo, Dynacords, The Flames and the gospel band, The Believers.
The grandfather of 13 attributed his success to the support of his wife Muriel and four children.
“They always encouraged me to do my best.”