Home town:  Salisbury

Circa:  1971 – 1972


  • Chris Harding – Keyboards
  • Kevin Barton
  • Colleen Strachan – Drums

This trio was by Chris Harding and Kevin Barton when they left the INITIATION.  The band played regularly at venues such as the Elizabeth Hotel, the Salisbury Motel and the Beverly Rocks Motel, as well at many of the city’s sports clubs, private functions and weddings.

The Barefoot Drummer!

RS - Colleen
The Legendary Barefoot Drummer!

At that time it was, of course, quite unusual for a band to feature a female drummer, particularly one who liked to play barefoot!  Colleen Strachan, who was probably the only female drummer in the country at the time, was born and brought up in Salisbury and was schooled at David Livingstone and Alfred Beit junior schools before continuing to Jean Rennie Senior School in Lusaka and Mabelreign Girls’ High in Salisbury.

Always passionate about music, Colleen soon gave her early thoughts about being a vocalist and decided to concentrate on learning the drums.  She is largely self-taught but was influenced, and guided, by her brother, Robbie, and a local drummer, Basil Philips.  Before acquiring her first drum kit she had to satisfy herself with drumming on the local telephone directory! This was usually to Shadows’ tunes whose drum arrangements she studied closely.  She was also an avid fan of musicians like Gene Krupa, Buddy Rich and Sandy Nelson.

Barefoot, she says, made playing pedals easier – and she never really liked shoes that much anyway!

Colleen’s first band was the MELON JAM PLAN which her brother, Robbie, founded.  From there she progressed to BYRD ‘N BEES before joining THE NEW HORIZON, the last band she was to played with in Rhodesia.  She also did a few freelance gigs along the way with musicians like Len Colvin (piano) and Danny Rollinson (bass).

After leaving Rhodesia and relocating to Durban in South Africa, Colleen and Chris Harding continued their music activities, playing with a selection of local musicians.  Amongst these was the Keith Goodwill Trio run by Keith Goodwill, a renowned piano tuner.  These trip comprised Keith on piano, Chris Harding on rhythm guitar and vocals and Colleen on drums.  Other priorities, such as motherhood then came into her life, taking priority over music for a number of years.  During this period, however, she developed her interest in smaller percussion instruments such as the bongos, congas, maracas and the djembe.

Always up for new challenges and experiences, Colleen signed up for three seasons (1991 -1993) as a drummer with the Boswell Wilkie’s Circus!  This led to her touring throughout South Africa and Namibia and gaining a deep insight into circus life.  She recalls that “big brass bands” in circuses were long past and she was required to play live over backing tracks, recorded on music tapes, and had to ensure that her playing was completely aligned with all the special effects (cymbal clashes, drums rolls and “appropriate bangs and crashes for the clowns”).

In recent years she jammed on a number occasions with local bands and musicians at “open mic” sessions.