Wednesday, 31 October 2018

The Rough Guide To The Music Of South Africa




South African "township jive" is some of the most vibrant, uplifting music you will ever hear. Plenty of it is included on this incredibly enjoyable compilation. If you want evidence of the captivating nature of this music, check out the irresistible "Groovin' Jive No. 1" by Noise Khanyile and the Jo'Burg City Stars. It is literally impossible to keep your feet still as that infectious drum kicks in, backed by that trademark lilting guitar sound and those rubbery, mellifluous bass runs popularised on some of Paul Simon's "Graceland" album.

Other highlights are the growling voice of Mahlathini (& The Mahotella Queens), the wonderful, upbeat and sheer liveliness of Yvonne Chaka Chaka's celebratory "Motherland" and "Udlame" by The Soul Brothers. The well-known vocal talents Ladysmith Black Mambazo are present on here as well with "Kangivumanga".

As well as township jive, South Africa has a distinct style in is jazz - as the township melodies and joie de vivre mix intoxicatingly with traditional jazz styles. Examples on here are "My Kind Of Jazz" by Teboko and "Jive Township" by The African Jazz Pioneers. More experimental, jazz-wise, is the extremely impressive improvisations of "Celebration" by Bheki Mseleku.

There is also South African reggae in the presence of the much-missed "Father of South African reggae", Lucky Dube, whose wonderful, evocative voice and a reggae style that merges township guitars with classic reggae skanking. The song included here is the mighty "House Of Exile", about Nelson Mandela. Overall, this is a highly recommended album reflecting some of the vivacious, ebullient and varied music of South Africa.

B+

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