one post a day for the remainder of 2017 featuring a selection of some of my best finds of African music last year…not necessary brand new releases. Mostly vintage records found during my travels all over the world.
Best African music finds 2017 # 6
ABAFANA BASEQHUDENI -Umdumo (‘Mighty Thunder’)
Gumba Gumba BL 89 1976 South Africa
Abafana Baseqhudeni is a male mbaqanga group formed in 1975 by members of the Mahothella Queens and Space Queens. Umdumo (‘Mighty Thunder’) was produced by West Nkosi and Marks Mankwana and became their biggest album in 1976.
my last safari through the concrete jungle of cities like New York City and Philadelphia generated a lot of great finds, not just African music but a few interesting otherwordly records as well. What about The Afro-Latin Soultet ‘Wild!’, a truely rare jazz-soul gem rarely seen in the wild.
Best catch of this safari must be the American release of Spokes Mashiyane’s LP ‘King Kwela’, recorded during his first US live tour, The Boyoyo Boys ‘Back In Town’, Josef Marais, and Dorothy Masuka ‘Pata Pata’ as runner up… maybe not the holy grails I was looking for in the first place but still a decent selection of music from the African diaspora that I like to share with you. More info and mp3 files in coming posts….and my experience of diggin’ in Philadelphia will be revealed shortly.
after 60 years in showbiz, music veteran Dorothy Masuka still has no plans to retire. For the singer retirement doesn’t exist in her vocabulary, music is in her soul.
She explains; “I’ve always respected my profession as well as myself as an African woman. When I was younger the world was a different place. Music was like great wine -the more mature, the better. These days, with technology and media, things happen faster for the youngsters. I am glad I have crafted a legacy for the young generation that will be left behind when I pass on,” she says laughing.
“Young people must keep on singing indigenous African music because that’s what the world is looking for. And they must keep on composing beautiful new tunes.”
In my previous post Township Soul & Boogie vol 5; Soul Brothers & Sisters I have already recommended the music of the Soul Brothers and of course there is the authorative biography by Steve Gordon so today I want to add some titles to my ever-growing collection of the mbaqanga sound which dominated South African urban music for over three decades.
The irresistible mix of percussive Hammond organ, quavering soul or the growling deep male voice against female sweet temptation, a scratchy guitar and steady dance rhythms are present in all of the selections. ‘Shweleza’ by The Queens being my favorite track here today. I ask myself what song is a favorite with you, dear reader?
Blue Monday…what a start of the week! Yesterday, the great American soul singer Solomon Burke died on early Sunday morning at Schiphol Airport just after landing our shores for a one-off concert with Dutch band De Dijk. Burke literally died in harness, on his way to a live-show at the age of 70, leaving a wife, 21 children and numerous grandchildren. A real soul man gone to Soul Heaven. You will be able to read Burke’s full biography elsewhere but to start this post I have selected one song I have always loved from the bottom of my heart, ‘Cry To Me’.
And an instrumental South African tune that just happened to be on the stack of my pile ready for posting as Play Of The Day. Reminiscent in style of bands like Makhona Tshohle Band and Indoba Band. A jazzy tune with a blues undertone, a lighthearted soulful tune from 1984. Not really a mourner but rather to cheer things up….RIP Solomon Burke. You will be missed.
Inspired by the 60’s boom in American Soul, many South African performers entered the field with an organ, a bass-and-drum rhythm section and an electric guitar. In the mid 70’s the disco beat took over but the main ingredients remained almost the same.
The Soul Brothers formed in 1974 and recorded over 30 albums since their formation. Initially formed in KwaZulu Natal, the group have remained the slickest and most successful proponents of the mbaqanga sound which dominated South African urban music for over three decades.