Saturday, 31 August 2013

Tsonga Month: The Last Post

And so we bring Tsonga Month to an end with a post dedicated to the man who, to my mind, has done more than anyone else to create the Tsonga Disco sound that we know and love. It is writer, producer, collaborator and star in his own right, the Shangaan Svengali, Mr Joe Shirimani.

Here are a small selection of his works. To misquote Percy Bysshe Shelley, look on his deeds, ye mighty, and get down!

"Ku Khola" - Joe Shirimani

"Wa Rita Dadu" - Joe Shirimani & General Muzka 

"Daar Kom Hulle" - Joe Shirimani & Bangoni Bandawu

"Juliah" - Joe Shirimani

"Madla Kuhamba" - Joe Shirimani & Vana Va Ndonda (featuring Benny Mayengani)

"Two Bafundisi" - Joe Shirimani & Penny Penny

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Tsonga Month: New Faces

As we wind our way towards the end of Tsonga Month here at 27 Leggies - "Bringing Tsonga Disco to the Masses" since 2009 - here are a few acts we've never featured before.

All of these tracks are taken from an excellent compilation called "Ndavuko Wa Xigaza Volume 1", released in 2007 on CCP Records (a South African offshoot of EMI) and compiled by one Phazamiza Mathonsi. Hats off to Phazamiza, I say, and here's hoping there are a few more volumes out there just waiting to be found.

"Parasite" - Masesi

"Malumi" - Richard Maceke & The Makhasa Sisters

"Xiwethula" - Boti Ready & Peter Magolongondlo

"Xitsare - Tsetsa" - Rose Nwanghonyama

Speaking of New Faces, here are a couple of bands that got their first break on the ITV talent show of the same name in the 1970s.

Monday, 26 August 2013

Monday Mas

There are two things you can rely on in London over the August Bank Holiday weekend - rain and the Notting Hill Carnival. They have both duly arrived.

I haven't been to Carnival for years - I can't be doing with the crowds - but that is no reason not to bombard you with four vintage soca tunes. As a bonus I've added the track that won Superblue the Road March title at the Trinidad Carnival this year, a mere 33 years after his first triumph. I'm three days late or four days early, depending on your disposition.

 "Rock It" - Merchant

"Companero" - Mighty Gabby

"Bus Conductor" - Poser

"I Don't Mind" - Winston Soso

"Fantastic Friday" - Superblue

Here is one of Superblue's main rivals this year, with a distinctly peculiar video.

Friday, 23 August 2013

Tsonga Month: General Muzka

So far this Tsonga Month we've had Peta Teanet. We've have Penny Penny. But no list of Kings of Tsonga Disco past and present would be complete without Chris Mkhonto AKA General Muzka.

Here are a couple of tracks from his "Back By Public Demand" album. As they say over at the excellent but intermittent Gazankulu Republic blog, "Chris has come a long way since the days when he sang for his school as a small boy in the remote village of Xanthia, near Bushbuckridge, Limpopo".

"Hi Pepile Mimoyeni" - General Muzka

"Xenophobia I Vuvabyi" - General Muzka

The people of Bushbuckridge still talk about the day Billy Joe McAllister jumped off the Tellahatchie Bridge.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Tsonga Month: M.D. Shirinda

I can't believe that, after more than four years of this blog, this is the first time I've posted music by Daniel Shirinda (better known as M.D. or sometimes General M.D. Shirinda). The General - to award him the respect he deserves - is still going strong in his late seventies after over 50 years of recording. Starting out when Tsonga music was still played only on traditional instruments like the mbira, he was one of the first to integrate the guitar and set in train the modernisation process that led in time to Tsonga disco and now Shangaan electro.

Here are a couple of tracks from his album "Nghena Shirinda". My copy does not have a date on it but I would guess from the cover, the absence of "General" and the production credits, that it probably came out some time in the 1970s. He is superbly supported, as always, by his actual sisters, The Gaza Sisters (named after the historic Gaza Kingdom, centred around the Limpopo river).

"Vandzi Lumbeta" - M.D. Shirinda & Gaza Sisters

"Engelinah" - M.D. Shirinda & Gaza Sisters

The General also has the distinction of being possibly the only Tsonga artist to feature on a multi-million selling album, when Paul Simon took one of his tunes and reworked it as"I Know What I Know" for "Graceland". The General and the girls played on the album, but they aren't involved in this 1987 live performance in Zimbabwe.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

ReviewShine Round-Up

This is catch-up month. In between all the Tsonga Disco, here is a quick plug for some of the better records to have come my way via ReviewShine over the last couple of months.

We start with a man (and band) that can rightly be described as bluegrass legends - Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver. With over 40 albums and countless Grammies and other awards to their name, they are  renowned for their superb playing and fantastic harmonies. Both of those are prominently on display on their latest album, "Roads Well Traveled", out now on Mountain Home Records. If you know anything about bluegrass you'll know that a Doyle Lawson album is as close to a guarantee of quality as you can get. If you don't know anything about bluegrass, this would be a good place to start.

"Fiddlin' Will" - Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver

A rather different take on the old mountain music comes from Isobel Anderson & Ruby Colley, both of whom hail from the foothills of the mountainous Sussex Downs. They have each made albums in the past, but have been playing together for the last couple of years. The "Sussex Sessions" EP, which is available now from their Bandcamp page, is their first release, and very good it is too. "Down in Adairsville" is my personal favourite.

As there are only three tracks on the EP I'm not going to give you a free download. If you like it - and you should - you can stump up the £3 needed for the whole thing.

Also available on Bandcamp is "Whisper & Holler", the debut album from Steph Casey, a singer-songwriter from Wellington, New Zealand. There is a slightly bluesy edge to both her voice and her music which I really like. Here is an alternate version of the lead off track.

"Nice To Almost Know You (Alternate)" - Steph Casey

We will finish off with what is probably my favourite of all the albums ReviewShine has sent my way over the last couple of months, "Fifty Shades of Yellow" by The Yellow Hope Project (or, as he's known by his family, Arnold Kim). Basically, it's a great Southern soul record - if, like me, you consider Hiss Golden Messenger and the good bits of Lambchop to be Southern soul. It's all about love and loss, as all great soul records are, and some of it is played fairly straight. There is a rewrite of "Mignight Train to Georgia" from the man's perspective, for example, which sticks pretty closely to the classic sound. But my favourite moments are probably when he approaches it from a slightly different angle. Like this one.

"A Final Plea To A New Prescription" - The Yellow Hope Project

You've probably guessed the clip by now.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Tsonga Month: Teanet Time

The late Peta Teanet is rightly considered the first great king of Tsonga Disco. He did not invent it - Paul Ndlovu and maybe others have a better claim to that - but he took it to new heights of quality and popularity. His die-hard fans, who include many regular readers, would tell you nobody has ever matched him since.

Here are a couple of tracks from the 2008 compilation, "King of Shangaan Disco", which is available to download on Amazon and elsewhere.

"Cawa" - Peta Teanet

"Xizambani" - Peta Teanet

Today's video is specially for my old friend Crackers. He'll know why; it's probably best that the rest of you don't.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Tsonga Month: Maluleke Monday

If you move beyond the Tsonga disco and electro scene into the more traditional Tsonga sounds, two names keep cropping up: Maluleke and Chauke. They are like the Hatfields and McCoys of Limpopo Province, although hopefully without the feuding. Thomas, the big cheese of the Chauke clan, is married to a Maluleke woman which suggests they are on friendly terms, although Thomas is married to so many women that it may just have been an administrative error.

We will come back to the Chaukes later in the month, but today we have a multitude of Malulekes. We start with the daddy of them all, George (28 albums and counting), followed by Alpheus (who must be well into double figures himself by now). And then we round things off with some Lesser Spotted Malulekes.

"Kubebula Imaxangu" - George Maluleke & Va'Wana'ti Sisters

"Vana Va Swisiwana" - Alpheus Maluleke & Ntlaveni Brothers

"Vakukwani" - Eckson Maluleke

"Papa Sibongile" - Wilson Maluleke & Mikoki Ladies

"Joni Ra Tika" - John Maluleke

Before finishing up for the day, let us spare a thought for our Australian readers in these difficult times.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

The Extended Family

During the week there was a mini gathering of the clan as assorted aunts, uncles, cousins, second cousins twice removed, in-laws and outlaws got together to say goodbye to one of our number who was heading back to the States. And it prompted this post, which is a tribute to the extended family. This goes out to all Gogginses and part-Gogginses everywhere.

"Granny" - Oscar Brown Jr

"Grandad" - Brave Baby

"Auntie Rhoda" - Admire Kazenga & The Ngozimbi Crew

"Uncle Jo The Ice Cream Man" - The Mindbenders

"Cousin Rude Boy" - Culture

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Tsonga Month: Madlaks

As part of this month's efforts to revive the vibe here on the self-styled Home of Tsonga Disco, it is only right we should feature the man whose music got me into it all in the first place - Madlaks.

While far from the biggest star in the Tsonga firmanent, it was the discovery of his CD "Ndlho Ndlho Volume 1" in the African Music Store in Cape Town over Christmas 2008 that led to my love of Tsonga Disco, and to the creation of this blog. So feel free to praise him or curse him as you see fit. I'm in the praising camp, obviously.

Here is one from "Ndlho Ndlho", one from his 2009 follow-up "Zindamuti", and finally one from Skadlama's "Tekani Milawu Vananga" album, on which he guests.

"Changana" - Madlaks

"Jikamajika" - Madlaks

"2010 Yifikile" - Skadlama (featuring Madlaks)

While wallowing in nostalgia, I went back to my early posts to see what the first videos I posted were. These were the first three. You've got to admit, I got off to a flying start.

Saturday, 3 August 2013

It's Tsonga Disco Month!

As promised, to make up for neglecting my mission in recent months, August is going to be Tsonga Disco Month here on 27 Leggies (perhaps not exclusively, but predominantly).

And we start with the exciting news that Brian over at the mighty Awesome Tapes From Africa is working with the even mightier Penny Penny and Joe Shirimani on efforts to re-release Papa Penny's classic "Shaka Bundu" album.

We'll keep you posted on that if it comes off, but in the meantime here are a couple of tracks from his follow-up album, "Juri Juri".

"Good Morning Papa Penny" - Penny Penny

"Mhannamizamani" - Penny Penny

And to top it off here he is with a performance of his song about the Ibola virus and AIDS that was apparently arranged to celebrate the unveiling of South African Airways' first Boeing 747-400. The quality is not great, but that just adds to the generally surreal nature of the thing.