Feb 11, 2014

RhoDeo 1406 Roots

Hello, we reach the most southern part of the continent today

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Yet another excellent compilation from the Rough Guide series, focuses on the musical traditions of South Africa, which have become fairly popular in the west in recent years. As one would expect, there is a track featuring the a cappella sounds of Ladysmith Black Mambazo, and the heavenly voice of singer Miriam Makeba, but South African music is far more diverse than just that. There are such famous South African performers as the Soul Brothers, Boyoyo Boys and Mahlathini & the Mahotella Queens, who all give excellent performances on this album. Reggae has its roots in African traditions, and this becomes more appearent after you hear the South African reggae stylings of Lucky Dube. Jazz also has its roots in the African continent, and this can be seen in such songs as "Jive Township", "Yaze Yangala", "Celebration" and "Groovin Jive No. 1". All of these, while uniquely African, feature a jazzy groove which cannot be denied. Its contaigous giving some insight into the diverse world of South African music in the late nineties.

VA - The Rough Guide To The Music of South Africa  (flac 448mb)

01 Izingqungqulu Zomhlaba - Nigizongena Kanjani 5:12
02 Mahlathini & The Mahotella Queens - Nyamphemphe 4:17
03 The Noise Khanyile & Jo'Burg City Stars - Groovin' Jive No. 1 8:09
04 Lucky Dube - House Of Exile 3:25
05 Yvonne Chaka Chaka - Motherland 4:52
06 Tebogo - My Kind Of Jazz 4:00
07 Spokes Mashiyane - Meva 2:52
08 African Jazz Pioneers - Jive Township 4:01
09 The Elite Swingsters - Yaze Yangala 4:40
10 Bheki Mseleku - Celebration 7:50
11 West Nkosi - Ungithatha Kanjani 4:19
12 Soul Brothers - Udlame 4:07
13 Boyoyo Boys - Tsotsi 2:33
14 Miriam Makeba & The Skylarks - Inkomo Zodwa 2:20
15 Solomon Linda's Original Evening Birds - Mbube 2:42
16 Ladysmith Black Mambazo - Kangivumanga 5:08

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The first incarnation of Ladysmith Black Mambazo was "Ezimnyama" ("The Black Ones"), formed by Joseph Shabalala in December 1960. The members of the group were relatives (mostly brothers and cousins) of Shabalala, with many having sung with him while he was growing up on the farm where he was born. In 1964, Shabalala had a series of recurring dreams during his sleep, over a period of six months, featuring a choir singing in perfect harmony. Shabalala described this as a beautiful sound, and one not yet achieved by his group of the time. Shabalala entered the group into isicathamiya competitions, held on Saturday nights in the halls of hostels in Durban and Johannesburg. The group managed to win nearly every competition that was held. As a result, Shabalala decided to change the name of the group to be more descriptive of its talent. The name "Ezimnyama" was replaced by "Ladysmith Black Mambazo". The three elements of the new name were: the hometown of Shabalala's family, Ladysmith, KwaZulu-Natal; the black ox, considered to be the strongest farm animal; and mambazo, which means axe in the Zulu language, and is symbolic of the choir's ability to "chop down" the competition. Eventually, by the early 1970s, the group was forbidden to compete in the competitions because of their continual success. They were, however, welcome to perform without taking part in the competition itself.

Even if you don't speak Zulu, when they hit a low rumbling note, you can literally feel the power of their voices in your body.  "In Zulu singing there are three major sounds," Shabalala explains. "A high keening ululation; a grunting, puffing sound that we make when we stomp our feet; and a certain way of singing melody. Before Black Mambazo you didn't hear these three sounds in the same songs. So it is new to combine them, although it is still done in a traditional style. We are just asking God to allow us to polish it, to help keep our voices in order so we can praise Him and uplift the people."

The group has had an extremely prolific recording career, having released over 50 albums and collections, beginning with their debut, Amabutho, on Gallo Records in 1973. The group did not become well known outside of South Africa until Paul Simon asked them to perform on Graceland.  In 1988 Ladymith signed with Warner Bros. and issued a pair of albums, Journey of Dreams in 1988 and Two Worlds One Heart in 1990. A couple of best-of samplers appeared on Shanachie in 1992. The group switched back to Gallo for a series of 1990s releases, then moved to Wrasse for several albums, including 2000's In Harmony. No Boundaries, which featured the English Chamber Orchestra, appeared on Headsup Records in 2005, followed by a second album from the label, Long Walk to Freedom, in 2006. In 2007 Ilembe: Honoring Shaka Zulu was issued in South Africa with an American edition following in 2008.

The release of Nelson Mandela after 27 years imprisonment brought a celebratory album release - 1993's Liph' Iqiniso. Nelson Mandela (shortly after his release from prison) publicly stated that the members of Ladysmith Black Mambazo were "South Africa's cultural ambassadors". Ladysmith Black Mambazo accompanied the future President of South Africa to the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo, Norway at the request of Nelson Mandela, in 1993. Mambazo sang again at President Mandela's inauguration in May 1994, and then later at his birthday celebrations. The album is both short (36 minutes) and decisive. The ten selections feature their trademark layered vocals, shimmering harmonies and producer/lead vocalist Joseph Shabbala's transcendent singing rising over the backgrounds. The tracks don't feature any spotlight numbers, but each has sections with memorable exchanges and appealing leads. If anything, the group's customary excellence has led fans to take them for granted.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo - Liph'iqiniso (flac  215mb)

01 Mus' Ukumbulal' Umuntu 2:50
02 Ayikh' Indaw' Enjengekhaya 3:34
03 Woza Ngihambe Nawe 3:25
04 Ekusen' Emathuneni 3:25
05 Ubuhle Beqabane 3:52
06 Umnjonj' Awusitholanga 3:26
07 Liph' Iqiniso 3:32
08 Akasekh' Engimzondayo 4:22
09 Abezizwe Ngeke Bayiqede 3:38
10 Isifikil' Inkululeko 3:50

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The big band with no instruments who stole the show on Paul Simon's Graceland are back to prove that they are true masters of harmony, musicality and rhythm. This orchestra of brotherly voices takes us on a journey across the big country of Southern Africa. Dedicated to Headman Msongelwa Shabalala, a founder of the group in 1960, the album's title means 'the star and the wiseman.'

If you want to hear the voice of this young nation, sit back and listen to this eloquent, moving and uplifting virtuoso performance. The tracks on the album all written by the musical genius Joseph Tshabalala and dedicated to his late brother, Headman, make up an altogether stirring album of African rythms.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo - The Star And Wiseman  (flac 440mb)

01 Inkanyezi Nezazi (The Star & The Wiseman) 4:51
02 Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes (feat.Paul Simon) 5:41
03 Swing Low Sweet Chariot (feat.China Black) 3:51
04 Knockin' On Heaven's Door (feat.Dolly Parton) 5:43
05 Kangivumanga (I Disagreed) 5:12
06 Sisesiqhingini (Everything Is So Stupid) 4:20
07 Homeless 3:56
08 Vulani Amasango 3:17
09 Abezizwe ('99 Remix By D-Influence) 3:30
10 Sibezwa Bekhuluma 3:29
11 Chain Gang (feat.Lou Rawls) 3:52
12 Yibolabafana 4:31
13 We Nhiziyo Yami 2:30
14 Siligugu Isiphambano 3:03
15 Rain, Rain Beautiful Rain 3:11
16 Ngelekele 2:45
17 Wonke Amehlo Azokumbona 2:58
18 AkehLulek'ubaba 4:21
19 Liph'Jqiniso 3:31
20 World In Union 95 (feat.PJ Powers) 3:54

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Anonymous said...

Hello Rho!

Would you please re-up the following:

VA - The Rough Guide To The Music of South Africa (flac 448mb)
Ladysmith Black Mambazo - Liph'iqiniso (flac 215mb)
Ladysmith Black Mambazo - The Star And Wiseman (flac 440mb)

Tanksyou in advance

Anonymous said...

Hallo Rgo!
The Ano has a name, Thomas.

Thanks for the re-ups, I like the following to have a re-up too.

VA - The Rough Guide To The Music of South Africa (flac 448mb)
Ladysmith Black Mambazo - Liph'iqiniso (flac 215mb)
Ladysmith Black Mambazo - The Star And Wiseman (flac 440mb)

All the best / Thomas

Anonymous said...

Rho, could you please re-post The Rough Guide To The Music of South Africa next time around? Thanks very much in advance, Sam