South Africa, the final frontier oops wrong show anyway it's a beautiful country where music has been the force that kept it going thru all the ridiculous strife it has met this past millenium, there's still much to work on, life is still cheap but it's getting more expensive.. On offer today Sisters that were doing it for themselves but more so for their community bringing beauty into the lives denigrated by apartheid (resistance thru harmony). The Soul Brothers well what's in a name these guys went out to party with the public. Finally a Rough Guide compilation part 2 after all it's still very difficult for artists from South Africa to breakthrough in Europe or the US, samplers give a good step up ...N'joy
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The Dark City Sisters was a South African female vocal group formed in 1958 by music producer Rupert Bopape. They recorded several hit records during the 1960s, helping usher in the mbaqanga style of South African music later brought to global prominence by the Mahotella Queens.
The Sisters were formed by Bopape, also a talent scout, at EMI South Africa. The group was named after Alexandra Township, known at the time as 'Dark City' due to its lack of street lighting. The four founding members were Joyce Mogatusi, Francisca Mngomezulu, Hilda Mogapi and Esther Khoza. Their close harmonies were often combined with a single male vocalist, at a time when most bands consisted of a female lead backed up by a group of men. In their early days they were fronted by vocalist Jack Lerole and later by Simon 'Mahlathini' Nkabinde. Their backing band was Alexandra Black Mambazo.
The new style of the Dark City Sisters proved very popular and they enjoyed several hits during the 1960s, also touring South Africa and neighbouring countries. Membership changed frequently, with group vocalists such as Francisca Mngomezulu and Caroline Kapentar later singing for the Mahotella Queens. Lead singer Joyce Mogatusi remained the only consistent link throughout the Dark City Sisters line-up. The second-longest serving member of the group was Grace Moeketsi, who sang with the Sisters from 1960.
The group dissolved in 1971 for a short time before reforming in the middle 1970s, primarily as a live performing group although contracted at various points to Gallo-Mavuthela, EMI and CCP. The 1980s was a decade in which very few recordings of new material were made, with most of their time taken up by concert performances. By the 1990s and early 2000s, following the explosion of international interest in South African music, the Sisters were fully immersed in concert appearances in the country and continued to make one-off recordings. In July 2012, leader Joyce Mogatusi died from heart failure after 53 years singing for the group.
Classics from the era when female lead singers were the glory of South African music. From the mid-'50s to the mid-'60s, the Dark City Sisters (who launched Mahlathini, heard on three cuts here) were outsung only by the Flying Jazz Queens.
"The finest South African Marabi Jive ever", it says on the cover, all the Africans loved the Dark City Sisters. This is happy music. It's "Forget your troubles and dance" music. It will make your spirits rise and your feet move.
It's characterised by the distinctive close harmony sound that we associate with good South African music, beautifully done, mostly in Zulu. The Dark City Sisters were amongst the first to pioneer this sound in the 1950s and 60s, blending indigenous music with a rhythmic guitar backing and an occasional bit of saxophone, to produce this unique result. And they do it supremely well. Only two of the tracks, the 2nd and 6th, are by the Flying Jazz Queens, these are as good as anything else on the album..
Dark City Sisters And Flyin' Jazz Queens (flac 250mb)
01 Sekusile 2:34
02 Langa More (Flyin' Jazz Queens) 2:31
03 Thathu Kisi 2:23
04 Jabulani Nonke 2:52
05 Tomati Yo Yo No. 3 2:47
06 Retswa Gauteng (Flyin' Jazz Queens) 2:18
07 Emahlathini 2:21
08 Insizwa 2:39
09 Langa More 2:40
10 Amangwane Amyame 2:13
11 Ingwababa 2:43
12 Mokupi 2:16
13 Izinto Ezinhle 2:26
14 Eleventh Year Anniversary 2:22
15 Nkabinde 2:35
16 Lelo Hashe 2:35
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The Soul Brothers play mbqanga but the sextet isn't so old-school they lost their homeland popularity à la Mahlathini in the '70s (or enjoyed the latter's international revivalist success in the late '80s for that matter). Combining four songs from a live 1995 BBC session with tracks from two South African albums released around the same time, Born to Jive is full of sprightly but smooth mbqanga distinguished by Hammond organ and high-pitched choral vocals. "Indaba" and "Kuyesinda" set the stage with the organ lead and rhythms not so compulsively roller coaster as Mahlathini, although "Kwanele" begins to get that roller coaster mojo working by trimming the drums back to minimal to make room for skitterng bass/guitar/organ exchanges. Horn squiggles are blended in on "Iphutha," but virtually every song opens with a solo Hammond lick, probably a trademark ID saying "This is The Soul Brothers." The group is stone professional -- every song clocks in between 3:40 and 4:40 -- but the music feels pretty rigidly set in conceptual stone rather than fluid. The exuberant backing track to "Imali" boasts more offbeat snap, with the organ replaced by a synth version of a pennywhistle, and "Imfundo" is a strong up-tempo rocker with straight-ahead drums and David Masondo's bright, positive vocals. "Usemncane" starts vigorously with drums and the guitar line really driving the arrangement, and the track really belongs to guitarist Maxwell Mngadi -- he takes a nice cascading solo that employ simple lines leapfrogging off from his preceding lick. Moses Ngwenya's Hammond is the chief instrument -- although sometimes it clutters up the guitar/bass interplay -- but he shines brightest when unleashing some compelling swirls on "Ngixoleleni."
The four live tracks are in the same vein with extra keyboards, horns, and backing vocalists -- Masondo apparently does all the vocal tracks in the studio (which probably accounts for the evenness of the singing), and the three-man support squad they take on the road get a richer mbube harmony blend. The attack is a bit more energetic with guitar and bass shining on "Hluphekile," and "Uvalo" getting a rocking mbqanga rhythm going by leaving enough space so the individual lines don't collide. Born to Jive is a strong album, totally smooth and professional, which may account for The Soul Brothers' long-running popularity in South Africa.
The Soul Brothers - Born to Jive (flac 412mb)
01 Indaba (News) 4:11
02 Kuyesinda (It's Heavy) 4:14
03 Inhliziyo (Heart) 4:08
04 Kwanele (Enough) 4:06
05 Iphutha (Mistake) 4:13
06 Bakhulumela Futhi (They Talk Too Much) 4:14
07 Imali (Money) 4:07
08 Kulukhuni (It's Hard) 3:44
09 Usemncane (You're Still Young) 3:49
10 Mfundo (Education) 4:00
11 Ngixoleleni (Forgive Me) 3:56
BBC Radio One Andy Kershaw Session
12 Hluphekile (Sadness/Troublemaker) 4:08
13 Isigebengu (Gangster/Villian) 4:39
14 Uvalo (Palpitations) 4:32
15 Usemncane (You're Still Young) 4:30
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If you’ve already got the first compilation (posted 2 weeks ago) and you enjoy it then you’ll be pleased to learn that half the artists from that album have reappeared on the new one. The bubblegum pop princess Yvonne Chaka Chaka is back, and so are Mahlathini and the Mahotella Queens, the Soul Brothers, Lucky Dube, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Miriam Makeba and the Skylarks, and Solomon Linda’s Original Evening Birds. All of them have switched to different songs except the Evening Birds. They’re singing “Mbube” all over again so that no one ever forgets where “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” and “Wimoweh” came from.
No South African compilation can do everything. There are too many musicians, too many niche markets, too many different groups inside the one country, and not enough time to cover them all. The major black genres are covered, yet there’s nothing here from the white South Africans. The township dip-and-heave rhythm that runs through most of these tracks, sometimes blatantly, sometimes subtly, unites them, making this one of the more coherent Rough Guides.
VA - The Rough Guide To The Music Of South Africa II (flac 383mb)
01 Busi Mhlongo - Yehlisan'Umoya Ma-Afrika 5:24
02 Mahlathini & The Mahotella Queens - Umuntu Ngumuntu 5:35
03 Chicco - Umagubane 5:01
04 Yvonne Chaka Chaka - UmQombothi 4:55
05 Soweto String Quartet - St Agnes And The Burning Train 2:43
06 Shiyani Ngcobo - Yekanini 4:30
07 Miriam Makeba & The Skylarks - Ndidiwe Zintaba 2:34
08 Mtabhane Ndima - Thandabantu 2:47
09 Soul Brothers - Mama Ka S'Bongile 3:22
10 Lesego Rampolokeng & The Kalahari Surfers - Blue V's 3:27
11 Lucky Dube - Crying Games 4:31
12 Oom Hansie - Waar's My Pyp 3:35
13 Nothembi - Akanamandl' Usathana 4:47
14 Solomon Linda's Original Evening Birds - Mbube 2:43
15 Big Voice Jack - Tsi Tsi No1 3:29
16 Ladysmith Black Mambazo - Wawukhona Yini E New York 3:29
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