South Africa is 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 a wonderful sampler compiling what went on in 1969-76, years when very few in the west would have had a clue. Priest-poet's can be a thorn in the side of the ruling class. Putting his words down in books and on vinyl he managed to overcome a lot of blocking and find his way to Europe's festivals, however going after corruption will always leaving you vulnerable. Our final South african artist and in some ways it's biggest star is no more, as he was shot during a car jacking, township violence that still rages and ruins lives but the music will survive ...N'joy
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Volume 2 in Strut's new wide-ranging three-part series exploring underground South African music during the late '60s and '70s. This time focusing on township R&B, Soul, Funk & Psyche 1969-76! With international forms of music discouraged by the South African authorities during the 1960s, township jive or Mbaqanga arose as innovative artists combined close harmony singing and traditional African styles with a bouncy township beat.
It would be understandable if you were to mistake this set as an exercise by South African musicians to replicate their Western counterparts' soul golden years. There are numerous tracks fitting that bill, but there are also songs that merely integrate rhythm & blues stylings into the local South African township mbaqanga. One such song, the compilation's opener, "Khubani" by J.K. Mayengar & the Shingwedzi Sisters, is the least Western of the bunch, although it does feature a call-and-response chorus over the top of a driving percussion section. The influence really starts to overtake the traditional South African sounds in songs such as the Down Tones' "Short Man's Soul," which has elements of guitar work similar to the feel of "Save Me" as performed by numerous artists such as Aretha Franklin and James Knight & the Butlers. Accompanying it is some sizzling organ work by an unknown player as the main rhythm carries on. Equally, the Soul Prophets' instrumental soul-jazz piece "Soul Imbaq" could easily fit into the third volume, focusing on jazz from the townships.
The vocal tracks bring the compilation back to a more international affair, mainly because most of the songs are not sung in English and feature one of the other near-dozen official languages of the nation. "Tiba Kamo," which starts off with a hi-hat solo à la "Theme from Shaft," switches gears into a dancefloor burner with some timely chicken-scratch guitar work. The Mahotella Queens' "Wozani Mahipi" is another excellent representation of the blend. The male lead's cigarette-stained vocals contrast with the females' sweeter refrains, laid over the top of a nasty drum break midway through. Compilers Duncan Brooker and Francis Gooding have gone to great lengths to assemble an assortment of tracks representing a marriage of styles and influences in this set (and in the series in general). Their painstaking work is a living document to be kept in the annals for musical posterity. Next Stop Soweto, Vol 2 is a very listenable album from start to finish, and I'd recommend it for Afro-rock completists, or anyone with a mild curiosity about the different directions that rock and roll music can take when far removed geographically, if not spiritually, from it's homeland.
VA - Next Stop Soweto Vol 2 (flac 296mb)
01 Khubani - J. K. Mayengani And The Shingwedzi Sisters 2:48
02 Blockhead - The Monks 2:32
03 Nkuli's Shuffle - The Klooks 2:40
04 Tiba Kamo - Phillip Malela 3:09
05 Akulalwa Esoweto - The Mgbaba Queens 2:57
06 Funky Message - Heroes 3:04
07 Soul Time Nzimande Go - Bra Sello & His Band 2:22
08 Wozani Mahipi - Mahotella Queens 2:20
09 Skophom - The S.A. Move 2:41
10 Soul "Imbaq" - The Soul Prophets 2:25
11 Gwinyitshe - Toreadors 2:34
12 Back Home Soul - Down Tones 2:46
13 Bazali Bam - Bazali Bam 3:09
14 Come With Me - Heroes 2:44
15 Intandane - Phillip Malela And The Movers 3:09
16 Little Girl - Soul Throbs 2:37
17 Can You Feel It - Electric Six 2:44
18 Wait And See - The Heshoo Beshoo Group 4:02
19 Last Time - Anchors 2:26
20 Mosquito - Flaming Souls 2:50
21 I Am There - The Grasshoppers 2:30
22 Saduva - Gibson Kente 2:33
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Mbuli has been imprisoned, stabbed, and shot at for his outspoken opposition to apartheid. On this disc the South African dub poet recites his work against a background of driving South African rhythms including kwela, mbaqanga, and sax jive.
Mzwakhe Mbuli, a devout former Deacon at Apostolic Faith Mission Church in Naledi Soweto South Africa, known as "The People's Poet, Tall man, Mbulism", is a popular poet and mbaqanga singer in South Africa. He was born in Sophiatown in 1958, but his family was forced to move to Soweto when the government bulldozed his home town. His works include a book of poems, Before Dawn (1989), and albums Change is Pain (1986), Unbroken Spirit (1989), Resistance and Defence (1992), and Africa (1993). His poems are mainly in English but draw on his native Zulu as well as traditional praise poetry and rap. His best-known poem is Change is Pain, a protest piece about oppression and revolution, which was initially banned until growing pressure forced South Africa to allow more freedom of speech. His first performance group was called "Khuvhangano".
Throughout the 1980s Mzwakhe was repeatedly detained by the authorities and denied a passport to travel while playing a leading role in the Cultural activities of the United Democratic Front. His international career began in 1990 in Berlin, Germany when he shared the stage with Youssou N'dour, Miriam Makeba and Thomas Mapfumo. An imposing figure, standing well over 6 feet (1.8 m) tall, he performed at the funeral of Chris Hani, the assassinated head of the South African Communist Party, and at the presidential inauguration Nelson Mandela in 1994. In 1996 Mbuli was invited to London to co-host, with British poet and activist Benjamin Zephaniah, the Two Nations Concert at the Albert Hall to honor President Nelson Mandela on his visit to London . Later in the year, he returned to the UK to join Peter Gabriel, Youssour N'dour and other prominent African artists to record the fundraising Aids Album. Mbuli was convicted in March 1999 for armed robbery and possession of a hand grenade – crimes he has consistently denied committing; he and his supporters have always insisted he was framed by the government for speaking out against corruption. He was held at the Leeuwkop Maximum Security Prison, until his release in November 2003. His most recent release is Mbulism.
Mzwakhe Mbuli - Resistance is Defence (flac 474mb)
01 Uyeyeni 6:09
02 Tshipfinga (Chipinga) 6:27
03 Pitoli 5:36
04 Stalwarts 8:51
05 Land Deal 4:50
06 Lusaka 6:56
07 Emandulo 7:01
08 Ndimbeleni 7:11
09 Joyina 7:15
10 Malambalamba 5:37
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Lucky Dube was born in Ermelo, formerly of the Eastern Transvaal, now of Mpumalanga, on 3 August 1964. His parents separated before his birth and he was raised by his mother, Sarah, who named him Lucky because she considered his birth fortunate after a number of failed pregnancies. Along with his two siblings, Thandi and Patrick, Dube spent much of his childhood with his grandmother, while his mother relocated to work. In a 1999 interview, he described his grandmother as "his greatest love" who "multiplied many things to bring up this responsible individual that I am today." At school he joined a choir and, with some friends, formed his first musical ensemble, called The Skyway Band. While at school he discovered the Rastafari movement. At the age of 18 Dube joined his cousin's band, The Love Brothers, playing Zulu pop music known as mbaqanga whilst funding his lifestyle by working for Hole and Cooke as a security guard at the car auctions in Midrand. The band signed with Teal Record Company, under Richard Siluma (Teal was later incorporated into Gallo Record Company). Though Dube was still at school, the band recorded material in Johannesburg during his school holidays. The resultant album was released under the name Lucky Dube and the Supersoul. The second album was released soon afterwards, and this time Dube wrote some of the lyrics in addition to singing. It was around this same time when he began to learn English.
On the release of his fifth Mbaqanga album, Dave Segal (who became Dube's sound engineer) encouraged him to drop the "Supersoul" element of the name. All subsequent albums were recorded as Lucky Dube. At this time Dube began to note fans were responding positively to some reggae songs he played during live concerts. He decided to try the new musical genre and in 1984, released the mini album Rastas Never Die. The record sold poorly - around 4000 units - in comparison to the 30,000 units his mbaqanga records would sell. Keen to suppress anti-apartheid activism, the apartheid regime banned the album in 1985. However, he was not discouraged and continued to perform the reggae tracks live and wrote and produced a second reggae album. Think About The Children (1985). It achieved platinum sales status and established Dube as a popular reggae artist in South Africa, in addition to attracting attention outside his homeland.
Dube continued to release commercially successful albums. In 1989 he won four OKTV Awards for Prisoner, won another for Captured Live the following year and yet another two for House Of Exile the year after. His 1993 album, Victims sold over one million copies worldwide. In 1995 he earned a worldwide recording contract with Motown. His album Trinity was the first release on Tabu Records after Motown's acquisition of the label. His next three albums each won South African Music Awards. His most recent album, Respect, earned a European release through a deal with Warner Music. Dube toured internationally, sharing stages with artists such as Sinéad O'Connor, Peter Gabriel and Sting. He appeared at the 1991 Reggae Sunsplash (uniquely that year, was invited back on stage for a 25-minute-long encore) and the 2005 Live 8 event in Johannesburg.
In addition to performing music Dube was a sometime actor, appearing in the feature films Voice In The Dark, Getting Lucky and Lucky Strikes Back. On 18 October 2007, Lucky Dube was killed in the Johannesburg suburb of Rosettenville shortly after dropping two of his seven children off at their uncle's house. Dube was driving his Chrysler 300C which the assailants were apparently after. Police reports suggest he was shot dead by carjackers. Five men have been arrested in connection with the murder. Three men were tried and found guilty on 31 March 2009; two of the men attempted to escape and were caught. The men were sentenced to life in prison
Lucky Dube is widely considered to be Africa's "King of Reggae" and The Way It Is brilliantly continues his reign. Brandishing one of the most haunting voices in modern reggae, Dube tackles social and political issues with the style and sincerity of Bob Marley, coupled with the ferocity of his biggest influence, Peter Tosh. Opening with melancholy vocals on the sublime "Crying Game," capturing a touch of his South African Mbaqanga roots on "Let the Band Play On," and dabbling in a little classical chamber music for "Till You Lose It All," the singer manages to deliver hardcore roots reggae with a fresh perspective. This album showcases reggae at its best by one of the best.
Lucky Dube - The Way It Is (flac 367mb)
01 Crying Games 4:37
02 Crime And Corruption 5:36
03 The Way It Is 4:11
04 You Stand Alone 5:55
05 Man In The City 7:21
06 Let The Band Play On 5:20
07 Man In The Mirror 4:46
08 Rolling Stone 5:37
09 Till You Lose It All 4:40
10 The Show Goes On 5:37
Lucky Dube - The Way It Is (ogg 128mb)
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