1001 South African Songs You Must Hear Before You Go Deaf

Just another music list

Tsotsi – Boyoyo Boys

Tsotsi – Boyoyo Boys (No, this is not from the movie)

Boyoyo Boys

Boyoyo Boys

The Boyoyo Boys are world famous…er…well they would be if international artists had given them a little of the credit they deserved rather than just ripping them off. Okay, Paul Simon was more generous with song writing credits than Malcolm McLaren and white South Africans would probably never have heard of the Boys had Simon & McLaren not been influenced by the township sound they had to offer.

Paul Simon apparently got the inspiration for his famous Graceland album after hearing ‘Gumboots’ an instrumental track by the Boyoyo Boys. He even went on to record a version with them that made it onto that album. McLaren took their tune Puleng and adapted it for his hit ‘Double Dutch’ and a quick listen to ‘Tsotsi’ followed by McLaren’s ‘Zulus On A Time Bomb’ will reveal to even the untrained ear that further ‘adapting’ was taking place. But, after much legal wrangling, the Boys eventually got the royalties due to them.

‘Tsotsi’ is a joy-injected, foot stomping piece of township jive. There is a repetitive vocal of ‘Tsotsi yeah yeah yeah yeah’ sung in that rich voice that few white men can emulate and the song forms an important link in the chain of events that brought black South African music to the world’s ears.

Where to find it:

From Marabi To Disco – Various (1994), Gallo, CDZAC 61

Tsotsi by Boyoyo Boys:

Zulus on a Time Bomb by Malcolm McLaren:

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2 thoughts on “Tsotsi – Boyoyo Boys

  1. Any idea when the original version of Tsotsi by the Boyoyo Boys was released? I mean, not on a compilation album, but the ORIGINAL single release, presumably sometime back in the ‘7os? For some reason this info is very difficult to uncover, and I was hoping you might know!

  2. No one seems to know this. Very strange – South African music in particular is often undated. At least you hope someone could narrow it down a bit !

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