Jive Motella – Mahotella Queens
Queen Elizabeth II of England became Queen in 1953 and (at the time of writing) is still reigning. About a decade later, The Mahotella Queens became the queens of the mbaqanga scene in South Africa and have been reigning ever since.
I haven’t been able to pinpoint exactly where in their illustrious career ‘Jive Mahotella’ falls, it has the guitar sounds that date back to early 1950’s mbaqanga, but the sound quality is too clear and modern to have come from back then. Also, on the version of the song I have, it sounds very much like Mahlthatini is singing on the track and he died in 1999. There is a short interlude in the song where there is a very 80’s township keyboard, so I would place this track in the mid to late 80s, but if anyone knows better, please correct me.
However, it doesn’t really matter when the song was recorded for it is a timeless piece of aural joy. As the Queens sing when they briefly break into English, ‘Put on your dancing shoes’ and you’ll be hard pressed not to as the dance rhythm subsumes you, the harmonies of the Queens enthral you and the song makes you want to jive till you shuffle off this mortal coil. The Mahotella ladies are the dancing queens. Long live the Queens!
Where to find it:
Mahlathini And The Mahotella Queens – The Best Of Mahlathini And The Mahotella Queens, Gallo (1991), CDHUL40274