Jersualema – Master KG ft Nomcebo Zikode
Born in Tzaneen, Kgaogelo Moagi was a little over 20 years old when he released his first album called ‘Skeleton Move’, going under the name Master KG. The album won him the AFRIMMA award for Best Artist/Group African Electro. However, with his second album, ‘Jerusalema’, the title track would propel him onto the international stage and the song has become one of the biggest worldwide hits for a local act. An initial version of the track was released on social media in 2019 and received positive reviews, so Master KG called in Nomcebo to add the vocals and the new version got to a million views on Youtube within its first week.
It soon got attention globally and went on to be the first South African made song to hit 100 million views. In February 2020, a bunch of Angolans posted a video of them dancing to the song while eating plates of food and a global dance phenomena evolved around this with hundreds of groups taking up the challenge. There are videos featuring airline workers, police squads, priests, monks, nuns from all over the world doing the dance to the track. There is even a short clip where a scene from the film ‘Stan & Ollie’ (which starred Steve Coogan and John C Reilly) showing Laurel & Hardy dancing with ‘Jerusalema’ dubbed over the original soundtrack. The official video had been viewed 448 milliion times at the time of writing, but adding in all the various dance videos and the version featuring Nigerian singer Burna Boy, the total views must be in excess of half a billion if not more. Not bad for a dude from Tzaneen.
But what has given the song its appeal. It’s a catchy dance track with a simple beat, which some may find repetitive, but it’s perfect for a dance floor. However, for me it is Nomcebo’s vocals which make the track. She has a beautifully rich alto voice which is very distinctive and very welcome in a world of The Voice and Idols where every female singer wants to sound like Whitney Houston. Nomcebo really brings the spiritual meaning of the song to life with her voice, especially when she soars on the word ‘Ngilondoloze’, you are taken to new heights. Just compare the version where she takes lead vocals to the one where Burna Boy has the lion share of the vocals and, for me, there is no contest, Nomcebo wins hands down every time.
‘Jerusalema’ is one of those songs which people will love to hate, because it has been played to death, but it will go down in history as an important South African track, not only for its massive global success (again at the time of writing, it holds the record for the most weeks at 1 on the charts in Switzerland, spending a total of 21 weeks at 1 there and also went to the top of the charts in Belgium, Hungary, The Netherlands and Romania), but once the dust settles and people revisit it without the onslaught of the song we have had, it will be remembered for the strength of the vocals as much as for its catchiness.
Where to find it:
Jerusalema – Master KG (2020)