1001 South African Songs You Must Hear Before You Go Deaf

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Archive for the tag “cyclical rhythms”

Kazet – Mahlathini & The Mahotella Queens

Kazet – Mahlathini & The Mahotella Queens (Is that a C60 or C90 Kazet?)

[Note: Kazet is sometimes listed as Gazette]

Mahlathini & The Mahotella Queens

Mahlathini & The Mahotella Queens (left to right: Hilda Tloubatla, Simon Mahlathini Nkabinde, Nobesuthu Mbadu, Mildred Mangxola).

Simon ‘Mahlathini’ Nkabinde was the deep growling voice behind the success of Mahlathini and the Mahotalla Queens. In his early life, so the story goes, his parents were worried about how deep his voice was and took him to the local sangoma (witch doctor) to see if there was anything wrong. The sangoma concluded that he was only growing up.

Along with the beautiful harmonies of the Mahotella queens, Mahlathini forged a furrow in the field of mbaqanga music (a style early Juluka followed and which, in part, inspired Paul Simon’s Graceland). The group recorded the single ‘Yebo’ with the British group The Art Of Noise, but it was with ‘Kazet’ that they had a hit in France.

The song follows the cyclical rhythms associated with mbaqanga although it doesn’t really show off how deep Mahlathini’s voice could go. You need to listen to some tracks like ‘Thokozile’, ‘Umthakathi’ and ‘Yebo’ to hear that, but ‘Kazet’ is a catchy tune which was an important one in bringing an important exponent of mbanqanga to the world’s ears.

Where to find it:

Best Of Mahlathini & The Mahotella Queens (MOYO, CDHUL 40274)

Sound Offerings From South Africa (Gallo, CDREDD 623)

The Essential South African Trip (African Cream)


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