Bongo Maffin were one of the front runners in the Kwaito world. They were formed when Oscar Appleseed (DJ Appleseed) moved from Zim down to SA and hooked up with Stoan (Seate) and Thandi (Mazwai) to form the band. They threw dance, house, kwaito, techno, rap and reggae into a big township melting pot and ‘Amadlozi’ was one of the tracks that appeared on their 1998 debut album, ‘The Concerto’.
It’s a funky piece of dance music, with a steady beat underpinning some somewhat ethereal keyboard noodling that becomes almost hypnotic. Thandi’s vocals are light and, although not whispered, it feels like she is telling you a secret. This sounds like a natural progression from the Township jive sounds of the 1980s. You could lose yourself on the dancefloor with this without the aid of drugs.
‘The Concerto’ would win the band the 1999 Best African Pop Album at the South African Music Awards and in 2001 Bongo Maffin would be voted the Best African Group at the Kora Africa Music Awards. With tracks like ‘Amadlozi’ it is not too surprising that they did this. Kwaito was just beginning to mature when Bongo Maffin released ‘Amadlozi’ and this would go on to be one of the tracks of the genre.
Where to find it:
The Concerto – Bongo Maffin (1998), Columbia, CDCOL8080
Kwaito – South African Hip Hop – Various (2000), Earthworks, STEW42CD