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Following Romain and Henrik, why not start a thread on popular music of South Africa?
I think I'll approach this by covering one genre at a time. Kwaito music seems a good place to start. Kwaito is the most popular music genre in South Africa and it has been the definitive sound of township music since the early 1990s.
A song called Nkalakatha by Mandoza is probably the most popular of the genre. From a "critical" perspective, the beats are very catchy and the song cleverly combines house music with African beats and samples, but it probably goes on a bit too long and it could be argued that there's not enough variety to keep the listener engaged throughout. But hey, we're talking popular here, not acclaimed.
So here's Nkalakatha by Mandoza:
To Romain, Henrik, Dan M, and everyone else with an interest in music from non-Anglophone parts of the globe: I really hope you contribute when the AMWT comes around to your part of the world!
I'll definitely explore these when I have time. The only South African band I know of is BLK JKS.
What part of SA are you from, Dan? My wife is from there.
Nice picks, Dan! I hadn't heard either one, but I'm down with Miriam Makeba thanks to my wife! She grew up in Johannesburg.
In light of recent events, Die Antwoord must be mentioned. A fusion of hip-hop, Afrikaans, African rhythms, and explicit lyrics, the most recognisable face of the band was one of the oldest sufferers of progenia to have survived, Leon Botha, who died recently, aged 26.
I couldn't do a thread on popular music in South Africa without mentioning the reggae of Lucky Dube. He is one of South Africa's best selling artists and in the 80s he was also an influential social commentator who used his music to speak out against Apartheid. As AllMusic points out, his songs and albums "were met by strong opposition by the then-all-white South African government and his first reggae album, "Rasta Never Die" was banned from radio airplay." But that couldn't stop his music from getting more and more popular. Here he is with Different Colours
Goldfish is a popular (and good) electronic group. Their sound has been compared to St Germain, Fatboy Slim and Basement Jaxx. They often throw jazz and African music into the mix along with samplers, effects and synths. Here they are with Fort Knox.
My favourite voice of all the South African singers belongs to Vusi Mahlasela (he is known locally as "The Voice"). Initially he was more popular abroad than in South Africa after performances in Europe in the early 90s, but by now he's a much-loved singer/songwriter in his home country too. Here's Say Africa.
Choral gospel music is immensely popular in South Africa, with regular competitions involving amazingly attired choirs - some of them over one hundred strong - being broadcast on local television every Sunday. It's a style of gospel that has been loosened up, with rhythm and dance routines added (and of course incredible singing). The Soweto Gospel Choir are the most popular of the genre. Here they are with Woza Meli Wami.
This will be my last post on South African music. My intention was just to make AMers aware of some of the country's most popular genres and performers. I hope you have found something in this thread that you liked.
A final genre to mention before moving on to Miriam Makeba is African jazz. Jazz has been widely popular in South Africa for many dacades, and if you like African jazz then check out artists like Abdullah Ibrahim, Elite Swingsters, Hugh Masekela, Jonas Gwanga, and Jazz Ministers. The most famous instrumental jazz song is probably Grazing in the Grass by Hugh Masekela:
Miriam Makeba's contribution to vocal African jazz has been significant. Here are two of her most popular jazz songs, Inkomo Zodwa and Qongqotwane(The Click Song)
Besides jazz, Makeba also performed folk, Afropop, Latin and soul (to name a few). She had a hugely successful career and is to this day probably the name most people associate with South African music. As AllMusic puts it:
"Makeba remains the most important female vocalist to emerge out of South Africa. Hailed as the Empress of African Song and Mama Africa, Makeba helped bring African music to a global audience in the '60s. Nearly five decades after her debut with the Manhattan Brothers, she continues to play an important role in the growth of African music."
Here she is one last time with Pata Pata.
Thanks Honorio. If ever you want to visit South Africa and you need a playlist, you know who to ask. :)