November 16, 2023

Harmonizing Soweto

Choral singing has long been a major thing in South Africa.
For example, Solomon Linda's "Mbube" (also known as "The Lion Sleeps Tonight") is an international standard that children around the globe learn in their first music classes.  Urban vocal "hep harmony" groups like the female Skylarks (featuring Miriam Makeba) and the male Manhattan Brothers, and musical theater productions like King Kong and Wait A Minim! brought South African singing to the world in the mid-20th century.  More recently, Ladysmith Black Mambazo's a cappella style called isicathamiya became and remains popular all over the planet.
Kasi soul and Diepkloof United Voice (DUV) are South Africa's latest contribution to choral singing.  DUV is a nine-member vocal group from the Diepkloof neighborhood in Johannesburg's Soweto suburb who rehearse in an abandoned elementary school classroom with broken windows.  Their debut album, recorded in their rehearsal room and released on November 10, is one of the most exhilarating pieces of music I've heard all year.

The first hour of Global A Go-Go this week is focused on South African choral music.  You'll hear a set of historic recordings from the 1930s through the 80s, three selections from Diepkloof United Voice and examples of how vocal choirs are used in contemporary South African dance music.

In the second hour this week (Sunday November 19, 1:00-3:00 PM on WRIR, for two weeks afterwards at, check your local listings for airing on other radio stations, and any old time at my podcast site): A previously unreleased recording of one of Mali's greatest post-independence orchestras, Super Biton de Ségou, and new Afrobeat from Eparapo, Alpacas Collective, London Afrobeat Collective and The Blassics.

Artist | Country | Song | Recording | Label | Year
Oliver Lake | USA | Separation | Matador Of 1st & 1st | Passin' Thru | 1997
Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros | England UK | Global A Go-Go | Global A Go-Go | Hellcat | 2001
Solomon Linda's Original Evening Birds | South Africa | Mbube | Mbube / Ngi Hambiki - Single | Gallotone | 1939
Dark City Sisters | South Africa | Ngiboniseleni | Music & Rhythm Of Africa: Hits Of 1959 | His Master's Voice | 1959
Martha Mdenge & Harmony Crotchets | South Africa | Tell Me How Long The Train's Been Gone | Tell Me How Long The Train's Been Gone - Single | Trutone | 195x
Ladysmith Black Mambazo | South Africa | Nansi Imali | Phansi Emgodini | Ezom Dabi | 1981
Diepkloof United Voice | South Africa | Sipo | Hamonizing Soweto: Golden City Gospel & Kasi Soul From The New South Africa | Ostinato | 2023
Diepkloof United Voice | South Africa | Baninzi | Hamonizing Soweto: Golden City Gospel & Kasi Soul From The New South Africa | Ostinato | 2023
Diepkloof United Voice | South Africa | Who Knows | Hamonizing Soweto: Golden City Gospel & Kasi Soul From The New South Africa | Ostinato | 2023
The Angels | South Africa | Johnny Boy | Yebo! Rare Mzansi Party Beats From Apartheid's Dying Years | BBE | 2023-1985
Penny Penny | South Africa | Siyayi Vuma | Siyayi Vuma - Single | W Baloyi Music Production | 2016
Tshetsha Boys | South Africa | Nwapfundla | Shangaan Electro: New Wave Dance Music From South Africa | Honest Jon's | 2010
Bembeya Jazz National | Guinée Conakry | N'Gamokorô | Authenticite 73: Parade Africaine | Syliphone | 1973
Super Biton De Ségou | Mali | Ladilikan | Afro.Jazz.Folk Collection Vol. 2 | Mieruba | 2023-197x
Eparapo | England UK-Nigeria | From London To Lagos (feat Dele Sosimi) | Take To The Streets | Wah Wah 45s | 2023
Alpacas Collective | Belgium | Big Words | Big Words | Catalpas | 2023
London Afrobeat Collective | England UK-Italy-France-RD Congo-Argentina-New Zealand | Topesa Esengo Na Motema | Topesa Esengo Na Motema - Single | Canopy | 2023
Les Frères Smith | France | Doucement | Mukambo Presents Global Afrobeat Movement Vol. 4 | NYP | 2023-2011
The Blassics | Finland | Afrocookie | Sounding Times | Odd Funk | 2023-2020

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