06 March 2006

Monday's mp3: Kwaito! Oscar!

I don't think of the Academy Awards as a great promoter of world music and culture. But their selection last night of the South African film Tsotsi as Best Foreign Language Film is certain to gain attention for the soundtrack, which is dominated by kwaito. Sometimes called "South African Hip Hop," kwaito (the term translates as "anger") seems to run the gamut from cheezy knockoffs of western hip hop to amazing blends of modern beats with roots drumming and choral singing. Read a good background of kwaito here.

The Tsotsi soundtrack is dominated by South African artist Zola (not to be confused with barefoot South African runner Zola Budd). I haven't yet seen the film or heard the soundtrack (which also include tracks by Vusi Mahlasela), so until I do here is a track to whet your appetite for kwaito.

[mp3] Jimmy B: "Make Me Bounce"
From Kwaito: South African Hip Hop (Stern's / Earthworks)
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Anonymous said...

had the pleasure of seeing vusi at the kennedy center last week. definitely go see him if he's playing in your city. awesome vocals. was able to pick up an album of his as well as tsotsi soundtrack. your description is accurate - some songs sound standard american hip-hop or rap, but there's a nice variety to the album making it worth acquiring.

Anonymous said...

I should clarify my comment:
your description of kwaito seems accurate as the songs on the soundtrack definitely vary in the manner you described. but again, well worth it, especially with vusi tracks being an added bonus

Anonymous said...

thank you so much! i watched tsotsi last week, & from the opening scene was blown away by the awesome sounds. i've been trying to hunt down the soundtrack, but it's only on pre-order here in the UK - how annoying.

was also quite gratified it won best foreign film (although i wish a couple of other films had been nominated). the soundtrack contributes greatly to the film.