18 January 2010

Monday's mp3: Groovy Old Soweto

various artists: Next Stop ... Soweto: Township sounds from the Golden Age of Mbaqanga (Strut)

Even under the thumb of apartheid, Soweto was blossoming as a hub for black culture and music in South Africa. Today one doesn't hear as much about the townships (particularly as the coming World Cup dominates news from the nation), but this musical legacy has spawned another compilation of energetic township jive.

Following in the footsteps of The Indestructible Beat of Soweto series (were they really released nearly a quarter century ago?), Next Stop ... Soweto includes the well-known Mahlathini and Mohatella Queens (on separate tracks) alongside 18 tracks from less well-known artists. Many of these songs appeared only on limited-distribution 45s made for the local market, so it's a boon that compilers Duncan Brooker and Francis Gooding have tracked them down for this compilation. You'll hear many influences in the varied tracks, including gospel, funk, traditional mining songs, and jazz. And always, that Soweto swing.

Following on the heels of releases of classic Nigerian and Ethiopian music, Strut has another winner that will entice African music fans everywhere.

Buy CD
Get another free song and hear more tracks at www.nextstopsoweto.com

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