22 February 2011

The Voice, Now with Instruments!

True, Vusi Mahlasela -- known as "The Voice" of South Africa -- hasn't relied exclusively on his stunning voice in his rise to international world-music stardom. Even his USA debut album The Voice included what he calls an "army of musicians" in support of his own stellar guitar playing. Still, songs such as "Fountain" and "Red Song" lean heavily on his amazing vocal instrument.

The voice of this amazing poet-activist is featured plenty on the new album, of course, but he also shares vocal duties with the likes of Taj Mahal (who also produced the USA-recorded album) and Angelique Kidjo. Amid the current revolutionary upheaval in North Africa, Mahlasela holds fast to his conviction that music can be a positive force for change, just as it was in the peaceful political transition in South Africa. "Musicians have to be like watchdogs," he says on his website, "just by seeing and speaking out, directly to the youth as well, because we need some kind of cultural revolution to remove ignorance."

Vusi is currently on tour, and plays Feb. 22 at SOB's in New York. Here's the title track from the new album.

[mp3] Vusi Mahlasela: Say Africa
from the album Say Africa

And here's Vusi sitting in with Dave Matthews last November.


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