Friday, September 30, 2011
Zulu Jive Umbaqanga (1983)
What I appreciate in this collection is the selection of groups exhibiting four distinct styles. The album opens with classic Zulu guitar mbaqanga from Aaron Mbambo, with a lovely female chorus; he adds screechy fiddle on his second cut. Is that Noise Khanyile? Joshua Sithole, perhaps the best known of the artists on this label, pairs his guitar with the swirling township organ that was such a feature of Lucky Dube's reggae. The four cuts from Sithole are a world apart from his soul workout presented recently on ElectricJive. The Rainbows play accelerated guitar and accordion instrumentals, while Shoba pairs Zulu guitar with penny whistle, squeezebox and singing.
Unfortunately little information is available on the records; there is no detailed band info, no indication of where the tracks were recorded or when, not even the name of a compiler or producer. We just have to thank them all, the musicians especially, for this fine listen.