Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Lucky Dube - Umadakeni (1987)

I was fortunate to see Lucky Dube perform in San Francisco's small Kennel Club during his first tour of the U.S., in the late 80s. It was an unforgettable show, hours of sweaty dancing to an infectious mix of reggae rhythms and swirling township keyboards. Dressed in olive fatigues, Dube out-danced everyone.

His tragic death in October 2007 hit me profoundly, following by a couple months the similarly sudden death of my life partner, who danced with me at that long-ago gig. But I digress. . .

Before Lucky Dube stepped into reggae to become an international superstar, he performed the more mainstream mbaqanga that dominated South African pop. Today I offer his last mbaqanga record, a not-perfect pressing made in Zimbabwe that still sounds pretty good, especially the fantastic title track. This recording was re-released as a CD in South Africa, and still may be available there.