Monday, October 15, 2007

Something hot from Lebo Mathosa

When I visited Johannesburg in 2000, I got turned on to South African music in a big way.

A young brother drove me and David Simon out to Sun City for a gambling excursion. And what came out of his car stereo sounded like London club music. That’s when I learned South Africans love house music.

The groove of the streets is called “kwaito,” and it doesn’t sound like American hip-hop, it pumps like house.

But there’s a lot of variety in South African dance music. There is hip-hop and R&B and disco and African reggae and teched-up versions of traditional styles like mbaqanga.

I’m into all of it.

One group I liked was Boom Shaka, which had a slick disco/R&B sound. One of the group’s lead singers, Lebo Mathosa, went solo and became a pop diva... “South Africa’s Madonna.”

She died a year ago in a car accident. She was 29.

Let me share a little Lebo with you. The video below is “Awudede/2 Dangerous.” It’s hot.

Audio-wise, I’m streaming a track from Lebo’s debut solo album, “Dream” (2000). Click here to hear “Lord.”


jena6 said...

Oct. 23rd will make it one year. I first heard of her by way of African music blog Benn loxo. She had just passed away.

UBM, speaking of "kwaito", have you seen the movie Tsotsi?

Undercover Black Man said...

I did see "Tsotsi" and liked it, Jena6. I don't remember the music being a big part of it though.

I'll tell you what somebody ought to do... like HBO or Showtime... and that's pick up the South African TV series "Yizo-Yizo," set in a township high school. On top of the drama, lots of smokin' kwaito tracks.

jena6 said...

Whoops! I've got "Tsotsi" on my mind. I was thinking about "Gaz'lam" a 26-part educational series. It's supposed to have a hot kwaito soundtrack. Zola's on it, so is Unathi, among others.

There's a show on The CW called "Life Is Wild" that's set in SA. Not sure if there's a lot of emphasis on culture (though the title of last night's episode was called "Ubuntu"--I LOVE that word!) or "smokin' kwaito tracks."

Blaark said...

Funny, I was listening to The Indestructible Beat of Soweto this morning while the coffee brewed and beyond... Do either of you have any hot tips on contemporary groups that may stick closer to the old 80's pop sounds instead of house/dance styles?

And if you haven't you outta check out either of the Ghana Sounds: Afro-Beat, Funk and Fusion in 70's Ghana compilations that Soundwave put out a couple years back... If it doesn't make your head explode then you must've been raised on quiet storm radio...

jena6 said...

Last year I heard a Natural Self remix of "Olufeme" and just had to have it. Searching high and low, I came across the Ghana Soundz comps. The original version of "Olufeme" by Oscar Sulley & the Uhuru Dance Band appears on Vol. 2. I love both versions!

Personally, I don't know enough about the music to offer "hot tips." But, there's and the Benn loxo blog (link) mentioned above.

If you like afrobeat, Antibalas is a contemporary band that kicks old school.

Comb & Razor said...

i would be so happy if Showtime (only because i just can't see HBO doing it) picked up "Yizo Yizo"... i've been trying to catch that show for years, but the DVDs are just absurdly expensive (and i think they've only released season 2 on disc anyway).

kwaito, though? enh... i really tried to get into a few years ago, but i just couldn't get with it. i respect that they've got their thing going, though.

Blaark said...

Jena6-- Thanks for what I think are pretty hot tips... The Benn Loxo blog in particular looks like it's going to interfere with my job over the course of the next week if not longer...

The Pop View said...

Earlier this year, I saw an interesting documentary on the underground hip-hop scene of South Africa (reviewed here). SA also has the thugs-and-bling rappers, but these were the more conscious types. There are links in that post about Godessa, a female trio from Cape Town.

Undercover Black Man said...

Thanks for the heads-up, Pop View.

I love that festival.