Mahala - Uthando

Year of Release: 2005
Label: Bantu Entertainment Network
Catalog Number:
Format: CD
Total Time: 10:52:00

You're going to love this stuff - or you're simply not going to get it. Let me explain:

"Township Jive" is the label given to a very distinct style of music that derived from the streets of the South African townships back in the '50s. Over the years it has developed into a mature - if very regional - genre, and it's very rare that any of its practitioners venture into the wide world of international music. If you don't already know this style, there are almost no similar, well-known artists to compare it with. There are common elements with compatriots Ladysmith Black Mambazo, and with Johnny Clegg and Savuka - but even those comparisons are a stretch. This music is gentle, upbeat and lively. There's a rollicking jazzy beat to it, and it's often defined by an unusual, gentle guitar style played quickly, in the upper registers. It is mostly instrumental, and you could consider the singing to be an accompaniment to the vibe produced by this music. You won't understand some of the vocals anyway as many of them are sung in Zulu. I was raised in Zululand (now called Kwa-Zulu) but I'll be darned if any of the 20-or-so words I remember appeared in any of the songs.

Mahala comprises two people: Guitarist Mongezi (Chris) Ntaka was born and raised in South Africa's black townships and his past credits include playing lead guitar for reggae musician Lucky Dube. He now lives in Maryland, and manages Mahala from a Washington, DC office. Eric Schwartz is an American accordion, kalimba and keyboard player who was attracted to the eclectic upbeat sounds Mahala was producing, and became a full band member.

This 3-song 11-minute EP is a wonderful vignette of the sounds that have dominated a culture of over forty million for many decades. You could call it progressive funky afro-jazz, you could call it world music, or you could call even it ethnic folk. Either way - you cannot call yourself an informed music aficionado if you don't get hold of Uthando.

Uthando / Pang'ono Pang'ono / Kwela Jive

Mongezi 'Chris' Ntaka - guitars
Eric Schwartz - accordion, kalimba, keyboards

Guest artist:

Masauko Chipembere

Uthando (2005)

Genre: Other

Origin ZA

Added: February 12th 2006
Reviewer: Duncan N Glenday
Artist website:
Hits: 877
Language: english


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