South Africa's royalty: long live the Queens!Reign and Shine
The Mahotella Queens Mahotella Queens (mä'hətĕl`ə), South African vocal group formed in 1964 by songwriter Robert Bopape. One of the most popular dance bands in South Africa, they often perform with the support of other established singers (including
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There are few pop groups that are able to trace their history back over more than four decades, but the mighty Mahotella Queens can do just that. They began recording in their own right for legendary South African Gallo Records in 1964 accompanying their longstanding musical partner, Simon 'Mahlathini' Nkabinde (a.k.a. the 'Lion of Soweto'). Even before this date, the Mahotella Queens' members were individually renowned studio singers who featured on the backing tracks for a galaxy of Gallo artists.
Instrumental to getting the Mahotella Queens together in the first place was the songwriter and producer Rupert Bopape. He had heard 23-year old Hilda Tloubatla Hilda Semola Tloubatla (1942 - ) is a South African mbaqanga singer, and the lead singer of the acclaimed choral group the Mahotella Queens. Tloubatla was born in Payneville, Springs in South Africa before moving to kwaThema township in 1951 as a result of (what was) the singing on South Africa's state radio station SABC SABC South African Broadcasting Corporation and he introduced her to the other two core 'Queens', Nobesuthu Shawe Mbadu and Mildred Man-gxola, as well as to Mahlathini and the Makgona Tsohle Band The Makgona Tsohle Band was a South African instrumental band that is noted for creating the mbaqanga music style. The group was formed in 1963 at Mavuthela (the black music division of Gallo Record Company), and became the Mavuthela house band. , a Mbaqanga Mbaqanga is a style of South African music with rural Zulu roots that continues to influence musicians worldwide today. The style was originated in the early 1960s. History
Historically, mbaqanga musicians received little money. instrumental band.
Mbaqanga fuses marabi (South Africa's homegrown jazz style) with gospel, traditional music drawn from Zulu, Sotho, Shangaan and Xhosa roots as well as R & B influences, and it is a style that they made their own. Together, Mahlathini along with the Mahotella Queens and the Makgona Tsohle Band recorded hits throughout the 1960's on Gallo's Motella label. But before the end of the decade the group had split up as the Mahotella Queens took almost eight years off from the music business to marry and start families.
They reformed in 1975, but it would take another decade before they would reunite with their former lead male singer Mahlathini and the band. But they picked up in 1985 from where they left off, creating more of their hallmark exuberant Mbaqanga music. The Mahotella Queens even released their first album without Mahlathini revealingly entitled Marriage is a Problem!
By this time Mbaqanga music was attracting international attention, most notably from a certain Paul Simon Noun 1. Paul Simon - United States singer and songwriter (born in 1942)
Simon , previously best known as one half of a US folk-singing duo, Simon and Gar-funkel. The story goes that Simon had been given a pirate cassette tape of various township music styles and, greatly impressed by what he had heard, decided to travel to South Africa South Africa, Afrikaans Suid-Afrika, officially Republic of South Africa, republic (2005 est. pop. 44,344,000), 471,442 sq mi (1,221,037 sq km), S Africa. to track down the musicians and record his own material with them. The recording of the 1986 Graceland album and subsequent tours meant that South African music African music, the music of the indigenous peoples of Africa. Sub-Saharan African music has as its distinguishing feature a rhythmic complexity common to no other region. received a lot of international attention.
But the recording of the Graceland album was highly controversial. On the face of it, it broke the African National Congress' call for a cultural boycott, one of a number of boycotts designed to isolate the increasingly repressive and brutal apartheid regime. Simon always claimed that he was unaware of the boycott; and to the project's credit, the furore over the album and its international success meant that the very issue of the cultural boycott was suddenly given global attention--adding to the growing awareness in the US and elsewhere of the struggle against apartheid itself.
This new global recognition led to Mahlathini and the Mahotella Queens Mahlathini and the Mahotella Queens (also known as Mahlathini Nezintombi Zomgqashiyo - Mahlathini and the Girls of Mgqashiyo) was a South African mbaqanga supergroup comprised of:
Some months later they made a decision to return to performing and recording, in the hope--they told the world--of keeping Mahlathini's spirit alive. Their 2001 smash hit album Sebai-Bai was movingly dedicated to Mahlathini and the old Makgona Tsohle Bandand.
Reign & Shine, was released last year in South Africa, but now receives its international debut on the Wrasse label. It is an album that, with sparse instrumentation, centres on the Mahotella Queen's voices and includes songs such as Amazemul, warning of thieves taking precious items; Saphel Isizwe that demands a cure for HIV/Aids; and Muntu Wesilisa that denounces the raping of children by men with HIV/Aids. There are also fresh recordings of classics such as Dilika Town Hall, Thandanani and the South African national anthem Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika "Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika" ("God Bless Africa" in the Xhosa language) is a hymn composed in 1897 by Enoch Sontonga, a teacher at a Methodist mission school in Johannesburg, South Africa. .