Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Best Thing I Heard Today: Udokotela Shange Namajaha doing "Awungilobolele"

This band is truly a subject for further research. If you came here to learn more about this mysterious mbaqanga band, I'm afraid I cannot help you. As far as I can tell, Udokotela Shange Namajaha recorded two fantastic songs for the above South African comp and quit the biz. I'm sure that's not the case, but who knows otherwise? Not the Internet! Not WorldCat!

Anyway, the bassline in "Awungilobolele" (I think it's a wedding song about a poor musician who can't afford to pay for his wife--not unlike Springsteen's "Rosalita," only COMPLETELY DIFFERENT) is something else--just try to resist bobbing up and down, floppily, while listening to it. The moment at the beginning where the guitar finds its groove, and the bass and thump kick in, is irresistible. And I can tell you a little bit about mbaqanga! The dude singing lead is the groaner, and the female harmonizers are characteristic. (Emphasis on the word "little.") Anyway, enjoy the tune!


Joel Leyendecker said...

I am also a fan of these two powerful songs since I first heard them when the album came out. I have been trying to learn more about the various musicians playing on the album but could not find much.The album itself seems to be a compilation and it is likely that the artists recorded more than what is available there. For the sake of the history of World Music (and m'baqanga in particular), you should listen to french artist Lizzy Mercier Descloux who recorded an album in South Africa in 1984, before Paul Simon's Graceland. One of the songs even became a hit "Où sont passées les gazelles?"

Joel Leyendecker said...

Hey, I just found this on Youtube… check it out. Apparently,Udokotela Shange Namanja released an album in 1983.

Sobabamba - Udokotela Shange Namanja
Produced by Lucky Monama for Mavuthela Productions
Motella Label 1983


lewis hill said...

thanks for the youtube link, I also found a 30 min 'album' here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7T9JtUQBN-A

Joel Leyendecker said...

The album finally !! Thanks a lot !