“Ujabulisa Abantu” by Izintombi Zesi Manje Manje - album review

features in: Album Chart of 1978Album Chart of the Decade: 1970s

TJR says

As clearly marked on the label itself, this is an album of two distinct halves, with side 1 being described as the “soul” side, and the flip being labelled the “Zulu Vocal Jive” side. The resonance with which each side hits me is almost a formality before I’ve heard a note, and so it proves to be; where the first half is fair-to-middling, the second is super-exciting. Interestingly, producer Hamilton Nzimande is credited with writing the entire “soul” side and the girls themselves – Lindiwe Mthembu, Ruth Mafuxwana, and Jane Dlamini – account for 5 of the 6 on the superior side. Best of these is the title-track which opens up the second side, Lindiwe Mthembu’s “Ujabulisa Abantu” (“Happy People”), which features some gritty, over-amped guitars, a trait which continues subtly on this tougher, and altogether better, half. Two fantastic late-album highlights are delivered with “Izindlela Ziyahlangana” (“Encounter”) which finds the girls sharing the vocals with a couple of males, a groaner and a singer, one of whom may well be the credited songwriter, Mabhawodi Ndlovu. Even better is Ruth Mafuxwana’s “Ekhaya Kulezontaba”, a call and response stomper which seems to be pining nostalgically for mountain homelands. If I haven’t got that right, well, no matter, the infectious jive is all you really need… (note: you can download this out-of-print LP for free from the ever-wonderful Electric Jive.)

The Jukebox Rebel

A1 [03:34] 6.9.png Izintombi Zesi Manje Manje - Babehlekisa Ngathi (Hamilton Nzimande) Africana
A2 [03:11] 6.4.png Izintombi Zesi Manje Manje - Kudala Bengitshela (Hamilton Nzimande) Africana
A3 [03:31] 6.2.png Izintombi Zesi Manje Manje - Ngixolele Mngani (Hamilton Nzimande) Africana
A4 [03:20] 6.3.png Izintombi Zesi Manje Manje - Sala Maradebe (Hamilton Nzimande) Africana
A5 [03:21] 5.9.png Izintombi Zesi Manje Manje - Bengisebenza Egoli (Hamilton Nzimande) Africana
A6 [03:35] 5.4.png Izintombi Zesi Manje Manje - Ngeke Siwakhe Lomuzi (Hamilton Nzimande) Africana
B1 [02:32] 9.2.png Izintombi Zesi Manje Manje - Ujabulisa Abantu (Lindiwe Mthembu) Africana
B2 [02:29] 7.2.png Izintombi Zesi Manje Manje - Ngixolele Baba (Lindiwe Mthembu) Africana
B3 [02:32] 7.5.png Izintombi Zesi Manje Manje - Emendweni Kuyashisa (Ruth Mafuxwana) Africana
B4 [02:49] 8.1.png Izintombi Zesi Manje Manje - Izindlela Ziyahlangana (Mabhawodi Ndlovu) Africana
B5 [02:34] 8.4.png Izintombi Zesi Manje Manje - Ekhaya Kulezontaba (Ruth Mafuxwana) Africana
B6 [02:42] 6.8.png Izintombi Zesi Manje Manje - Ningibulala Ngiphila (Jane Dlamini) Africana
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