“Izibani Zomgqashiyo” by Mahotella Queens - album review

features in: Album Chart of 1977Album Chart of the Decade: 1970s

TJR says

We are the leading lights of mgqashiyo boasts the title, and there can be little argument after just one listen to this set; an insistent thumper that positively sparkles. There had been no new Mahotella Queens albums for a while, and in the meantime rivals Mahlathini and The Queens had stolen some initiative in the marketplace. Keen to fight back, in his liner notes, ace-guitarist Marks Mankwane states the case for the Mahotella brand, declaring his girls to be “the mistresses of Mgqashiyo” (an indestructible African beat which can never die) and “the best entertainers in Southern Africa”. The regal five for this one (although one is missing from the cover) are: Emily Zwane (Brakpan); Thandi Radebe (Dube, Soweto), Beatrice Ngcobo (Durban), Thandi Nkosi (Emdeni, Soweto) and Caroline Kapentar (Bloemfontein). Their male groaners are from the fast-growing Abafana Baseqhudeni group, including Robert ‘Mbazo’ Mkhize, Potatoes Mazambane and Joseph Mthimkhulu. The irresistible Makgona Tsohle Band (aka Makhona Zonke Band), led by Marks Mankwane, provide their trademark effervescent rhythm and roots which are as dynamic as ever.

The bouncy album opener “Zibuyile Nonyaka” (“Return Year”) proudly states that these girls are back and they mean business. It’s like they’ve never been away. The mix up of all sorts of male and female vocal tones will be a key feature of the set, and this is apparent from the off. The deep-voiced male, who I take to be Mbazo, is every bit the equal of the great Mahlathini. “Uthuli Lwezichwe” (“The Minors”) seems celebratory and oozes soul, not a bit diffused by the high energy danceable nature of the track. This is, in effect, gospel for the townships. “Demazana”, a classic written by Beatrice Ngcobo, drops the pace down to funky levels as the album veers brilliantly from one feeling to another, always joyously. “Ziyatshitshimba Izintombi” has so much going on vocally and harmoniously that it’s completely impossible not to carried away in the sheer brilliance of this whole sound. Exhilaration is the word I think I’m looking for. 11 years on from their debut LP and The Mahotella Queens are flying high. Mankwane’s liner notes conclude: “make no mistake it is superb”. If only all hyperbole was so accurate… (by the way, you really shouldn't miss this one at the Global Groove.)

The Jukebox Rebel

A1 [02:33] 10.0.png Mahotella Queens - Zibuyile Nonyaka (Marks Mankwane) Africana
A2 [02:50] 9.0.png Mahotella Queens - Yadilaka Intaba (?) Africana
A3 [03:01] 8.8.png Mahotella Queens - Asambe Mntakamama (?) Africana
A4 [02:39] 9.5.png Mahotella Queens - Uthuli Lwezichwe (Marks Mankwane) Africana
A5 [02:29] 8.8.png Mahotella Queens - Bekumnandi (?) Africana
A6 [02:27] 9.4.png Mahotella Queens - Demazana (Beatrice Ngcobo) Africana
B1 [02:45] 9.6.png Mahotella Queens - Ziyatshitshimba Izintombi (?) Africana
B2 [02:43] 8.4.png Mahotella Queens - Vuka Uzibuke (?) Africana
B3 [02:52] 8.6.png Mahotella Queens - Siqhamuka Kwazulu (?) Africana
B4 [02:35] 8.0.png Mahotella Queens - Xola Mama (?) Africana
B5 [02:50] 8.4.png Mahotella Queens - Ifa Lenkosana (?) Africana
B6 [02:45] 8.7.png Mahotella Queens - Asambeni Bafana (?) Africana
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