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Issue 1084

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Review

Next Stop Soweto Vol. 4

Next Stop Soweto Vol.4

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UK release date 23.03.2015

This March, we return to the rich archives of South African music to spotlight the fertile era of the late â70s and early â80s with a new volume in the Next Stop Soweto series. Tightly controlled by oppressive Apartheid laws, South Africaâs music scene in the 70s and 80s nevertheless progressed into myriad new directions, embracing funk, soul, rock and disco.

Next Stop Soweto Vol. 4 is compiled by Duncan Brooker on CD, 2LP and digital formats with physical formats featuring sleeve notes by author Francis Gooding along with rare photos and sleeve artwork. Its emphasis is on the fertile era of the late 70's and early '80's a melting pot encompassing funk, soul, rock and disco.

The strident clavinet driven Afro rock track âUnga Pfula A Chi Pfaloâ from Kabasa, kicks off the new volume, setting up a nice midtempo groove, crunchy guitar and the top line sung in Zulu, it's all very potent stuff and sets the mood as the story of oppresion starts to unravel.

Elias Maluleke â Khombo Ranga has that distinctive groove that so inspired Paul Simon's "Graceland" and he was one of the prime movers in the movement. Another highlight is Almon Memela's "The Things We Do In Soweto", a tough beat and bassline reminiscent of the in sync "Inner City Blues" the beautiful out of tune sax giving us a clue to its African origins (think Fela when he played sax ). Suffice to say there is plenty of unearthed gems on offer here and it might be a good opportunity to check out the other 3 volumes Strut have released.

The eclectic Next Stop Soweto: Zulu Rock, Afro-Disco and Mbanqanga 1975-1985 covers 15 choice tracks from artists like Almon Memela, Marumo, Xoliso, the punky Actions, Kabasa, Margaret Singane and Saitana (my personal fave) among others. Apart from the historical perspective of this particularly well rounded archive, it is a testament to the very core and soul of the Soweto underground scene in music. Scratch the surface and hear the defiance in their vibrant sounds.
Words Emrys Baird

From Jazz Funk & Fusion To Acid Jazz

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