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Busi Mhlongo – Yehlisan umoyo Azania

2010-06-21 08:23
Yehlisan'umoya Azania (in the mix)
Everyone, of all ages is invited to the celebrations. Busi has veered away from her maskanda sound, and in the spirit of it's title (have you forgotten the spirit of Africa?), a sweet mix of South African genres, and packed with pleas for a return to the Rainbow Nation ideals of our once-shiny and new democracy.

Many of the compositions date back a bit – you can tell because they're co-written by Busi and frequent collaborator Spektor Ngwazi, who passed away a few years ago. And most of them are from Busi's best album, the brilliant Urban Zulu. But Black Coffee also pitches in, as does dub alchemist the Kahahari Surfers, to write the fantastic final track and prove that African-ness is in our blood – not our skin.

Urban Zulu was urban in the downtown, humid, Durban way. It was huge overseas (did you know she topped the World Music charts for more than two months?) Much of it was later re-mixed – badly – on a Melt2000 cash-in collection that you can still easily pick up from record shop the bargain bins.

But Yehlisan Umoya Azania is slick, upbeat, and a keeper thanks to the vision of the cast of top house musicians including Black Coffee (SA), Frederic Galliano (France), DJ Zee (SA), and Kalahari Surfers (SA). "Oxamu" – translated on Yehlisan as "Crocodiles", was performed a cappella on Urban Zulu. Here it's mixed as an African dance anthem – by UK house stars Soothsayers – and somehow ends up sounding more youthful and humorous than traditional.

Busi's voice is still just as amazing as ever. Powerful! Scary! Like a hammer made of honey. This is house music that feels like home. It's the best party album of 2009, and 2010.

A dance party with a grandmother whose voice is as youthful as her spirit, and as wise as her years.

What to read next: Kalahari


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