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Mango Groove - Live in Concert

2011-05-20 08:17
I remember once saying to Claire Johnston that I didn't believe that the value of music lay in how many sales you notched up. She knowingly smiled and said nothing, and I hope she took what I said to mean: That it doesn't matter if you're always on the top of the charts – if your music is honest and good-spirited, it will mean more to people and they'll treasure it for their whole lives.

Not that Mango Groove are strangers to chart-topping – they've had close on a dozen South African number one hits. And yet when I think about Mango Groove's legacy, it seems like the whole equals a lot more than the sum of its parts, so to speak.

For example, there's often a debate in the music industry about whether or not we can ever define a South African Music. It's a hotly-debated topic, but it's also one that overcomplicates a simple truth; that South African music is what it is – music made by South Africans in a spirit that reflects the (ideal) South African character, regardless of genre or style, or whatever.

Is there any better example of this than the music made by Mango Groove over the last – what is it – 25 years or so? Watching this band perform its specially-staged concert intended for DVD, it's very hard to imagine how anyone could dispute this to be a purely South African music – love it or hate it.

DVD EXTRA: Everyone's Dancing

Of course, there may be elements that won't work for everyone – I still don't fully get the iconic dancing schoolgirls so evident in all South African depictions – but that's just me. I tend to notice that the band slices through their catalogue like a seasoned professional unit, but with a specific acknowledgement of their audience's attachment and participation in their songs. And they really do seem to have fun and love what they do!

Special Stars

Mango Groove emerged from an era of deep divide and unrest in this country (John Leyden started the band in 1984 with Andy Craggs and Aaron Lerole), yet musically they managed to remain almost ethereally detached from the political and social anxieties that surrounded them. As a band they've produced a whole bag of good pop songs – and a few absolutely brilliant ones, too.

The band is as much loved by white South Africans as by black South Africans (and yes, all South Africans in between, as is evident in the shots of the crowd) – can you imagine ANY South African not recognising the opening strains of "Special Star"?

So it is fitting that this DVD is essentially a Greatest Hits effort, packaging the band's singles and hits in one epic performance (110 minutes). It is also a much-needed document of how music of one era remains critically important as a national treasure.

And so, to finish what I might have said to Claire Johnston: Mango Groove's legacy is that though we live in a country where we are very aware of how flawed things are, this music reflects the people of our country as they should be – celebratory, joyous, and above all, together.

Track 1 - Shoo Roop        
Track 2 - Hometalk        
Track 3 - Move Up        
Track 4 - Love Is        
Track 5 - This Is Not A Party        
Track 6 - Marabi Party        
Track 7 - Moments Away        
Track 8 - Pretty        
Track 9 - Hey!        
Track 10 - My Blue Ocea        
Track 11 - Bang The Drum        
Track 12 - Penny Whistle        
Track 13 - Another Country        
Track 14 - Mbube / The Lion Sleeps Tonight        
Track 15 - Hellfire        
Track 16 - Dance Some More        
Track 17 - Everyone's Dancing        
Track 18 - Special Star        
Track 19 - Nice To See You        
Track 20 - Bang The Drum EPK        
Track 21 - This Is Not A Party - Video        
Track 22 - Belong        
Track 23 - Everyone's Dancing        
Track 24 - Give It (All Day, All Night) - Video

Although we live in a country where we are very aware of how flawed things are, this music reflects the people of our country as they should be.
Read more on:    review  |  music

galamatias 2011-05-27 01:31 PM
Cool, the original Freshlyground! My madien aunt can't wait - they're so challenging and NOW! And Special Star - the most dedicated song in history: I bet one day Mandela and Nkosi Johnson and all the millions who had it dedicated to them at charity concerts will argue who got it mentioned with their name first!Eat a mango.

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