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Siphokazi - Ndinovuyo

2009-01-16 16:25
 
Ndinovuyo (EMI, 2008)
 
Siphokazi's universal South African compositions blend maskandi elements, traditional Xhosa melodies and jazziness with her personal energy - a snappy, proud vibe that's hard to describe, but easy to raise your arms to.

This isn't the kind of cutesy African music that you'll see tourists filming in sandles and socks at Greenmarket Square, although thorough liner notes will help fill in the cultural dongas.

But Ndinovuyo, for all its energy and despite a few lovely tracks that smoothly push the boundaries between jazz and traditional ("Usizwi Lwam", the awesome title track and "Ayongcikingciki"), seems to largely have abandoned the playfully off-centre vocal subtlety of Ubuntu Bam and jumped onto the "world" market bandwagon. The result is an array of mostly co-written (or cover) tracks that seem to explain themselves instead of letting the music do the talking ( "Mama 4Life") or that sound soppy more than moving ("Ngiyohlala Ngikuthanda"). This may be the right move, commercially, but then the album's packaging should be up to international standards. And it's not - the liner notes need a thorough copy edit (it's guitar riffs, not "reefs") and the though the publicity cover shots used are pretty hot, the colour wash (or printing) makes Siphokazi's eyes' whites look brown.


Impressive collaborators include some top talent in songwriting and performance, and once again producer / maskandi guitarist Lawrence Matshiza, who manages to bring a slightly mixed bag of songs together, going a bit more heavy-handed on the maskandi sound this time round. It works, but not as well as his harder-to-box production on her debut.

Ndinovuyo is an essential collectors' item, but not a South African classic. So if you're just discovering Siphokazi's talents, Ubuntu Bam is the one to seek out.


Her piercing, grainy vocals set against gently rocking backing singers, perfectly paced beats, long phrases and the spiritual sense of joyful ubuntu still define the earlier tracks on this follow-up to 2006's quieter (and multi-award-winning) Ubuntu Bam.

What to read next: Kalahari

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(Comments may be edited or deleted at the Channel24 editors’ discretion)
Zuuuu 3/11/2009 7:22 PM
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Jean, I don't know anything about the guitar riffs, I wish I knew what you were talking about! My absolute favourites in the album are : Ingxubakaxaka, Unozala, Usemncane, Ayongcikingciki, Ikhaya lam and I never press skip on this album, all the tracks are worth listening to. She has very good back up singers, and her voice is too Marvellous for words! This is indeed an essential collectors item!
Nondumiso Wopula 3/20/2009 4:58 PM
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Siphokazi is a true African Woman and despite her sucess she is still a very humble, down to earth person. her music is inspirational and according to my perspective this album is also beautiful.
nonkcazelo 5/22/2009 3:10 PM
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Siphokazi you r a true xhosa,i like the fact that you are proud of who you r and where come from.People like you are very rare to find these days.I would just like to say that i am your biggest fun,and your music is so inspirational and real.thinks for keeping it real,well done keep up the good work.Oh! before i forget you sis it is so divine ilove it.
Thabani Dlodlo 7/19/2010 11:54 PM
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No question about the talent of this young, humble true Xhosa lady. Keep it up. However, please don't shy away from what you did on "Ubuntu Bam". Your 3rd album/CD should please be you. "Ndinovuyo" sounds to me that someone else pressurized you to do something else, different from what made a lot of us mad week in and week out listening to Ubuntu Bam". Make us proud Siphokazi on your next project.
Mulalo 10/15/2010 8:55 AM
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Hi Sipho, I like your music very much. you are a beautiful proudly south african lady by your style. keep up the good work.
THOKOZILE MOTAUNG 11/27/2010 2:27 PM
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Sipho i love you so much i love your music i always ply your music i have learn many things and axept life some of the things you say when you sing happened in my life i ador you so much,u are such an good inspiration in my life love you SANA!! KEEP IT UP.
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