Brenda Fassie - Greatest hits - Greatest hits

2006-03-29 20:24

Like all top pop stars, Brenda Fassie was a public figure as well as an artist. Her success was regularly fuelled by scandals and controversy.

Stories of cocaine abuse, imprisonment for partying too openly, and quarrels with her lovers kept the tabloids busy. Conservative reactions to her open statement that she was a lesbian (in Africa, this is still not a widely accepted choice), by leaders of countries, and even her friends, frequently made headlines.

It's easy to see why she earned the nickname "The Madonna of South Africa", although to be fair to Brenda, she had a much better voice than Madonna could ever hope to synthesise in the studio.

Brenda's neighbourhood fame suddenly became worldwide fame at the age of 16 years with the release of the now dated, but then groundbreaking, afro-pop single, "Weekend Special". The single took the international charts by storm, and she never looked back. (Ok, she did, now and again, just to check whether or not the cops were following her.)

This Greatest Hits is a pop party album for Africa. Which means it's also about things that matter to us. The songs - most of which Fassie had a hand in writing - are upbeat, rousing, designed to make you dance. But as fun as they are to move to they're always about more than partying.

Whether it's a woman's right to say no ("No no no senor"), or motherhood ("Too late for Mama"), or heroes ("Zola Budd"), Brenda Fassie's always saying something, not just humming along to the same dumb tunes.

Musically, Brenda moves from a very 80s production, with gratuitous use of reverb, to more sophisticated stuff in collaboration with producer Cicco. The kwaito-flavoured dancefloor burner, "Amagents", or the pumping "Kuyozo Kuyovalwa", show Brenda knew how to change with the musical trends.

The queen of African pop left a serious musical legacy behind. She has also left hope for others. All proceeds from the sale of Greatest Hits go to the 46664 arm of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, to help improve the lives of those infected and affected by HIV and Aids. Of course, you should buy it mainly for the music - but caring never hurt, right?

- Jean Barker

Brenda Fassie has one of the most beautiful voices you'll ever hear, and a knack for writing catchy songs. Unlike a lot of the imported (and blonder) pop stars who adorn the covers of glossy magazines, she's famous for her talent. Well, mostly for her talent.

Thabi 2004/12/13 8:15 AM
All Always the best
Martha 2004/12/13 4:03 PM
Brenda 5
Thabo 2004/12/31 3:04 PM
She was the Bomb She was the Bomb
ronald 2005/03/03 10:48 PM
boipatong it is as if she was there and the pain of that day is visible in her voice. you can sort of feel the pain poor women and children have to go through. heartbreaking as it is one can't help but recognise the strength of brenda's vocal capabilities. hamba kahle Majoli Nokuzola "mabr" Fassie Papparazzi
ronald 2005/03/03 10:51 PM
sukumbulala i wish we could all have this love inside our hearts Mama
zanele 2005/03/04 9:43 AM
zola budd its such an exciting album zola budd
Joe 2005/03/04 2:58 PM
Musi Can't live without Music
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