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Hello Afrika - Various

2010-06-11 08:47
Hello Afrika
Right now, cheese has its uses. Even Vusi Mahlasela’s terribly awkward opening track "When you come back 2010" nearly overcomes its cringe-makingly trite verses with a singable chorus. And though every second song is overly pro-African, overly collaborative, and overly rah rah rah… it rings pretty true on the eve of the 2010 world trap. Because right now, we are feeling it, like it or not.

On this 26-track, 2010 World Cup-themed compilation, there’s joy and enthusiasm and unity of purpose, even if that purpose appears to be to close the gap between Huisgenoot Musiekplaas and the most afro-pop insta-mix you can buy at the train stations.

But it's still disposable, like that uncomfortable SA-Flag hat you bought when you started feeling like the odd one out a week ago - which is sad. This CD features some of the world’s best musicians, playing some of the world’s worst music. But there’s also the odd moment of magic, and more than five tracks you’ll salvage for the future.

TkZee vs Goldfish are nice on "We Are Ready", and Brothers of Peace do magic with vuvuzelas on "Zinbi 'Ndaba". Every beer-blooded South African should learn "Umqombothi" (revived here by Khethi) even if they can't reach the low notes or click mind their q's, and "Zouglou Dance" is awesomely, cutely LCD.

By contrast, Parlotones do their formulaic worst on "Come back as heroes", a track not even good enough to be an advertising jingle. And I'm not sure what Arno's ridiculous slowed-up version of "Feel it" is doing on this compilation either.

Finishing up, Tumi and Just Jinjer's awesome "Time of your life" in a funky remix, proves that songs written from the heart, instead of manufactured for the team, the money, the chicken dollars, or the moment in history, will always win the musical game.

A CD like this has unlimited potential to be cheesy – a potential it fulfils. But does Rah Rah Waka Waka patriotism really belong in music?
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