Vusa Mkhaya: Vocalism (Arc)

 |   |  <1 min read

Vusa Mkhaya: Diaspora
Vusa Mkhaya: Vocalism (Arc)

The recent Paul Simon concerts and reissue of Graceland doubtless reminded many of the vocal power of the great South African ensemble Ladysmith Black Mambazo who were on that album and Simon's subsequent tours.

If you yearn for an artist who can hit the middle ground between Mambazo, genius juju guitarist King Sunny Ade and a kind of fine-grain sandpaper soul style, then Vusa Mkhaya from Zimbabwe is your man - and you gotta love guitarists called Handsome Mabhiza and Ramadu who lay down the often shimmering and soft substructure on which these vocals (not solely by Mkhaya) sit.

Here are a wedding song (sung in a slightly yearing, female pop style by Nomathamsanqa Mkhwananzi who soars like a bullet fired into the clouds on Khetha Eyakho), old school African soul balladry (a sinner asking for forgiveness on S'Thethelela), gospel (Ukukhala/Mourning) and, improbably, a polyphonic yodel song from Austria here given an almost holy treatment (Schweinsbeuschel).

Mkhaya draws from very diverse source material (there's a Hungarian folk song here too which is woven in seamlessly) but the overall effect is of voices in harmony as they search for deeply felt expression.

Quietly wonderful and you suspect Mkhaya isn't going to trouble you with Don't Worry Be Happy.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   World Music articles index

1 GIANT LEAP'S DUNCAN BRIDGEMAN INTERVIEWED (2008): Into the great wide open

1 GIANT LEAP'S DUNCAN BRIDGEMAN INTERVIEWED (2008): Into the great wide open

A few drinks and late afternoon pre-dinner nibbles in an Auckland bar with London-based, world music-inclusive musician Duncan Bridgeman of 1 Giant Leap means a free ranging conversation: American... > Read more

Various Artists: Womad 2015 Australia and New Zealand Compilation (Cartell/Border)

Various Artists: Womad 2015 Australia and New Zealand Compilation (Cartell/Border)

Because Elsewhere has a long established reputation as the only New Zealand outlet/website which regularly addresses and interviews world music artists -- so is a Womad all year round while others... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Lucio's trenette al pesto (trenette with pesto sauce)

Lucio's trenette al pesto (trenette with pesto sauce)

What constitutes a great restaurant? Not just superb food . . . but the atmosphere, surely? Lucio's Italian in Sydney (see their website here) has won me every time on both counts (and... > Read more

National Lampoon: I'm A Woman (1975)

National Lampoon: I'm A Woman (1975)

Before they got into movies like Animal House and the Vacation series (with Chevy Chase), National Lampoon was a satirical magazine which also delivered a very funny sideline in records such as... > Read more