Review: Vusi Mahlasela - Say Africa
|Date of Release:||2012|
|Country of Release:||SA/UK|
|Genre/s:||World | South Africa|
|Sub-Genre/s:||Folk, Singer-Songwriter, Contemporary|
|Date of Review:||2012/11/05|
South Africa's legendary folk singer/singer-songwriter Vusi Mahlasela's Say Africa saw its UK release in early 2012 on the Wrasse Records label, although elsewhere it may have been released a year earlier.
Beautifully produced by blues/R&B legend Taj Mahal, who also features on lead vocals and banjo on In Anyway and on acoustic slide guitar and backing vocals on Conjecture Of The Hour, Say Africa is an album with a message - hope. Hope, for a troubled post-Apartheid South Africa, and hope for the whole of the troubled continent of Africa. And maybe, by extension, this whole troubled planet of ours.
Also featured are the lead vocals of Angelique Kidjo on Nakupenda Africa. In addition to the core band of Vusi Mahlasela, lead vocals, acoustic guitar; Ian Herman, drums, percussion; Bakithi Kumalo, bass guitar, backing vocals; Mongezi Chris Ntaka, lead rhythm guitar, backing vocals; and J.B. Ntuli, lead vocals on Umalume, there are also a host of additional musicians gracing Say Africa. Nonetheless, the album manages to maintain a certain intimacy throughout.
Mahlasela is a highly charismatic singer, with an equally charismatic and powerful voice to match. And Say Africa is his strongest album yet - one wouldn't go too far in calling it perfection. Songs of hope, freedom, revolution, of love and life. He makes one desperately want to believe his massage of hope. In spite of, perhaps, knowing better... Mandela was a beautiful idea that sadly never worked yet, a beautiful message that never got acted upon yet.
Nonetheless, Say Africa is undoubtedly one of the very finest and most beautiful folk/singer-songwriter albums of recent years. If this album does not touch and move you deeply, there is no hope for you, and maybe no hope for this world.
It would be something of an insult to speak of consistency in the context of an album such as this, that is simply perfection all round. Furthermore, it is not merely compelling - rather, Say Africa is just totally mesmerising with its magic that just will not let you go. It is an album one could happily listen to all day, full of charm and beauty, and above all perhaps, deep and sincere feeling.
Vusi Mahlasela's Say Africa is more than a must have for any aficionado of modern folk and singer-songwriter, as well as for the general world music lover. It's a thriller that you just won't want to be without again.
1. Say Africa - 5:00
Credits:Vusi Mahlasela - lead vocals, acoustic guitar
Ian Herman - drums, percussion
Bakithi Kumalo - bass guitar, backing vocals (4, 6, 7, 9)
Mongezi Chris Ntaka - lead rhythm guitar, backing vocals (6, 7, 9)
Taj Mahal - lead vocals & banjo (7), acoustic slide guitar (4), backing vocals (4)
Angelique Kidjo - lead vocals (10)
J.B. Ntuli - lead vocals (5)
Faith Kekana, Zamo Mbutho, Mandisa Dlanga - backing vocals (1, 5, 6, 9, 11)
Ann Marie Calhoun - violin (2)
Afrika Mkhise - piano (5, 6, 8)
George Manxola - lead guitar (5, 6, 8, 11, 13)
Frans Senoa - trumpet (5, 8, 11)
Johannes Tani Mello - synthesizer (13)
Abbey Cindi - flute (3, 12)
Nthabiseng Madiseng - backing vocals (3)
Tony Cidras - accordion (6, 9)
Moses Mafiri - acoustic guitar (8)
Khomanani Community Choir of Mamelody - choir (14)
France Shaku - poem (11)
Thabang Tabane - African drums & percussion (12, 13)
Balla Kouyate - balafon (1)
Say Africa can be purchased from:
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