Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
The king of Zulu guitar!
thesnappyrejoinder | 04/11/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Take a veteran Zulu guitarist, add a widely travelled Brazilian percussionist, then throw in a selection of excellent singers and players and you get this album. Kon'ko man translates as the Strong Man, and in my opinion this is the strongest album to come out of South Africa for some time. Madala has built upon his Zulu musical background, embracing new styles to create a rhythmic masterpiece. It's an intense African musical journey with the added dimension of Airto Moreira's virtuoso percussion playing. Moreira has collaborated with a wide variety of artists over the years (Ron Carter, Milton Nascimento, Herbie Hancock to name but a few) and his presence here certainly adds a lot to this album which he also co-produces. The vocals are joyous, mysterious, funny, ancestral and provided by the likes of Busi Mhlongo (her debut CD release Babhemu is also worth checking out), the choir Shades, as well as Madala himself and another unnamed choir. The album is primarily acoustic with occasional electric guitar and bass adding to the diverse mixture of sounds (you can hear all sorts of things being beaten, shaken, strummed and blown), which makes for an awesome sound. The music is constructed from repetitive rhythms and phrases with layer upon layer of percussion that grabs you and rocks you to the foundation, the high points of the album being Company, Kon'ko Man, Sani Bonani, Khono Thwele and Washa. Having travelled, lived and worked in Africa, I thought I'd heard all there was to hear as far as African music was concerned. I only saw Madala perform live on one occasion, and although I missed part of the set, what I did hear was enough to seek out this release. This is a great representation of Madala's talent and his unique guitar style translates extremely well to CD. I can't recommend it highly enough."