REVIEW: Vusi Mahlasela's Say Africa

< Back

Tuesday May 01, 2012

from The Guardian

Vusi Mahlasela: Say Africa ‘” Review
By Robin Denselow

Vusi Mahlasela is a singer-songwriter and acoustic guitarist with one of the most distinctive, soulful voices in South Africa, and an easygoing, melodic style that ought to ensure his global success. But it has never quite happened ‘” despite his celebrity back home ‘” so hopefully this album, produced by veteran bluesman Taj Mahal, will bring him a new audience. It was recorded in Virginia, but is dominated by a classy, acoustic treatment of township-influenced styles, with Mahlasela’s voice and guitar matched by a male chorus, accordion and violin on cheerfully rousing songs such as Woza or Vezubuhle. Elsewhere, he switches to a melodic pop ballad (with lyrics about “UN loans and passport controls”) on the title track, is helped by Taj Mahal’s slide guitar on Conjecture of the Hour, and by Taj’s banjo-playing and singing on In Anyway, which sounds like American folk-blues with an African edge. Best of all is Ntate Mandela, a praise song recorded with the community choir from the township where Mahlasela still lives. A charming, sophisticated set.

Read the full article here