Today’s post returns to the maskanda sound that we spotlighted late last year, but here we present a 1980s recording by one of the genre’s successful artists.
Nganeziyamfisa No Khamba Lomvaleliso was one of the more popular “Zulu traditional” groups of 1980s South Africa. Unfortunately – as with so many artists who specialise in maskanda music – there is little to no information about the group, and particular details remains scant indeed, even though the band was still seemingly active in the 1990s and well into the 2000s. (Their most recent album Lelo Gazi was released in 2007.) The only information to be gleaned is from the band name – Nganeziyamfisa and Khamba Lomvaleliso are, obviously enough, the two primary (male) members of the group.
The 1984 album Laduma is a nice representation of N.N.K.L.’s sound. Electric Jive’s copy of the album is from an original cassette, but thankfully the tape is in excellent condition and required very little cleaning up. The title track begins with a meticulous concertina introduction, before the other instruments gradually enter the song to create a lovely atmospheric melody. The busy acoustic guitar fiddles around the melody, alongside the plucked electric bass and determined trap set. The concertina remains calm and unremitting. The laidback lead vocalist appears on all ten tracks, often in conjunction with the harmonies of male backing singers. The vocals that can be found on tracks such as “Lwangena Udidi” and “Phendukani Nonke” put me in mind of traditional Zulu war singing. The chanting that appears intermittently also helps to create that feel.
There is not a lot in terms of musical variety on the cassette, but the continuous recurring sounds are quite relaxing and are perhaps perfect to play on a warm summer’s day. Most of the tracks (with the exception of the first and the last) begin with the same familiar guitar introduction. Perhaps this is a particular cadenza for the group, part of the identity of the band’s sound – much in the same way that isicathamiya groups end almost all their songs with the same familiar “tag line”. I would point here to the songs of Ladysmith Black Mambazo, who utilise several of these “tag lines” but the most familiar to listeners would be: “Hhayi… he… kumnandi kwela kith’ eMnambithi” (It's nice to come from Mnambithi).
Lovely maskanda from Nganeziyamfisa No Khamba Lomvaleliso… enjoy!
LADUMA (Nganeziyamfisa No Khamba Lomvaleliso)
Teal Sound IAC 4032
2. WONGI LINDA
3. NGAFA INKUMBULO
5. NAMI ANGIZENZANGA
6. LWANGENA UDIDI
8. NHLIZIYO YAMI
9. PHENDUKANI NONKE
10. ISILILO IZWELONKE