Monday 29 October 2012

Mpharanyana and the Cannibals (1978)

Today we feature possibly one of the last albums that legendary soul singer, Jacob "Mpharanyana" Radebe recorded with the Cannibals before his untimely death in 1979. He would put out at least one more album with the Peddlers in 1979 (also on Gallo's Soul Jazz Pop label) which can be viewed here at Electric Jive.

The line up for the Cannibals on this LP includes Radebe on lead vocals, Sandra Senne, Johanna Tango and Catherine on backing vocals, Ray Phiri on lead guitar, Richard Shongwe on electric piano, Ephraim Hlophe on bass and Isaac Mtshali on drums. (Allingham)

After Radebe's death in 1979, the Cannibals continued to record and their album Get Funky can be viewed here at Electric Jive. Of course the Cannibals would soon dissolve and Phiri and Mtshali would go on to form another hugely successful group—Stimela—in 1982.

Produced by West Nkosi, the album opens with the title track, Nka Nako Ho Motseba, a Sesotho cover version of Percy Sledge's Take Time to know her; and also features some great soul-disco, including the hits Hlotse and Dihwapa as well as my favorite, Rosie.

Many of the songs also include Radebe's signature coughing. Initially an unintentional problem, as Max Mojapelo reveals in his book Beyond Memory, that caused taping to be stopped frequently during recording sessions, but one that evolved into a stylistic characterisitc after producer Nkosi decided to leave the tapes running.

The track Thakane was later included on Rob Allingham's seminal compilation—The History of Township Music—and in the liner notes to that disc Allingham maintains that Radebe "was arguably the greatest vocalist of the entire local soul-disco era and his impassioned style is wonderfully showcased by West Nkosi's sharp production techniques on 'Thakane'. The American-style harmonies of the female backing chorus, the walking bass lines and Ray Phiri's blazing, blues-inflected guitar licks all combine to produce an atmosphere entirely reminiscent of the landmark Stax label material of US soul legend Otis Redding. A year after this recording was made and at the height of his reknown, Mpharanyana fell ill and suddenly died. A few years later, a television dramatisation based on his life rekindled the public's interest and today Mpharanyana's story constitutes South Africa's most popular legend of musical talent and early demise." (Allingham)

Nka Nako Ho Motseba
Soul Jazz Pop
BL 142


  1. Beautiful sounds! Thanks a lot


  2. Oops link not working.

    You guys have the most amazing blog. Much much respect!

  3. Thanks for letting us know of the damaged link - hopefully Siemon can help with an alternate upload?


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