Monday 28 April 2014

Intuthuko Brothers - Stars of Africa (1976)

As promised last week, today we feature the first in a series of posts on the Intuthuko Brothers. Also known as Abafana Bentuthuko, this distinctly mellow mbaqanga group was led by guitarist Hansford Mthembu and can often be heard backing Bra Sello Mmutung on a number of his LPs. The 1967 compilation album, Modern Sax Stars, featured here at Electric Jive includes Mthembu and his group as well as David Khanyile and Bra Sello.

The group that became the Intuthuko Brothers were formed around 1966 and were hugely popular in South Africa and toured extensively throughout the country and Swaziland in the mid 1970s.

Stars of Africa (1976) is dedicated to the group's first bassist Jackson Simelane Makwenta who unfortunately died in a car accident in 1975. Makwenta is also remembered by the inclusion of the first track, Mahlabathini Special No. 6, which he composed and arranged.

Intuthuko Brothers
Stars of Africa
KYL 2002

Monday 21 April 2014

Modern Sax Stars (1967)

I recently acquired a number of distinctly mellow mid-70s mbaqanga LPs by the Intuthuko Brothers and for today I had planned to post the earliest of those featuring Hansford Mthembu. But I came across a YouTube posting by alkis09 of Bra Sello with Abafana Bentuthuko where kayem11 had added a comment mentioning that Abafana Bentuthuko were also known as the Intuthuko Brothers. Of course I should have known... I recalled a 1967 CBS LP Modern Sax Stars featuring David Khanyile (Festus the Great), Bra Sello and Hansford Mthembu or (as the LP cover clearly notes) Abafana Bentuthuko.

Abafana Bentuthuko led by Hansford Mthembu were the backing band on a number of LPs for Bra Sello Mmutung. So for today's post I thought to focus on this earlier LP featuring the group, and cover their later 1970s material in future postings. You may be familiar with some of the tracks included here, 12-0-12 and Vala Nzimande were big hits for Bra Sello and Hansford Mthembu respectively, and are also featured on Nick Lotay's earlier post: Sax Jive Special. Bra Sello can also be heard here at EJ on Butterfly, and on the compilations DiscoSoulJive, and Pull Up! Sixties Jazz 78s.

David Khanyile (Festus the Great)
Bra Sello and his Band
Hansford Mthembu (Abafana Bentuthuko)
Modern Sax Stars
LAB 4002

Monday 7 April 2014

Nelcy Sedibe - Sengaliwe (1984)

Today we present a great LP from the Electric Jive archives. Sengaliwe, solo artist Nelcy Sedibe’s first album, was released in 1984 on the Soul Jazz Pop label.

From the liner notes on the back cover:

Nelcy Sedibe was born in 1957 at Barberton in the Eastern Transvaal. She did her primary schooling at Mganduzweni, from there to Masoyi Higher Primary to do Standard 5 and eventually went on to complete Form 2 at Mshadza High in 1977.

Nelcy started her singing career at the age of eight, singing for Sunday School. She also participated in school choirs. When she left school she went to work as a beautician. During those years she kept up her interest in music and joined a band called KAKAI. In 1980 Nelcy decided to go to Johannesburg to pursue her career in music. She had a strong belief in herself and was positive that she could break into the music world and become the best female vocalist in South Africa.

In Johannesburg she met Mr Mojapelo, Kori Moraba’s manager. He put her into Kori’s group as a vocalist. Together with Kori she toured the country gaining valuable experience performing in live shows, but she still wanted to be a solo singer and felt that this was not what she was looking for. Nelcy eventually met with producer West Nkosi who signed her to his record company. Co-incidentally, the group that backed Nelcy on her first recordings was KAKAI – and from here it was smooth sailing.

Back in her home town of Barberton, Nelcy rehearsed for almost a year before recording. During this time West Nkosi sent her a cassette to guide her in the style of music that she should be singing and recording. Nelcy began to feel that all her dreams were coming true. In April 1983, Nelcy received the news that she was to go to Johannesburg to record – she was delighted. She recorded a Maxi seven single which was aimed specifically at the Zulu Nation. She wrote her own music and lyrics for “KIKIZELANI” and West gave her some tunes like “SENGIZULA NEZWE”.

For Nelcy things have only just begun – and the sky is the limit.

Nelcy's song "Holotelani", the original Swazi-language version of "Kikizelani", was included on the groundbreaking 1985 compilation The Indestructible Beat of Soweto. The great singer has since passed on but her magical voice can still be heard through the numerous recordings she made - and this album is a real gem. Enjoy!

produced by West Nkosi
Soul Jazz Pop BL 470
Zulu Vocal