Say Africa - Vusi Mahlasela
In Africa, where the oral tradition is still a favored method of disseminating the news, culture and art, calling someone ‘The Voice’ speaks volumes. Vusi Mahlasela has earned the moniker along with the love and respect of a nation. Raised in the Mamelodi Township near Pretoria, which he still calls home, his singular voice has rang true with hope and promise through the demolition of apartheid and the dawn of new civility in South Africa. Vusi believes he was singing before he even learned how to talk. Blessed with an enormous vocal range that has enabled him to sing soprano into adulthood, his sound is like Ladysmith Black Mambazo distilled into one voice. For 2011, Malhasela offers another gorgeous album of poetry and melody called ‘Say Africa’. Recorded at Dave Matthews’ studio in Charlottesville, Virginia, Say Africa benefits from production and collaboration with another beloved veteran of acoustic roots, Taj Mahal. The arrangement is stripped down without being mundane. It lets the charm of Vusi’s guitar work to shine through acoustic, slide and electric varieties, while Taj Mahal adds sweetening vocals and banjo. Angelique Kidjo, another of Africa’s adored voices and fellow humanitarian joins with Vusi on Nakupenda Africa, a duet they performed live together at the kick off concert for the World Cup. Standouts include the Dylanesque ‘Conjecture Of The Hour’ and the spiritual flight of ‘Korodi’.