Various Artists

Soweto Never Sleeps

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This album from Shanachie showcases the greatest female jive artists of South Africa. What that really amounts to is a greatest-hits album for the Mahotella Queens. The jive styles were started by the Dark City Sisters in the '60s (with two songs presented on the album), and the torch was then passed on to the Mahotella collective (with Mahlathini, to the delight of many a listener). Other groups on the album (Irene & the Melodians, Mgababa Queens) are simply formed from former members of the Mahotella collective. Despite this seeming narrowness, the sounds are still worth hearing. The Mahotella Queens always provide a functional beat with their counterpoint sounds against Mahlathini in the Mgoashiyo sound (the "indestructible beat"). Still, for a better look into the jive genre, one would do better to look into other albums, even on the same label, such as the Indestructible Beat of Soweto series (three volumes) or a compilation of Mahlathini's work (which would include solo work as well as that with the queens).

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