Mention South African vocal music and people tend to imagine the Zulu harmonies of Ladysmith Black Mambazo. Tinyela mine different territory, being very much a choir (the African Works Choir, in fact), more in the Western mold, but singing with percussion. The melodies are very African, and the harmonies are something that singers from other countries likely couldn't produce, as with the deep sonorities of "Amadoda" or the voices imitating animals on "Iqula" (which means "The Waterhole at Night"). There's real beauty here, and plenty of thought. Everything works just as it should, the blend of voices exquisite and the percussion adding to the sound rather than taking it over. On "Phakamisa" the two come together, a track that's purely vocal percussion. With plenty of invention in the arrangements of every track, there's a great deal of joy throughout. There's plenty to love here, whether as deep listening or simply as background, and it's certainly an impressive offering.
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AllMusic Review by Chris Nickson