Brenda / Brenda Fassie

Greatest Hits

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Brenda Fassie's best-known song is the Afro-pop R&B crossover "Weekend Special," which introduced her strong voice and polished productions to the world outside of her South African home. It wasn't an overnight success, though. "Weekend Special" was recorded in 1983 and slowly gained momentum until it finally snuck into the Billboard charts in 1986, opening doors to world tours and a seat among the elite of Afro-pop. Along with other tracks from her original rise to Afro-pop fame like "No No No Senor" and "Higher & Higher," "Weekend Special" was almost indistinguishable from other pop-soul of the era, much more Whitney Houston than Miriam Makeba. The highlights of this greatest-hits collection, and Fassie's career as a whole, are the high-tech kwaito fusions of South African vocals with studio-crisp worldbeat bump heard on '90s comeback tracks like "Vul'indlela," "Nomakanjani," and "Thola Madlozi." Here was a singer, matured by her previous ride on the pop music roller coaster as well as her well-publicized hardships, who bounced back with music bursting with a warmth and vitality both traditional and modern. A balanced collection that provides ample evidence of why Brenda Fassie was called the Queen of African Pop.

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