Various Artists

Planet Zulu

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South Africa has a long history of musical upheaval. The traditional a cappella songs and vibrant rhythms of the Zulu region became intertwined with western styles in the 1920s, creating a colorful hybrid of funk, R&B, and ancestral folk. Nascente's Planet Zulu is an excellent collection of maskanda, mqashiyo, mbube, and mbaquanga songs performed by the country's most accomplished artists. The slick production may deter some listeners, but the sunny harmonies of Ladysmith Black Mambazo and the rootsy grooves of the Soul Brothers and Mahlathini & the Mahotella Queens are timeless and serve as a great introduction to the accessible Zulu sound.

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