Dorothy Masuka

The Definitive Collection: The Grand Dame of African Music

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Dorothy Masuka began her singing career with Miriam Makeba, but never managed to achieve the same level of success -- indeed, outside South Africa she remains a largely unknown quantity, which is a shame. But perhaps part of the reason lies in the music she made, never as complex as her friend's -- the material never challenges what seems like a powerful voice. Even her original version of "Pata Pata," which became an international hit for Makeba, lacks the richness and texture of Makeba's cover. This collection is largely as-advertised, and definitive, covering the range of her career. The development is apparent, from the easy shuffle of the early years to the harder, bluesier edge of her later discs. But only "Khanyange," with its darker mood, shows any real personality. Maybe it's a case of "there for the grace of God goes another star," but on the basis of this, perhaps Masuka ultimately didn't have what it took.

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