eMusic Review 0
Even the most ardent African music aficionado might wonder what, precisely, "shangaan" is. So first things first: Shangaan is a hyper-localized music, made primarily in one studio catering to fans and dancers in the townships between Johannesburg, Limpopo, and Mozambique in South Africa. This fascinating collection from Honest Jon's main man Mark Ainley and Basic Channel's Mark Ernestus documents the various folks who shuffle in and out of that studio. Curious outsiders would do well to start with a track by the owner of that studio — Zinja Hlungwani's "N'wagezani My Love."
When he's not in front of the microphone, Zinja (also known as Dog) acts as the main producer/songwriter/marketing manager/distributor of this music. He piles on a head-spinning array of noises: cartoon ninja yips, a flurry of AIM chimes (as if he just received 600 new messages), marimba runs, Zulu-style female chants and a melancholic synth line — all of it while cooing, R&B-style, "I love you" and "I wanna make you mine." As if that's not enough, it all clocks in around 180 BPM.
Emanating from a locale where traditional country life runs headfirst into the dense, hurried space of the city, sentiment fighting to be heard amid the digital… read more »