Barungwa - The Messengers

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The Messengers (BW070)

London street jazz meets South African street dance music in this project, pushed by the force of drummer and producer Andrew Missingham (previous projects include working with Urban Species, Raw Stylus, The Young Disciples and Jessica Lauren). Barungwa is the work of two of London's finest and two of South Africa's best Acid Jazz players: it's a collision of township, traditional jazz and funk beats that defines its own genre.

 


Continuing the live jam approach of Missingham's residency at the legendary 'That's How It Is' jazz dance club at Bar Rhumba, in January, 1995, Andrew and Palm Skin collaborator and sax whizz, Chris Bowden, reunited some of the musicians he had met on the first Outernational Meltdown expedition with M.E.L.T. The first time they all got together was the first day of recording, yet the album was done - if not dusted - in a fifteen days flat. "We would jam, and if something good came up, we'd put it down really quickly, then move on," explains Andrew. "At the end we just came back to put down the vocals and maybe some horn parts."alt
'Welcome' kicks things off with mobile phone message, a cyclical piano figure and elastic double bass melding with funky marimbas and anchoring fractured interjections of sax and poetry. Max Mntambo (Shaluza Max) tells the story from faraway, down a tinny telephone. This is not some self-conscious audio effect, but simply because Max couldn't make it to the studio in time to finish the vocal. A rolling, big-band groove redolent of Sun Ra and Fela Kuti melts into a midtempo horn break. It's the most alluring of openings, but doesn't dictate the course of the album, with bristles with diverse invention. The vocals on 'Siyahamba' and 'Abangcono' mix rasping solo lines with bright South African harmonies; 'Biko's Dream' rises for the townships and features a classy Rhodes solo from Moses Molelekwa. 'My Dali' introduces kicking dance rhythms and 'Ba Naba Africa' is founded upon Simpiwe's marimba - three lines of interlocking complexity - and the reprise offers a heavy dub marimba and percussion mix. Lyrically, the finest moment is 'Capitalismo', a gentle mocking of the bad ol' money man and the cults that people turn to when they tire of such excesses. Finally, a version of the late Miles' classic, 'Tutu', featuring a superb solo from Dave Mayenka, sets the seal on a fine, full blown set.
"...the birth of a new kind of cool... Don't ignore the future." Echoes
"...a whole new musical being." Straight No Chaser
"...alive with creative tension and unearthed inspiration." Andy Gill, The Independent
"...blows hot and hard." Chris Stapleton, Q

PLEASE NOTE: The album offered on iTunes is the original international version first released in the UK and Europe - the green sleeve and reversed artwork album offered via our own shop below was only ever released in South Africa and contains an unreleased track. 

Track Listing (30 Second Samples)

1.
ABONCONO
2. CAPITALISIMO
3. VUYISO
4. ABANGOMA
5. TUTU
6. BA NABA AFRICA
7. MY DALI
8. BIKO'S DREAM
9. SIYAHAMBA
10. SINGALONE
11. MAWETHU
12. BA NABA AFRICA (RETURN)

Personnel:
Andrew Missingham - Drums, production
Ike Leo - Bass
Chris Bowden - Saxophone
Moses Taiwa Molelekwa - Piano
Mxolise 'Dave' Mayekana - Guitar
Shaluza Max- Vocals
Mabi Thobejane - Percussion
Simpiwe Matole -Marimba