Lungiswa - Ekhaya
Extract from SA Rock Digest Top 30 Albums (2000)
Why?: Lungiswa "Lulu" Plaajties had more than served her apprenticeship in the Amampondo musical family/collective, and it was time for her to record her own album. MELT 2000 boss Robert Trunz made it happen and the result is our strongest contender for SA/World album of the year. 'Lungiswa' merges African rhythms and languages, acoustic and indigenous instruments, Motown and Maskanda, and her gorgeous voice in an album that is a sheer delight. From the opening lullaby version of our anthem and her spoken self-introduction right through to her impassioned version of Marvin Gaye's 'Inner City Blues', 'Lungiswa' is this year's 'Urbanzulu'.
Lungiswa Plaatjies is an exceptional and valued M.E.L.T.2000 artist. Born in Cape Town, Langa in 1973, her grandfather was a powerful traditional healer, and from a young age she accompanied him to traditional ceremonies. He encouraged her musical talents and she began her career at an early age becoming the lead female vocalist with Amampondo. She has toured extensively around the world with this outstanding traditional group, as well as collaborating with a number of other internationally renowned artists. Her musical career includes recording traditional vocals for Madosini - the DZM Project, tracks for the four piece maskanda band Skeleton, as well as contributing to the multifaceted sensation Tribal Ethno Dance. Not least of her outstanding contributions were her backing vocals on the debut album of hot new talents such as Achisa, as well as adding her vocals to the Max Lasser album 'Between'(BW103). Following this she became an important contributor to the 'Madamax'(BW2119) album - the unique collaboration between Swiss guitarist Max Lasser and the intensely spiritual South African musician Madala Kunene. This project was such a resounding success that Max and Madala decided to take the 'Madamax' experience on tour. This of course had to include the sensational voice of Lungiswa- stunning the crowd with her beautiful rendition of 'Kumnandi'.
Gifted with an astonishing voice she is now a solo artist in her own right. Lulu Lungiswa Plaatjies is the first ever South African artist to attract the attention of a master like Tony Thorpe, Language label owner and producer. Correspondingly, her new album 'Ekhaya' reflects her outstanding vocal talents perfectly. Combining her powerful native singing voice with the contemporary urban sounds that are Tony Thorpe's trademark, her album includes an original and wonderful rework of the South Afrikan National Anthem, and a version of Marvin Gaye's 'Inner City Blues' sung in the Xhosa tongue. Backed by the dramatic and sensitive percussive support of Amampondo, Lungiswa has created a timeless album with popular appeal.
You can find a review of Lungiswa at callasong.de (Deutsch)
Best Moments: Inner City Blues, The Crab Song, Fundal
Look Out For: Lungiswa's two stunning versions (in Xhosa and English)
of Marvin Gaye's 'Inner City Blues' off his classic 'What's Going On'
'70's soul album, an appropriate message for our times.
11. INNER CITY BLUES