Shangaan Electro - SWG3, Glasgow, Wed 17 Jul 2013
- Stewart Smith
- 23 July 2013
The South African dance phenomenon is an ecstatic celebration of rhythm
'How many BPMs? One. Eight. Nine!' Richard 'Nozinja' Mthethwa, the producer and impresario behind the South African dance phenomenon Shangaan Electro, hypes the crowd as he cues up another warp speed banger. Not since the 90s heyday of gabba and happy hardcore have such ludicrous tempos been unleashed on Scottish dancefloors, but while Shangaan Electro shares the demented high-pitch vocals and relentless energy of those genres, it is altogether funkier, with polyrhythmic kick drum patterns and golden melodies that draw on more traditional forms of Shangaan music.
Nozinja's incredible beats are studded with breakneck midi-marimbas and synthetic cowbells, inspiring impossible feats of limb-twisting dexterity from the colourfully attired dancers and singers. Resplendent in bright orange boiler suits, strategically padded to create bulbous bums and bouncing bellies, the Tshe-Tsha Boys bust out their Shangaan moves, working through a repertoire of chicken-wing hand flaps, bow-legged cossack dances and blurred-leg hyper-jigs. They're good singers too, teaming up with female vocalists Tiyiselani and Nkata Mawewe (no slouches in the dancing department either) for the call and response refrains of 'Nwa Pfundla'. And to finish, dance workshop participants are invited on stage to shake their stuff and the dancefloor erupts in an ecstatic celebration of rhythm.