Penny Penny - Shaka Bundu
A reissue of the joyful, melodic and danceable Tsonga/Shangaan disco debut
(Awesome Tapes From Africa)
Although many African reissue labels have focused on funky treasure from the 70s, Awesome Tapes From Africa are more tuned into electronic sounds from the 80s onwards. Those who have had minds blown and limbs liberated by the Shangaan electro of Nozinja, Tshetsha Boys et al may be intrigued by its less frenetically paced predecessor, Tsonga/Shangaan disco.
Shaka Bundu is not just of historical interest, however. Music this joyful, melodic and danceable will always be relevant. Now an ANC politician, Penny Penny was a local superstar in the 90s, and this, his 1994 debut, sold over 250,000 copies. His gruff voice adds a pleasing grain to Joe Shirimani’s magical Chicago house-inspired productions, which deftly blend South African melodies and call-and-response vocals with the deep bass and strident piano of classic Larry Heard or Marshall Jefferson tracks. On an album of gems, ‘Shichangani’ and ‘Dance Khomela’ stand out.