Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Review: The Rough Guide to the Music of South Africa

South Africa has fostered its own musical traditions since long before the earliest days of the colonial era, but the 20th Century saw an explosion of new styles and their widespread documentation on record.

The mass relocation of rural blacks to urban areas, where they sought mining and service jobs, led to the establishment of poor township communities and the concomitant development of iscathamiya, maskanda and marabi, then later on kwela, mbaqanga, contemporary gospel and kwaito—the latter a fascinating, massively hybridized style characterized by rapped lyrics, swaggering hip-hop attitude, house beats and production, and huge popularity among the urban poor in places like Soweto.
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