featuring Margaret Singana
(2001 CD: note spelling changes from album below)
(original 1973 album)
- The Warrior
- Mama Tembu's Wedding
- They Took Her Away From The Land
- Ipi 'N Tombia
- Soweto By Night (Phata Phata)
- Mother Mary
- The Digger
LP: November 1973, RT, RTL 4028
CD: November 2001, Gallo, CDRED 676
Produced by Billy Forrest and Lofty Schultz.
Vocal arrangements by Bertha Egnos.
All songs written by Bertha Egnos and her daughter Gail Lakier
"Ipi 'NTombi" is the grammatically correct spelling for the Zulu phrase "where are the girls?".
Margaret Singana's Lady Africa compilation CD includes the hit single 'Mama Tembu's Wedding' as well as many other soul, pop and rock classics.
The song 'The Warrior' was covered by Osibisa and released on their 1994 Greatest Hits CD.
This is AFRICA! Her Pulse! Her People! Her Music!
Where heart surgeon and Witchdoctor still vie for popularity.Where Boer settler and Zulu Warrior once engaged in bloody battle.Where Tradition and Custom are being replaced by transistor radios.For a few Centuries Africa's poets and composers have written andsung countless songs about her, trying to capture in rhyme themagic of this vast Continent. In this set we present ten suchsongs, ranging from Traditional Folklore, to the more modernTownship Jive. Performed here by "Ipi 'N Tombia", one of the mostexciting groups ever to emerge out of Africa, this could possiblybe the start of an exciting new era in music. Whatever the outcome,we are sure that lead singer Margaret Singana must certainly gainInternational recognition based on her incredible performances onthis Album.
I first read about this album on this website, but it was when SA Rock Digest reader Kim in Hawaii wrote in to say that she was looking for it and I found 2 copies in London that I got to hear it. I bought 1 copy for her and one for myself.
It may be somewhat heretical to say that I was somewhat disappointed by the Margaret Singana collection Lady Africa, but having first bought and listened to 'The Warrior' by Ipi 'N Tombia featuring Margaret on vocals, I always felt it would be difficult to better this. (That said, 'Lady Africa' does have some brilliant moments and is well worth owning).
From the opening drumbeats of 'The Warrior' you are encaptured by a sound that does well to capture the vastness, mystery and beauty of Africa. As the sleeve notes say, the style of songs range "from Traditional Folklore to the more modern Township Jive", mixing in a modern rock beat to create a collection of great African Rock tunes.
There is a stong political commentary on track like 'The Warrior' (about the Battle of Bloodriver between the Boers and the Zulu) and 'The Digger' in which a mine labourer laments the fact that despite working all his life he has nothing to pass on to his son. These more serious tracks are offset by the upbeat celebrations of life in 'Mama Tembu's Wedding' and 'Soweto by Night'. 'Mama Tembu' should be familiar to most South Africans and the more mature version is one of the highlights of the 'Lady Africa' collection. With it's upbeat rhythms, jangling "Township" guitars and vocal clicks it's the kind of song that if you can't dance to it, you must be nailed to the floor.
What is perhaps the most striking thing about this album, however is the vocals of Singana. The clarity and strength of her voice make her the star of the show. There is something special about her voice that compliments the music perfectly. It is the sound of a confident young woman giving her all. This is especially shown on tracks such as the title track and 'Ipi 'N Tombia' (translated as where is/are the girl(s) if my smattering of Zulu serves me correctly), while 'Mother Mary' finds her in a more spiritual voice which she handles with maturity.
The synergy of this collection of great tunes and brilliant vocal performances is completed by producers Billy Forrest and Lofty Shultz, creating this essential South African gem which gained it an international release. Thanks Brian & Kim for introducing me to this special album.
-- John Samson, July 2000
South Africa's Rock Legends
South Africa's Rock Classics