Older readers will know that here at 27 Leggies we are massive fans of the late, great Sotho soul singer, Mpharanyana. When we started off we had a regular "Mpharanyana on Monday" slot before I lost my self-discipline and it ended up going the way of all flesh.
I have now been contacted by Phehello Mofokeng of Geko Publishing, a small independent publisher in South Africa (you should check out their catalogue - there is some very interesting stuff and you can download a few "book teasers"). He has had the excellent idea of doing a book about Mpharanyana's life and work. As Phehello says, his music was a cornerstone of Sesotho culture that has been largely overlooked, and not just since his death. To quote Phehello again, "I cannot ignore the fact that he died broke while some music mogul went home with a full stomach".
So how can you help? Back to Phehello: "You could look for the names of producers, contacts, people, music companies etc that he worked with that I can quote, follow up on and start talking to, LP records artwork, anecdotes inside such records etc - anything that can add colour to the story of this man".
So there you are. If you have any memories or mementoes of Mpharanyana, or anything else that you think might be of interest, please contact me via the e-mail address in the right hand corner and I will put you in touch with Phehello.
Newer readers will no doubt want to know what all the fuss is about. Mpharanyana mainly sang in Sesotho but to "ease you in", so to speak, here are three fine performances in English. They include a particularly nice version of Clarence Carter's "Slip Away" (Clarence was very big in South Africa). But "Soul Man" is not the Sam & Dave hit.
"I Think I Love You" - Mpharanyana
"Soul Man" - Mpharanyana
"Slip Away" - Mpharanyana
If that has given you a taste for more - and to be honest if it hasn't I would be worried about your mental wellbeing - some of the tracks I posted for the "Mpharanyana on Monday" series are still available at this link.
There are no clips of Mpharanyana in action on YouTube, so instead here is a clip of Clarence Carter doing "Slip Away" last year. Still going strong at 74, and rather wasted on the good citizens of Roanoke, Virginia.