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Monday 26 January 2009

Mpharanyana on Monday (1)

This is first of what will be a weekly feature (if I can remember) - Mpharanyana on Monday.

Mpharanyana was a South African soul singer from the 1970s. I have not been able to find out much about him except his real name was Jacob Radebe, he is dead, and he was bloody fantastic.

I go to South Africa every year to visit family and on the last few trips have managed to pick up four different CDs. Confusingly, three are called "The Best of Mpharanyana" (the other one is simply called "Mpharanyana"), and all four use the same photo, although the three "Best of"s do at least use a different background colour. There is virtually no overlap in the track listing, and all four are worth having.

I'll kick things off with "Nka Nako Ho Motseba" from "Mpharanyana". Rather cheekily he claims to have written it himself with West Nkosi (producer of Mahlatini, Ladysmith Black Mambazo and everyone who was anyone on the mbaqanga scene), but soul fans will recognise the tune as Percy Sledge's "Take time to know her".

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