Today we bring you the first fruits of my shopping spree in Cape Town that has trebled the size of my Tsonga Disco collection from 4 CDs to 12 CDs. A brief recap for newer readers – the Tsonga people are from NE South Africa and southern Mozambique and Zimbabwe and are sometimes also known as Shangaan. Tsonga Disco is disco music by Tsongas (you could probably work that bit out for yourself).
First up are a couple of tracks from Paul Ndlovu. What little I know about him is derived entirely from Max Thamagana Mojapelo’s book “Beyond Memory: Recording the History, Moments and Memories of South African Music”, extracts of which can be found on Google Books.
According to Max, Paul started out in the group called The Big Cats in the late 1970s and moved onto a duo called The Street Kids in the early 1980s before going solo in 1985. Says Max: “It was clear that the Shangaan disco music king had arrived. Paul’s trademark was his sailor’s cap. The crowds loved this humble star from the North”. His solo career was brought to an abrupt end in September 1986 when he died in circumstances on which Max does not elaborate other than to say that “the disappointment and disbelief, as in Tupac Amaru Shakur and Elvis Presley’s cases, created so many myths around his death”.
The album I bought - “The Unforgettable Paul Ndlovu” - has only six tracks. Half of them are sung in English and sound like bog-standard 1980s disco to me with no discernible Tsonga influence. The other three are much better, and here are two of them:
"Mina Ndzi Rhandza Wena"
"Hita Famba Moyeni"
And here is another one that was a big favourite in the discos back in 1985: