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Tuesday 13 April 2010

Chauke Time 1: Thomas

As any enthusiast of Tsonga music will know, you can't move far in that field without tripping over a Chauke. They are absolutely everywhere. Even in my own humble collection of Tsonga tunes (of the traditional and disco variety) there are contributions from at least seven of them. Over the next couple of weeks we are going to feature them all one way or another.

We are going to start with the Daddy of them all (metaphorically; literally he is only the Daddy of about half of them) - Thomas Chauke, one of the undisputed giants of the Tsonga scene. He was one of the pioneers of Tsonga Disco, which combines traditional call-and-response singing with a disco-influenced beat.

Thomas has been releasing an album a year for nearly 30 years, with cumulative sales of over two million in Southern Africa. Last year saw the release of "Shimatsatsa 29" (all his albums are titled "Shimatsatsa", which means "beautiful woman") on which he was backed as always by the Shinyori Sisters, who include among their number various of his wives and daughters. As with most of his albums it has been shortlisted in the best Tsonga music album category in the forthcoming South African Music Awards - the winners are to be announced on Saturday.

Unfortunately I haven't got that album, so you will have to make do with a couple of selections from a Greatest Hits compilation that came out a few years ago.

"Baji" - Thomas Chauke & Shinyori Sisters

"Nyoresh" - Thomas Chauke & Shinyori Sisters

I can't find any clips of Thomas on YouTube, so instead here is one of his distant cousin, Chauke Khan:

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