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Tuesday 20 August 2013

Tsonga Month: M.D. Shirinda

I can't believe that, after more than four years of this blog, this is the first time I've posted music by Daniel Shirinda (better known as M.D. or sometimes General M.D. Shirinda). The General - to award him the respect he deserves - is still going strong in his late seventies after over 50 years of recording. Starting out when Tsonga music was still played only on traditional instruments like the mbira, he was one of the first to integrate the guitar and set in train the modernisation process that led in time to Tsonga disco and now Shangaan electro.

Here are a couple of tracks from his album "Nghena Shirinda". My copy does not have a date on it but I would guess from the cover, the absence of "General" and the production credits, that it probably came out some time in the 1970s. He is superbly supported, as always, by his actual sisters, The Gaza Sisters (named after the historic Gaza Kingdom, centred around the Limpopo river).

"Vandzi Lumbeta" - M.D. Shirinda & Gaza Sisters

"Engelinah" - M.D. Shirinda & Gaza Sisters

The General also has the distinction of being possibly the only Tsonga artist to feature on a multi-million selling album, when Paul Simon took one of his tunes and reworked it as"I Know What I Know" for "Graceland". The General and the girls played on the album, but they aren't involved in this 1987 live performance in Zimbabwe.

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