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Wednesday 29 June 2022

Peta's Picks

This week's blast from the past Tsonga Disco sounds come from the late, great Peta Teanet. 

Peta was both King of the Hill and Cock of the Walk on the Tsonga (also known as Shangaan) scene from his arrival in the late 1980s until his tragically early death in 1996, shot by a policeman during an argument. He was only 30.

Peta spiced up his disco with a bit of the bubblegum pop that was so popular in South Africa at the time, which perhaps gave him a bit more crossover appeal than some of his contemporaries, but did so without sacrificing the sheer Shangaanosity of his sound (that is a real word, I looked it up).

"Xizambani" - Peta Teanet

"Majambuza" - Peta Teanet 

Monday 27 June 2022

Sight Unheard

I have rather a lot going on in what laughably passes for real life at the moment, and as a result I have let some things slide. 

One of those things is the task is whittling down the pile of CDs that I have bought but not got round to listening to. Having nearly eliminated it at one point, it has now crept up to 20+ again.

So I am enlisting your help. Among the pile are two albums by acts that I had never heard of before but which I thought were worth taking a punt on as two-thirds of a '3 for £1' offer. I have picked a track from each of them at random, without having listened to either, and I am relying on you to let me know if they are any good.

The two albums in question are "Masri Mokkassar: Definitive Works" by Mutamassik, a compilation of tracks recorded between 1996 and 2004, and the self-titled album from 2010 by Drunken Balordi. Now over to you.

"High Alert A'ala Teta" - Mutamassik

"Matilda" - Drunken Balordi

I couldn't find any Mutamassik videos on YouTube, but here is the first Drunken Balordi video that cropped up. Not watched it, obviously. 

Friday 24 June 2022

Know When To Oldham

I have to be brisk and business-like today. Things to do, people to see, you know how it is.

Here is one song each from two of the Oldham brothers, William and Nedworth. Despite concealing their identities behind silly pseudonyms you can still detect the family resemblance. 

As an extra treat I've added something by good old Uncle Spooner.

"Madeleine-Mary" - Bonnie "Prince" Billy

"Follow The Bangalory Man" - Old Calf

"The Lord Loves A Rolling Stone" - Spooner Oldham

Instead of our usual music video, here's a fantastic clip about efforts to promote tourism in the town of Oldham from 1976, worth watching for the wallpaper in the council offices alone.

Wednesday 22 June 2022

From Penny To Benny

Welcome to the second in our brief series reviving this blog's original mission to bring Tsonga Disco to the masses.

But first a public service announcement. My celebrity pal Ruth from Kill The Sirens has alerted me to the fact that they are playing at an all-dayer at the Dublin Castle in Camden (or Cmdn as it is apparently now called) this Sunday. Details are on the flyer below. 

14 bands for £10 is a bargain however you look at it. Unfortunately I can't make it but if you're free you should pop along and let me know how it goes. Kill The Sirens are due on about 5.45pm.

Now back to the disco. Last time out we featured the great king Penny Penny, who will be performing in London in early August. I will be there and tickets are still available. 

This time round it is Benny Mayengani, who burst onto the scene with "Tiba Ben" in 2011 and has been a leading light in the Tsonga scene ever since. 

He can be a bit of a bumptious Benny by all accounts but he knows how to bang out a tune, as these selections from 2016's intriguingly named "Vitanani Fire Brigade" album demonstrate. 

"Go Benny Go" - Benny Mayengani (featuring Prince Rhangani)

"Maphalle" - Benny Mayengani

All together now: "Vitanani Fire Brigade, get the fire brigade, see the buildings start to really burn".

Monday 20 June 2022

Bargain Hunt

I was browsing on Bandcamp the other day and came across a bargain which I thought I should alert you all to as a public service.

Strand of Oaks (or Timothy Showalter as he is known to his Mum) is one of those artists whose music I like when I happen to hear it but who I have never got round to digging into more deeply. I have a copy of his 2019 album "Eraserland", but that was it.

But no more. On his Bandcamp page you can find the official version of his 2010 album "Pope Kildragon" (for $7.99) and the demos for the album (for whatever you want to pay). I opted for the demos, and all I can say is if the rough and ready version of the album is this good then I'm going to have to buy the real thing.

On the subject of bargains, last week Mister F and I managed to wangle a couple of free tickets to see this up and coming beat combo. I don't know much about them but I liked what I heard. I think they might do well.

"Last To Swim (Demo)" - Strand of Oaks

"Daniel's Blues (Demo)" - Strand of Oaks

"Death Disco (12" Mix)" - Public Image Limited

Friday 17 June 2022

I Paid What I Wanted

A couple of weeks ago we featured tracks from "Pay What You Want Vol. 2", a compilation album put together by the Akuphone label. You will have deduced from the title that there is a Vol 1, and I suspect it may not come as a complete shock when I tell you there is also a Vol. 3.

The three volumes are all available from the Akuphone Bandcamp page along with records by many of the featured artists. Not everything on the compilations is going to be to everyone's taste - and there are a few tracks that frankly I doubt are to anyone's taste - but there are plenty of goodies as well. 

Here is a track apiece from Volumes 1 and 3. We have some 1980s pop from Laos followed by a German producer's reworking of Sumatran folk music. Well, come on, what else was it going to be?

"Lam Seung Bang Fai (Shelter's Edit) " - Sothy

"Soumatra" - Çaykh

Here's some more music from Laos and another German who is famous for reworking his source material. Enjoy your weekend.

Wednesday 15 June 2022

One Excited Ernie

The eagle-eyed among you may have spotted that I have a new profile photo. Some of you may also think the gentleman in the photo and his distinctive haircut look familiar. That could be because for many years I used an earlier photo of him for my profile (before a recent short-lived dalliance with Carlos Fonseca, founder of the Sandinistas). 

The gent in question is Penny Penny, undisputed King of Tsonga Disco (well it is disputed by some, but not me). Why has he reappeared here? Well, because he has reappeared in real life! It has just been announced that he coming to London to play the Jazz Cafe on 6 August. I have my ticket and I am VERY EXCITED.

Papa Penny and his old producer Joe Shirimani are partly responsible for me being here. Way back when I started there was this quaint idea that bloggers, like politicians, should be motivated by a sense of purpose and not just a desire for attention. Many bloggers still are, politicians not so much.

Having recently discovered and fallen heavily for Tsonga Disco, not least due to Penny Penny, I gave myself the rather grand mission of bringing it to the masses. I was diligent to start with but over time as my sources dried up and my enthusiasms moved on I abandoned my mission, to my great shame.

In honour of Penny Penny's impending arrival we'll be going back to our roots for a while. Expect to see one Tsonga Disco post a week between now and early August, starting with the Great Man himself.

"Good Morning Papa Penny" - Penny Penny

"Hina Hivanu" - Penny Penny

"Makantia Jive" - Penny Penny

Monday 13 June 2022

Newness Abounds

It is time for one of our occasional round-ups of new releases, and we are bringing them to you through the exciting new medium of video. As always, many thanks to the lovely people in Promoland for alerting me to these albums.

We have four acts for you today, only one of whom I was previously familiar with although all of them have released other records before these ones. More fool me for not cottoning on to the others sooner.

The one I know is Jack M. Senff whose 2019 album "Good To Know You" was a big hit in the Goggins household. His new album "Low Spirit" came out at the beginning of June and if anything is even better. There is a bit of a Josh Rouse vibe to Jack's music which can't be a bad thing. 

Both albums can be found on Jack's Bandcamp page, along with some other goodies. This mp3 is from "Good To Know You", the video is from "Low Spirit".

"Watershed" - Jack M. Senff

Next up is Lindsay Clark, someone who has been making folk-influenced records for well over a decade. Her new album "Carpe Noctem" comes out on 24 June and very good it is too. You can pre-order it from her Bandcamp page where you can also find four earlier albums which I will certainly be checking out.

Moving on. Ben Talmi's "Berkshires" album came out in May and is a song set inspired by his experiences growing up in Berkshire County. I assume that is the one in Massachusetts not the one in England as the tales are too entertaining to have happened in Slough. 

You can find "Berkshires" on Spotify and other streaming services and you can download it from the tax dodgers and possibly others. It is not on Ben's Bandcamp page but lots of other things are so listen to them before heading off to find "Berkshires". 

Rounding things off we have "Don't Wait For A Sign" by Jeanines which came out all the way back in April. Once again you can find this album and older material on their Bandcamp page. 

The person who wrote the blurb that came with the album claimed to hear traces of Fairport and Vashti Bunyan which I don't get at all. Its good old-fashioned homemade pop of the sort made by The Chefs and Dolly Mixture - and all the better for it. 


Friday 10 June 2022

Cooking Up A Storm

On Wednesday night we went to see the mighty Elizabeth Cook play a solo set at The Lexington in Pentonville Road. She was utterly fantastic, so much so that I very nearly proposed to her on the spot (and would have done if I hadn't been forcibly restrained by Mr F). 

Ms Cook has a great voice, great songs, great stories and bucketloads of charisma. As Mr F says, if there was any justice in the world she would be playing much more prestigious venues than upstairs rooms in pubs. But the other night, for one night only, I was glad there is no justice in the world.

I have been a big fan of Ms Cook since her "Welder" album in 2010 but inexplicably she has never featured here before. We'll put that right now with one track from each of her last four albums: "Balls" (2007), "Welder", "Exodus of Venus" (2016) and "Aftermath" (2020). 

They are all great records, you should buy them all. And you should definitely go and see her if she is ever round your way.

"Sometimes It Takes Balls To Be A Woman" - Elizabeth Cook

"Mama's Funeral" - Elizabeth Cook

"Methadone Blues" - Elizabeth Cook

"Mary, The Submissing Years" - Elizabeth Cook

The support act was Wade Sapp, who was pretty cool too. His debut album enters the world in July and I'll be checking it out. Until then, here's his first single.

Wednesday 8 June 2022

Mr Brown Gets Down

Too much tedious real life work on at the moment, so it is just a quick one today. Here is some top reggae from Mr Barry Brown, followed by other colourful Barrys and a colourful Baron.

"Far East" - Barry Brown

"It Rough My Brother" - Barry Brown

Monday 6 June 2022


Today's post is especially for the prog fans among our readers (or George as he is better known). It also gives me an opportunity to show off about my celebrity connections.

Twin brothers Colin and Stewart Goldring formed Gnidrolog in 1969 (the name is an anagram of Goldring with an extra O), with Stewart on guitar and Colin on vocals and sax. They made a couple of albums then broke up in the early/mid 1970s. 

Fast forward to 1981 - enabling us to speed past the twins' time as Pork Dukes about which the least said the better - and Colin G enrolled as a mature student at the University of Essex.  I arrived at the same time and got to know Colin reasonably well. He had his funny little ways but was nice enough.  

Here are a couple of tracks from Gnidrolog's second album "Lady Lake" (1972), both written and sung by Colin.

"Ship" - Gnidrolog

"I Could Never Be A Soldier" - Gnidrolog

Other notable members of the 1981 Essex University intake included a woman who presented the occasional item on The Clothes Show in the early 1990s and an eccentric who became an respected Arctic explorer. Other notable members of Gnidrolog included Nigel Pegrum, the future drummer with Steeleye Span.

Saturday 4 June 2022

Sparrow Sings

Yesterday Sir Khayem of Dubhed treated us to a selection of Champion Doug Veitch tunes. One of them was a cover version of Mighty Sparrow's "Margarita", which prompted me to dig out the original.

Sparrow's version first appeared on his 1983 album "The Greatest". On the same album Sparrow, singing as The Queen, explains what actually happened when Michael Fagan evaded Buckingham Palace security and visited her bedroom the previous year. This being Her Majesty's Platinum Jubilee weekend I felt it was appropriate to share it with you all.

"Margarita" - Mighty Sparrow

"Phillip My Dear" - Mighty Sparrow

Friday 3 June 2022

Kuunatic Have Taken Over The Asylum

Earlier this week I went on a whim to see Kuunatic. I had never heard of them until the morning of the gig but was sufficiently intrigued by the blurb on the Cafe Oto website to tootle along. I'm very glad I did.

Kuunatic are an all-female Japanese trio, as you may be able to tell from the photo. I would struggle to describe their musical style. Maybe a Japanese Raincoats - but heavy oilskins not light macs - with a large slug of psychedelia.

Their debut album "Gate of Klüna" came out last year and is available on their Bandcamp page. The link below is to an earlier recording of the opening track. This version dates from 2019 and can be found on the "Pay What You Want Sampler #2" compilation issued by the Akuphone label (also on Bandcamp). The Ko Shin Moon track comes from the same compilation.

"Dewbow" - Kuunatic

"Le Pêcheur" - Ko Shin Moon

Wednesday 1 June 2022

Tuareg Tipoff

I have mentioned a few times on here that every Bandcamp Friday the excellent Sahel Sounds label makes everything in its back catalogue available on a name your own price basis. Normally I mention it after the event so you may have forgotten by the time it next comes around, so this time I thought I would mention it in advance.

Everything is worth checking out but today I will direct you particularly to "Tumastin", the 2016 album by Amanar de Kidal, a desert blues band based in Kidal in Northern Mali. Their earlier album "Alghafiat" and the solo album by their main man Ahmed Al Kaedy are also worth nabbing while you are there.  

So that's this Friday sorted then.

"Dounia Tade" - Amanar de Kidal

"Agna" - Amanar de Kidal

Philosophical question: is a Tuareg Tipoff like a Teenage Warning?