Penny Penny – Shaka Bundu
It is no doubt that Papa Penny is one of the pioneering artists of Kwaito music mara ngwenya leyi yi dlawele kuva Mutsonga ku fana na Paul Ndlovu; who is the founding father of African Pop and Disco Music. Shaka Bundu is such an outstanding multi-platinum debut, released in 1994 (era of Kwaito). It influenced the inclusion of women in the male dominated Kwaito music, vo Boom Shaka navo Aba Shante are a result of hits like Dance Khomela which features female vocalists. This synth-pop album became a hit, not only in the SADEC region but across the world. Even today on the internet, people are still talking about this legendary music.
Leswi swi komba kuri this was the most powerful album la Africa Dzonga eka matimu ya swa vuyimbeleri. It featured in Rolling Stone magazine, the most popular entertainment magazine in the world and in 2013; it was reissued in the Unite Stats due to high demand. Shaka Bundu has sold over 500 000 albums to date and Penny Penny has toured Africa and Europe hi Shaka Bundu.
Dr. Thomas Chauke: Shimatsatsa no.12 – Buku yi hi byerile
This is the Blue Print of Dr. Thomas Chauke’s legacy, to be followed by the likes of Xifumi na Lazaro, Sodoma na Gomora and Shimatsatsa no.17.
For the very first time, the Tsonga nation put their Xibelani’s aside and started listening to very touching and relevant messages that address social issues of the pre-apartheid era. This album was released at the time of the bloody murders conducted by IFP members (known as Nkata group) against the opposition members of the ANC. It was a time when Africa was inundated with civil wars and modernization of the early 90s. Governments were overthrown, coups were common in Africa, people were abandoning their culture, tribes were turning against each other, traditional healers were massacred, and young women were aborting and abandoning infants – The consequences of freedom and westernization; these issues were well documented in this powerful album.
Themba Chauke: Ntsena vol. 1- Xilenda
Lest we forget, before Benny Mayengani there was Themba “Xinyori the Jr.” Chauke. This kid knew exactly how to speak to the youth market. His lyrics were clean and he touched base on social issues concerning the youth such as relationships, hunger for success and alcoholism.
Benny Mayengani – Tiba Ben
This is a revolutionary album, for the very first time, Xitsonga music sounded perfect without a bass and lead guitar. This was the beginning of the new genre in Xitsonga music known as Ndzumba; where only a keyboard and software like Fruity Loops are used to produce sounds. A much criticized music genre by the old folks but it captured the young audience hook, line and sinker. And for the very first time, the very sensitive Xitsonga community was cool with vulgar lyrics. It was inevitable that the song won the Best Xitsonga Most Popular Song in 2012.
Matshwa Bemuda: Beauty Na Bin Laden no. 6 – Samaria
Freddy Masingi is undoubtedly the king of Xitsonga electro. The samples and the electro sounds used in this album are so brilliant and well-engineered. The professional use of Xitsonga language is so profound. Matshwa went all out in the album; the lyrics were so relevant to that current time, with the moving tale of the whoring daughter, Shirley and the search for his wife Beauty who ran away with Matshwa’s friend. This made one play the whole album again and again. It’s a pity that none of his albums have won an award and the album sales are unknown, but we can be quite sure it did very well in the shelves.
George Maluleke no. 12 – Xilahla Matende
The album came at the time when my people were not that familiar with a Cabriolet (Xilahla Matente). Mr Maluleke’s mention of this high class type of vehicle made listening to traditional Tsonga music cool for even the rich who were diluted in the urban setting of the time. After all, Mr. Maluleke popularized Tsonga electro in Tsonga music production.
GT Chauke – Sapota no.3
I say this is the best Xitsonga album ever; songs like Dyondzo i Vukati (A Girl should be more committed to education than men), Movha wa mina (The tendency of choosing a car over a house still persist even today), Mapololo (Wastefulness/carelessness with money is a problem among the black society). The album will remain relevant for centuries to come due to the powerful messages the legend shared in the songs. May his soul Rest in Peace.
Conny Chauke. Bulldozer no. 3 (Misava ya lova)
Like her dad, Conny perpetuated sexism and portrayed women as vulnerable objects who must take abuse from their man as they can’t survive without them. However, we must give her kudos for this excellent album. All her Bulldozer albums promoted patriarchy and justified the abuse on women but on this album she had a very strong message to share about the new world. In this album Conny revolted against forced marriage – Madala papa ra ntima rawa khawulela (Mukhalabya no.2) – where she tells an old man that his time was up, it’s time for young girls to date men of their age and whom they love. South Africa was transforming from apartheid to a new dispensation; violent killings and diseases were rampant among SA townships like Alexandra and Thembisa. These moments are well documented in the song Chumayela. This album also made the Tsonga nation put their Xibelani aside and listen.
Sunglen Chabalala – Beer
First, she tried to sing about mobile network (Vodacom) and it didn’t work. Then she released a banger single that talks nothing but her love for beer. We all love alcohol and Sunglen made it cool to stand among a crowd and shout, “Mhe ni hava xitress loko ni khome Biyooo aahh!” She got attention of SAB and cashed in; genius marketing strategy. We need more moves of this nature in Tsonga entertainment.
Elias Baloyi & The Mamba Queens – Xiseveseve (Single)
The song was released at the right time. Apartheid curfew laws were banned and people could gather and celebrate. Xiseveseve is a form of a society/stokvel, formed to hold regular parties that are funded by the members and generate profits for the hosts.
Before the Makwhaya trend which is now popular among the youth, there was Xiseveseve. Young and older men and women would wear their colorful cultural outfits and dance till the sun rose. This was something rare and new in the new dispensation, it was a form of cultural expression for the Tsonga nation, something which the apartheid regime would not have allowed. Xiseveseve was a unity song that reunified the Tsonga nation and other nations, the spirit of Simunye/Togetherness was entrenched by the song.
I do not want to rule out the role of DJ Khwaya and Nozinja in taking Xitsonga music to the streets but Xiseveseve hi xona xo sungula ku humesela bombo ra Xitsonga na Colour Blocking ematihlweni ya tinxakanxaka to hambana.