Mahotella Queens – Abaculi Bethu / Umculo Kawupheli

Today’s share is a joyful slice of township jive out of South Africa from the legendary Mahotella Queens.  It’s a tragedy that it took a cretinous thief like Malcolm McLaren to turn the world on to such music.  From the Umsakazo Records Bandcamp site:

The reach and influence of “Umculo Kawupheli” spread far beyond its intended destination. In 1981, the song was plagiarised note-for-note by punk rock manager Malcolm McLaren, who replaced the meaningful isiZulu words with soundalike English gibberish to create “Jungle Boy (See Jungle)” for his new wave band Bow Wow Wow. The song’s origins were not acknowledged and all composing royalties went to McLaren and the artists. After McLaren more flagrantly lifted additional mbaqanga songs for his solo 1983 record “Duck Rock”, the fledgling Earthworks label brought the plagiarisms to light by licensing 1974’s “Umculo Kawupheli” compilation for the Western market as “Duck Food”. Two further releases – the Earthworks compilation “The Indestructible Beat of Soweto” and Paul Simon’s “Graceland” – resulted in the first overseas tours by Mahlathini and the Mahotella Queens, ensuring the wider world was able to hear authentic mbaqanga as originally intended, directly from the pioneers of the style.”

Blogger, label owner, record store buyer and all around charming lad who loves to share music with one and all.

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