‘opika Pende: Africa At 78 Rpm’ Resurrects A Continent’s Music

South African Virtuoso Makes ‘Music from the Heart’

Madlingozi concentrates as he tries to perfect a mix on a new song in his studio in Johannesburg

Jonathan Ward’s music room in his second-floor Angeleno Heights walk-up is a tight, comfortable space with three walls full of records and itsy speakers hung high on the walls in acoustically precise intervals. The 39-year-old writer, archivist, collector and perhaps most important, listener, has just received his copy of a project that has consumed him for the last 14 months. Opika Pende: Africa at 78 RPM, is a four-disc, 100-song collection and companion book of never before compiled regional African music from the early 1900s through the ’60s. Much of it is culled from fragile original shellac recordings that have miraculously survived a journey across space and time to land on Ward’s shelves. He pulls out a recent acquisition: a Mauritanian record that he places on the turntable. The speakers fill the room with hiss and crackle, and a female voice moans while a high-lonesome stringed instrument meanders along.
For more information, visit http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/music_blog/2011/12/opika-pende-africa-at-78-rpm-resurrects-a-continents-music.html

However, Madlingozi remains one of the unsung heroes of South Africas music scene. Africas best In contrast with many of his contemporaries, hes not brash and boastful. Even at awards functions, the well-built man often fades into the background, wearing understated clothes and talking quietly in corners with friends. He never seems to appear in South Africas newspapers and gossip magazines. Madlingozi with friends before a recent awards ceremony in South AfricaThe singer maintains a relatively low public profile, even though hes immensely popular throughout Africa Madlingozi laughs, I wouldnt say I am an angel, but I dont think I do much in the way of bling and bad behavior to deserve appearing on a back page! Yet the accolades that this musicians accumulated are numerous. Since winning the Shell Road to Fame talent competition with his first band, Peto, in 1986, Madlingozis won several South African Music Awards and Kora All African Music Awards, for, among other things, Best Male Vocalist in Africa. His albums have gone double platinum in South Africa, selling over 200,000 copies. Hes performed all over the world, thrilling audiences at leading global music events such as the New Orleans Jazz Festival. Madlingozi describes his sound as a mixture of many genres and rhythms, including rock n roll, jazz, reggae, mbaqanga and maskandi music. Mbaqanga and maskandi are the traditional, indigenous South African sounds.
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