Suthukazi Arosi: uBuntu (2002)
South Africans do not concern themselves too much with fitting their tuneful lives and lexis into easy labels, hence the stew of influences present in Arosi’s Jazzy and rootsy recording. Musically speaking this CD is a deft hunt for melody and harmony, through several stimuli. The sax lines on the opening cut, for example, are as embedded in Jazz as they are in the strapping Pop that thrives throughout Sub-Saharan Africa. An occasional acoustic piano, accompanied by superb rhythmic support throughout the album, serves Arosi’s indomitable vocalizations rather well. Her africanía readily conveys passion, emotion, depth, happiness and hope. Tradition, most obviously expressed through the lead and back up vocal work, does not have to exclude the advances brought about by technology. Its sparse use in the album complements the colorful palette that this striking actress offers on a graceful acoustic bed made by musicians that can keep plenty of swing and groove going through it all.
As in any type of art, the touches matter most. Arosi’s production values infuse a breath of life into a program of implementation that, along with the support of Andile Yenana and Herbie Tsoaeli, shaped the musical feel or air of this recording. Such is the way in which mythical characters become living messengers of critical communications of hope, challenge, as well as life and fun. After uBuntu you will love Africa, people, life and Arosi much more. Her breath of life can touch you...
Track Listing: 1. Wemnt
Personnel: Acoustic Piano (2, 7, 9); Synth, Fender Rhodes Keyboard (3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10)-Andile Yenana. Backing vocals-Velile Mchunu, Sonto Khumalo, Sipho Nxumalo, Bongani Masuku, Khanya Ceza (1). Add Lindiwe Mkhize on 3 and 4, Herbie Motlatsi Tsoaeli on 6. Bass-Jimmy Mngwandi (1, 4), Herbie Tsoaeli-(2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10); Drum Program (3, 8). Drums- Sello Montwedi (4, 5, 6, 10). Isaac Mtshali (1). Rob Watson (2, 7, 9). Electric Guitar-George Phiri (2, 10). Guitar-Bheki Khoza (1, 8). Louis Mhlanga (3, 4, 5, 6). Lead vocals on all tracks, backing vocals on all but 1 and 6-Suthukazi Arosi. Organ, Accordion (1)-Thuthukani Cele (3, 4, 6, 8). Percussions, Congas (3)-Basie Mahlasela (4, 5, 10). Sax, Flute (5)-Buddy Wells (1, 10).
Record Label: Sheer Sound
Style: Beyond Jazz