Afrika Mamas - Iphupho

Our spotlight on international music listens to the new album from acapella group Afrika Mamas.

Afrika Mamas - Iphupho
This six woman acapella group from South Africa has won a nonstop parade of accolades since their inception nearly 20-years ago and they're going to earn a lot more of them for Iphupho, the second of their four releases to enjoy worldwide distribution. All songs are sung in Zulu dialect but the CD booklet contains a brief explanation of what each song is about, so English speakers will know that the title cut is about the group's dream to take their music to an international audience (dream realized!) You don't need an explanation though to hear the unbridled joy in the lead vocals and velvet-smooth harmonies that are hallmarks throughout. You might expect a song like "Umsindo Webhanoyi" to be a bit frantic since it is about how a flight the group was on caught fire; instead the cut reflects a serenity that likely comes from deep spiritual beliefs and thankfulness. Another song full of reverence is "Umama Uyagula" where the ladies sing about the suffering of the mother of one of the singers. "Ispoki" actually uses a bit of music via beatbox programming; perhaps the music represents the "noisy bad spirit" that Afrika Mamas sing about in the song. Every song here is a highlight and some will point to the again reverential "Tata Madiba," about Nelson Mandela, as their favorite; others might prefer "Ulwabishi" which gives a lazy man a good dressing down. The 12-song effort closes with "Amakhekhe" which, being about a woman who sells cakes on the street, has vocals that mimic a salesperson's come-on. It's fitting that the album should end with a song about pastry since Afrika Mamas serve up such a treat here.

Preview and order in various formats here.


Afrika Mamas - Iphupho

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