Bongo Maffin is a South African kwaito music group. The group became famous for its hit albums such as Thath'isigubhu. Its lead singer, Thandiswa Mazwai, has since gone solo, releasing two albums, Zabalaza and Ibokwe.
Bongo Maffin formed in 1996, starting as a project of South African deejay Oscar. Appleseed, one of the band members, was born and raised in Zimbabwe, and brings a distinct reggae flavor to the group's music. Another member, Stoan, began his musical career as a singer for the kwaito band Thebe, while Thandiswa (or Red as she if often called), joined in 1997 after working with them as a backup singer and studio musician. The group's expansive and spiritual take on the dance-oriented genre has been compared to the Fugees' broadening of American hip-hop. The comparison is reinforced by singer Thandiswa's soulful crooning, which is reminiscent of the Fugees' Lauryn Hill. Their common passion for music has had a synergistic effect on their collective creativity. The fourth member of the group, Speedy, has since left the group and embarked on a solo career.
With its unique sound and style, Bongo Maffin has already become the World ambassadors of Kwaito, and toured extensively internationally. The group has been tapped for shows by international stars such as Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan, Skunk Anansie and Boys II Men. They also had the privilege to perform at Nelson Mandela's birthday celebrations.
When the Central Park Summer Stage Festival series wanted to premiere Kwaito music in New York City in 2001, the producers chose Bongo Maffin.
BONGO MAFFIN – NEW CONSTRUCTION
Bongo Maffin has been called many things, many-a-times, in many countries, and yet what they are, or do, as a band is simply this: use their voices, bodies and souls as channels to a very urgent, highly rhythmic, African spirit in the form of music.
“New Construction” is multi-platinum selling, multi-award winning, multitudes of hearts warming, band’s sixth and most home coming album since their major recording, “Concerto” featuring the township slammer, “That ’Isghubu.”
Appleseed was born and raised in Zimbabwe, but brings a distinct Shona and reggae flavour to the group's music. Stoan hails from Mmabatho in the North West Province, and is a Tswana language artist. Thandiswa, a Xhosa girl with roots in the Eastern Cape, joined in 1997 after working with them as a backup singer and studio musician. The group's expansive and spiritual take on the dance-oriented genre has been compared to the Fugees' broadening of American hip-hop. Their common passion for music has had a synergistic effect on their collective creativity.
The trio's music is firmly rooted in the rhythms of house music, but they incorporate ragga, reggae, dancehall, rap and contemporary R&B. The group, however, also gives props to their homeland, adding the sounds from South Africa's many homegrown genres: the bouncy beats of mbaqanga, gospel and the choral sound of iscathamiya made famous by Ladysmith Black Mambazo.
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