I have a question for all you music lovers out there: what is your approach to music in a language you don’t understand?
This ‘best of’ tunes from South African maestro Mahlasela features songs in a variety of that nation’s languages. Some are in English, such as this one:
Others are impenetrable to me, but it matters little, as Vusi’s voice is truly captivating. He seems to conjure up some universal language of joy and hurt.
He plucks out a rhythm on occasion with his vocals (doing that clicking and breathing thing of his countrymen, but in a less cheesy fashion).
This album purchase followed seeing him live about six years ago, a show that certainly entranced my missus and I. It is still a thrill that this album captures much of the revelatory nature of that show.
On a strange aside, on several songs Mahlasela’s voice evokes Peter Gabriel, yet none of the tunes seemed as contrived or overwrought as Gabriel’s. I wonder if I would think the same thing if I understood the language?
File under: He IS the voice