Thabang Tabane – Matjale

Album Review | Mushroom Hour Half Hour | Review by Allan Wilkinson | Stars: 4/5

Deeply spiritual music from the Mamelodi township area of South Africa, on the outskirts of Pretoria, as Thabang Tabane continues the musical traditions set by his father, the late Philip Tabane, a leading force in the malombo style, who died earlier this year. The ten songs that make up this, Tabane’s debut album, are infused with a richly percussive feel, with dance rhythms that can be equally enjoyed seated or up on your feet, although Bengheko could very well challenge those still sitting. Named after his grandmother, the album has a familial feel, with such song titles as “Father and Mother” (composed by his father) and “Thuli” (Mama), yet as a whole, the focus on these songs is the spirit of malombo and its contribution to the traditions of South African music. The highly rhythmic percussive songs are complemented by Tabane’s confident vocal delivery, augmented with some fine contributions by fellow musicians Dennis Moanganei, Sibusile Xaba and Thulani Ntuli.