Penny Penny hails from 1994 South Africa. Shaka Bundu contains simple yet deep synth-pop anthems that couldn’t give a fuck if you thought they sounded corny at first. It’s that kind of tape. And this music, a more pop-leaning side of Tsonga (or Shangaan) Disco, feels as if Fast Eddie hijacked the regional neo-traditional sounds. WBMX by way of Transvaal.
The world we live in now is an awesome one. For evidence look at this blog devoted entirely to Tsonga Disco.
The remarkable story of South African singer and dancer Penny Penny is fit for Hollywood. A nearly homeless janitor without formal education gets a record deal, becomes a multi-platinum selling pop star, plays stadiums across Africa, then builds a career as a popular politician for Nelson Mandela’s African National Congress party. His debut recording Shaka Bundu, recorded in 1994, is the album that launched a 34-year-old Giyani Kulani Kobane from the streets of Johannesburg to the national political spotlight.
Penny Penny is a Tsonga who hails from the Limpopo Province in Northeast South Africa, near the border with Mozambique. Born in 1960, he was the last of his father’s 68 children. A 2.1-meter (6’10”) tall traditional healer (sangoma), Penny’s father had 25 wives and was well-respected in the region. He lived a long life and passed away in 1966.
(Thanks to Wills and Tshepang for this cassette.)