“Foster Manganyi is a pastor from Giyani, in Limpopo, South Africa. His sublime music shares with the Honest Jon’s compilation Shangaan Electro a startling palette of sampled, synthesized sounds – the signature whistle and marimba, no bass, a little wonky high-life and rough, fast skittering drum patterns. Yet these are gospel songs, intensely sincere, brimming with aching, plaintive, mournful spirituality, without a trace of R&B, mangled or not; and however fractured, multi-faceted and fresh the music comes across, the surging lines and harmonies of the support singers are unmistakably rooted in the traditional vocal music of South Africa…”
Much can be said about the primitive (and in a sense ‘dated’) style of recording, however this would be unfair and even ignorant. The tracks are extremely rich and detailed, with much attention being paid to tempo and structure, ensuring there is something new to discover with each listen. This fantastic review from Dusted magazine at the time relates to the tracks ”MIDI-sourced thin-ness” and their existence within a ”bass-less realm”. Carry on reading, and in what can only be from a complimentary angle it even goes on to reference the idea that there are many similarities between the styles on show and the rhythms synonymous with the modern Juke/Footwork sounds from Chicago.
You can watch the video for the album opener below, and if it brings you as much pleasure the first time you hear it as it did for me then I highly recommend getting hold of a copy. The usual formats are all available with Honest Jons being just one of many stockists. And after all, who wouldn’t be better of without some lo-fi Shangaan gospel music in their lives?