Sunday, November 01, 2009
Album Review: Mango Groove - Bang the Drum
You know the feeling. You've waited years for one of your favourite bands to release a new album, and then it arrives in the post. That special tingle down your spine. The sense of anticipation. The fear in the back of your mind that you are going to be disappointed? The exhiuleration of playing the first track and realising it's as good as you hoped it would be? All of that happened to me yesterday when I received in the post a copy of BANG THE DRUM, the first all new Mango Groove album in fourteen years. But this was no ordinary copy - it was a signed copy sent to me personally my Claire Johnston, the group's lead singer, who I have developed an email firendship with ever since I first wrote about my love for her band on this blog last year.
Mango Groove, for those who don't know, are one of South Africa's most successful bands. They play a crossover of African pop, big band and pennywhistle music. There are some clips of their music on Youtube HERE. There's a sample of the title track BANG THE DRUM and another great song LAY DOWN YOUR HEART HERE.
This album is vintage Mango Groove and they have lost nothing of their original style over the years. The whole album is a happy go lucky mix of boppable, danceable melodies sprinkled with the odd ballad. Claire Johnston has done a couple of promo interviews about the band's comeback and the new album, which are eminently watchable for the way in which she and other band members switch between English and Afrikaans at the flick of a switch in mid sentence. Bizarrely, you can even understand most of what they say even when they speak in Afrikaans.
There are very few bands I would pay a lot of money to go and see, but Mango Groove is one of them. I first heard their music in a coffee bar in St Martin's Lane in the mid 1990s and I have been captivated ever since. I've never been to South Africa, but if they plan a concert tour next year, I shall be off there like a shot.
Read more about BANG THE DRUM on Mango Groove's website HERE. And you can buy it HERE.