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.


Alan Douglas said...

On their website they say something about upcoming London concerts.

I've been listening for half the morning.

Alan Douglas

Anonymous said...

Hadn't heard of them, so I checked them out on You Tube. Crikey, dreadful. Reminds me of a bad 1980's soft drink advert.

Demetrius said...

Wille Whitelaw preferred the Band of the Scots Guards, although I think the Pipes and Band of The Cameronians had the edge, possibly because they were a Rifles regiment.

Jimmy said...

You'd think "Devil Woman" had never been written.

True Belle said...

Please visit South Africa Iain, you will be thrilled by the diversity of that Rainbow Nation.

I have flown Mango airlines from J'burg to Cape Town- (internal flights)

Go end of Jan/Feb. Cape Town area superb .

Mango Groove is one of many SA groups, good stuff.

Roger Dodger said...


I am sorry to say I cannot commend your taste.

Apparently there can be no rights and wrongs when it comes to taste, De gustibus non est disputandum and all that.

So in the case of your music let me just say, I find it the culinary equivalent of Spar own brand pie washed down with a pint of Um Bongo.

I won't make the erronous connection that this somehow means your political thoughts are low quality. But the music...

Margitte said...

I'm listening to the new cd right now and I'm so glad I bought it. I've been a fan since their debut album many years ago. This new cd did not disappoint, given the fact that they are also older, like us. But the magic is still there,the unbelievable great music scores, and Claire's voice is still one of the best in the planet's music business. But despite a very very well-planned album, I would be surprised if it will ever reach the heights of yesteryear. The album contains more ballades and less 'big' songs, but the African rythm is there - and that's where the magic lies, for me at least! I hope they do well with this release. It's a birlliant piece of work! Please send them my congratulations next time you email her.

sheela said...

coffee end tables
furniture coffee tables
furniture end tables
leather ottoman storage
livingroom coffee tables
livingroom end tables
ottomans torage
ottoman with storage
sofa end tables
coffee table furniture
coffee tables
end tables
glass coffee tables
head phones
dining room tables
ipod nano 3rd generation
ipod nano 8gb
oak tables
sofa tables