Women in Music 2016

Introducing Shiyani Ngcobo

Shiyani Ngcobo is a vocalist/acoustic guitarist from South Africa.

Shiyani Ngcobo is a vocalist/acoustic guitarist from South Africa. He is a master of maskanda, a musical dance particularly popular among Zulu migrant laborers. The guitar picking on these tracks is fascinating and somewhat reminiscent of the guitar style associated with the chimurenga brand of Zimbabwe. The singing (which includes rapidly spoken passages) is, like the guitar, somewhat trance-like in its tone and circularity. The album's 14 tracks are minimalistic in arrangement, consisting mainly of guitar, voices and hand claps, with the occasional violin, whistle, drums or concertina. Ngcobo also performs the song "Sevelina" on the igogogo, a guitar made from a five-liter oil can, wood, nails and wire. As unlikely as this Zulu axe sounds, it's just right for the maskanda vibe. As the restrictions of apartheid fade, we're hearing fresh, original music from previously unknown South African artists. This bodes well for world music fans.—PVV