South Africa native and social activist Sharon Katz formed the Peace Train band in 1993.
South Africa native and social activist Sharon Katz formed the Peace Train band in 1993. This is the first Peace Train album released to an international audience. As a singer/songwriter, Katz's music is steeped in myriad influences. Though Katz is a white woman raised during apartheid, the most persistent vibe in her music is the rhythms of township music—a clue about her nonconformity. Mbaqanga, kwela, and township jazz have a strong spiritual presence in her sound. The joyful lilt of these styles clearly made a strong impression on Katz and is most evident here in such tunes as "Sanalwami," "Bayangesaba," and "Crazy Life." Another appealing song, "Accra," takes a jazzy turn, and Katz sings this style with special flair. "Why O Why" comes from a dancehall reggae sensibility, imparting the timeless, urgent, message of African unity.—PVV