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Review: Mango Groove - Faces To The Sun
4.0Overall Score

Mango Groove are legends. The group has released music that changed the landscape of South African music as one of the first interracial groups in an Apartheid South Africa. Since then, the group has pushed boundaries with each and every release. Now, after a seven-year hiatus, Mango Groove are back with a brand new album titled ‘Faces To The Sun’.

‘Faces To The Sun’ is a special two-disc release which celebrates the group’s 31 years in the music industry. The first album features 15 powerful and touching renditions of classic South African tracks, with collaborations with some of SA’s finest artists. The group teamed up with acts such as Juanita Du Plessis, Zolani Mahola, Rebecca Malope, Kurt Darren and many more. This part of the album brings a feeling of nostalgia. Not only does the group do a stellar job reimagining these tracks, but add their signature flavour to the songs we know and love. The group pushes itself artistically on this part of the album and it’s a fantastic addition to the nine brand new songs the group has released.

The second disc includes the brand new Mango Groove tracks – something fans have been waiting for for a very long time. Here, Mango Groove don’t stray too far from the sound they’re famous for. This is a celebration album and proudly South African. Lead singer Claire Johnston delivers another fantastic vocal performance and showcases the different layers in her vocals on both the upbeat tracks as well as the ballads. However, the instrumentals have always been an aspect where Mango Groove shine. So, naturally, a lot of time and effort went into this aspect of the record. Various African percussions, flutes, trumpets and other instruments were used to expand on the traditional African music the group has played around with since conception and proves to be the star of the record (as proven in tracks such as ‘Chobolo’ where minimal vocals are used).

If you’ve been to a Mango Groove show lately, you’d notice that their music has managed to reach a variety of audiences. Black, white, young, old, rich or poor, Mango Groove speak to South Africa as a collective. Their music manages to creep into your heart and speak to your soul. That is why their music is incredibly important in 2017.

‘Faces To The Sun’ features 24 fantastic tracks. The group has worked hard perfecting the new album and their passion for both music and South Africa is evident in their work – something incredibly beautiful to see. ‘Faces To The Sun’ has been worth the wait.

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