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Two Decades On, Vusi Mahlasela Still Sings 'To The People'

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Thursday January 24, 2013

from NPR

Two Decades On, Vusi Mahlasela Still Sings ‘To The People’
By: Banning Eyre

South African singer-songwriter Vusi Mahlasela came of age during the 1970s, an era dominated by the violent student uprising in Soweto. From the start, his musical expression has been about love and hope for his country. His songs play as anthems of South Africa’s rise from apartheid to democracy and have helped earn him the nickname “The Voice.”

Mahlasela’s new album, Sing to the People, is a live recording of his 20th-anniversary show in Johannesburg. In this concert retrospective, he reflects on his career, as he performs the songs that made him a musical icon.

“Silang Mabele,” for instance, translates as “crushing corn.” A metaphor for fighting poverty, it reveals a lot about this globetrotting folk troubadour — his connection to the land, his lyrical musicality and his deep commitment to uplifting Africa.

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