Marriage Is a Problem

They don’t call Mahlathini the ”Lion of Soweto” for nothing. South Africa’s premier ”groaner” since the late ’50s, Mahlathini (Simon Nkabinde) casts his voice, best described as a wonderful bellow, over stomping riffs of mbaqanga, the township party music that Paul Simon’s Graceland brought to worldwide attention. The three Mahotella Queens (Hilda Tloubatla, Mildred Mangxola, and Nobesuthu Shawe) play sassy hens to Mahlathini’s rooster, undercutting his booming boasts with sweet, knowing harmonies. Timed to coincide with a U.S. tour, these records compile recent great moments. The driving bass, guitar, and sax of the Makgona Tsohle Band propel both The Lion Roars and Marriage Is a Problem, the latter of which finds the Queens both on their own and with other male groaners. Catch the group in concert if you want to know what heaven is; this is just what it sounds like. Both records: A

Marriage Is a Problem
  • Music