Thursday, August 29, 2002

The Swish Guide to South African Music - Part 5
"Umqombothi" by Yvonne Chaka Chaka
- 1986 [download the mp3]

UB40 with Red Red Wine, Escape (The Pina Colada Song) by Rupert Holmes, Chumbawumba's Tubthumping, and the dreaded Terrorvision with Tequila... why are songs about drinking so awful they'd drive you to drink? Somehow, songs that try to distill the intoxicating feeling of being drunk usually end up sounding forced and naff. However, here's one I actually like.

This fascinating page tells you all about umqombothi, a traditional South African beer brewed in many a back yard from maize meal and sorghum. This song by Yvonne Chaka Chaka does the same, relating the preparation of the "magic beer" to a township disco beat.

Let me know what you think of this song. Buy South Africa CDs online at

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