Brenda is an institution
So I don't suppose it matters what she turns out, original or
otherwise. I mean, you either love her or hate her, the one thing you can't be is indifferent to her.
If "Amadlozi" were a plant it would be an hardy annual, certain to flower every October. And who can blame her, the last two releases sold over a 1,000,000 copies which is a staggering number given the relatively small market here, and no doubt, this will top the 500,000 mark.
So, do I like it and does it matter whether I like it or not? Actually I like most of Brenda's output, she taps into a universal feeling that finds a special resonance in the rural areas and in the townships. This is working class music. Try and find a jukebox in a shebeen that doesn't have a Brenda song on it. Perhaps it's her irreverence and 'rags to riches' (and back again) life that the people identify with that does it.
For those who don't know her, her reputation or her work, well this is not the place to go into the legend that is Brenda Fassie. Her men, her ups and downs with her chaotic life, brushes with drugs and her latest adventures or her 2 million rand house in Soweto. Apparently she's recently moved back to a flea bag hotel in Hillbrow.
The tracks on the album cover everything from Mqanga to Kwaito with nods to Reggae (check the Thola Amadlozi remix), it remains to be seen which one will find favour with the masses but the title track Thola Amadlozi jams in the same vibe as her previous hits. I also like "Nakupenda (I Love You)" with its Mqanga-flavoured beat and the praise-style vocal (singer unknown) interludes. This may be the hit off the album, we'll see. The album, as with all her others, is produced by Chicco Twala.