Possibly the greatest of the South-African groaners (sarcastic singers in a croaking/growling/roaring register), Simon "Mahlathini" Nkabinde ("the lion of Soweto") created an exuberant brand of mbaqanga music on albums such as Putting on the Light (1975), backed by female singers the Mahotella Queens (heirs to the "smodern" tradition, a sort of Tamla soul adapted to Zulu's polyphonic choirs) and boasting the rock instrumental arrangements of producer, saxophonist and pennywhistle player West Nkosi (leader of the Makgona Tsohle Band with Marks Mankwane on guitar).
His vocals, rivaling Howlin' Wolf's, dominate the westernized albums Isomiso (1983), Thokozile (1987) and Paris-Soweto (1988), but his roar is muffled on Rhythm and Art (1990) and Mbaqanga (1991).
The Lion Roars (1991), Lion Of Soweto (1993) and King Of The Groaners (1993) collect 1970s recordings.
Mahlathini died in 1999.
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