The story of South African singer and dancer Penny Penny is fit for Hollywood. A nearly homeless janitor with no education gets a record deal, becomes a multi-platinum-selling pop star, plays stadiums across Africa, then builds a career as a politician for Mandela's African National Congress party. Penny Penny's debut recording Shaka Bundu, recorded in 1994, is the album that took a 34-year-old Giyani Kulani Kobane from the streets of Johannesburg to the chambers of power.
After a chance meeting with Tsonga disco producer Joe Shirimani, just six months after apartheid was lifted, Penny Penny's Shaka Bundu was released and entered the consciousness of the entire country. Penny Penny became an immediate sensation, against the expectations of everyone involved. The album went on to sell more than 250,000 copies in South Africa and Penny Penny has played to thousands on stadium stages from Liberia and Sierra Leone to Namibia and Mozambique.
The music was something new for Tsonga disco. Slow house music rhythms became the foundation for Penny's anthemic exultations. Using Atari computers, Korg M1 synthesizer and reel-to-reel tape for vocals, Penny and Shirimani cut the entire record in just seven days. Their signature bass sound combined richness and sharpness with the root tones of an organ. Penny's rap-like delivery became his calling card: a husky, playful vocal performance heavy on vibes.
Nearly 20 years since Shaka Bundu blasted from speakers across a newly free South Africa, the music still sounds big and worldly. And, despite shifting his energies from stadium shows to municipal matters, Penny Penny still sports his signature top-bun hairstyle.
3. Ndzihere Bhi
4. Dance Khomela
5. Shaka Bundu
7. Milandu Bhe
8. Shichangani (Remix)