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Strut revives a lost recording from the archives in January with a 2002 collaboration between acclaimed South African folk singer Vusi Mahlasela, singer songwriter Norman Zulu and Swedish jazz / soul collective Jive Connection.

The links between South Africa and Sweden have long been strong with Sweden one of the most supportive European nations in the struggle against apartheid; the government helped to fund the ANC for decades and Mandela visited the country on one of his first European stops following his release from prison in 1990.

Sotho folk singer Vusi Mahlasela, dubbed “The Voice” Of South Africa, performed at Mandela’s inauguration in 1994 and has enjoyed his own long relationship with Sweden, regularly embarking on cultural exchanges and forging a strong bond with the Jive Connection band, featuring guitarist / bassist Stefan Bergman and Little Dragon drummer Erik Bodin within its line-up.

Although touring regularly, the collaboration has rarely been documented beyond a lone studio album in 1994. This “lost” recording, discovered in the archives of producer Torsten Larsson, also features songwriter / vocalist Norman Zulu and showcases their natural musical chemistry together. Vusi’s songs have traditionally addressed the struggle for freedom and the need for reconciliation and, here, his lyrics are as powerful as ever, ranging from parables (‘Prodigal Son’) to an unflinching lament on child abuse (‘Faceless People’). Jive Connection vary the soundtrack, bringing in hints of reggae, jazz and post-punk alongside traditional township arrangements.

Face To Face is mastered by The Carvery. Artwork features unseen photos from the album sessions along with full lyrics. Produced in association with Torsten Larsson. 

Vusi Mahlasela, Norman Zulu, Jive Connection – Face To Face

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