Bongo Maffin’s Bio


Bongolution is about revolution.

It's the sound of South Africa today. The sound of the first generation of South Africans unshackled from the specter of apartheid. It's the sound of Bongo Maffin, one of the most popular groups in South Africa today, leading "kwaito" music into the future and across the planet.

While other South African genres came to life in public gathering places such as churches, weddings and village gatherings, kwaito sprung up in the charged atmosphere of dance clubs floors. With apartheid successfully dismantled, South African youth in the mid 90'sbegan to embrace pan-national styles such as house, reggae and rap.  With the pride of an emerging nation, however, they made the styles their own.   The emerging style became   known as kwaito (pronounced: kwite-o), local slang for  "hot” or    "dangerous." Kwaito performers included elements from many of South Africa's myriad pop genres. Kwaito soon became the soundtrack for a new generation with its own ideas, fashions and lifestyle.

Bongo Maffin formed in 1996, starting as a project of South African deejay Oscar.  Appleseed was born and raised in Zimbabwe, but brings a distinct reggae flavor to the group's music. Stoan began his musical career as a singer for the kwaito band Thebe. Thandwisa (Red), joined in 1997 after working with them as a backup singer and studio musician. The group's expansive and spiritual take on the dance-oriented genre has been compared to the Fugees' broadening of American hip-hop.  The comparison is reinforced even more by singer, Thandwisa's soulful crooning, which is likely to bring to mind the Fugees' Lauryn Hill. Their common passion for music has had a synergistic effect on their collective creativity.

The trio's music is firmly rooted in the rhythms of house music, but they incorporate reggae, dancehall, rap and contemporary R&B. The group, however, also gives props to their homeland, adding the sounds from South Africa's many homegrown genres:  the bouncy beats of mbaqanga, gospel and the choral sound of iscathamiya made famous by Ladysmith Black Mambazo."Bongolution" is the group's first international release on Sony Music International/Lightyear Entertainment, and their fourth album, which finds them continuing to expand into the boundaries of kwaito. "Twasa" talks of going through a right of passage while moving to a funky house beat. "The Way (Kungakhona)" embraces both township jive and contemporary electronic rhythms. "Will U be There" thrusts Thandwisa among the world's best R&B crooners.  With its unique sound and style, Bongo Maffin has already become the world ambassadors of kwaito.  They have been tapped for shows by international stars such as Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan, Skunk Anansie and Boys to Men.  They also had the privilege to perform at Nelson Mandela's birthday celebration.   When the Central Park Summerstage Festival series wanted to premiere kwaito music in New York City, the producers chose Bongo Maffin.On the home front, they won the South African Music Award for "Best Kwaito Artist" in 1999 and recently were the recipients of the 2001 KORA All African Music