1996 album. Also available on CD.
Penny Penny (real name Giyani Kulani) is a South African musician known affectionately as the “Shangaan Disco King” for the musical style he helped popularise and ‘Yogo Yogo’ is his second album from 1996. The rags-to-riches chronicle of Penny Penny’s life would be remarkable if he had only released his smash debut ‘Shaka Bundu’ and packed houses for a few years. But the inimitable South African singer and dancer known for his trademark top ponytail and emphatic anthems was no one-hit wonder.
In the aftermath of ‘Shaka Bundu’s’ nationwide explosion, far beyond his country the album resonated with ever bigger audiences. He performed up and down the continent, building fanbases in more than a dozen countries. ‘Yogo Yogo’ solidified Penny Penny’s standing in pop music nationally and provided new energy to his pan-African stadium-filling adventures. The album reflected the era in which it emerged. If Shaka Bundu arrived triumphantly amid newfound political freedom in South Africa with the end of Apartheid and Nelson Mandela’s election, ‘Yogo Yogo’ was a next level expression for the maturing artist. He wanted to get a message out.
Composed with Joe Shirimani, who also produced the album, the sound and compositional style echoes the earlier recording but the topical nature of the lyrics became more deliberate, more didactic. In the song “Ingani” Penny proclaims, we are all one people even though we may speak different languages while “Kulani Kulani,” which means grow up, urges young people to say no to drugs and yes to education. “Ama Owners”, referring to the public transport drivers involved in violent rumbles, asks the nation’s drivers to relax because we need them for our safe arrival.
Penny explains. “Our music was traditional before. But I brought a mix of rock and disco and it became the bomb. Every star won’t be popular without your own style. The songs just happened. Joe is very good at listening and producing, he has lots of patience. When he played the keyboard I would sing, standing behind him once he finished the rhythm, I would sing it all in one take, non-stop. We were not using computers to record, we were singing live.” Fast-forward to 2020, Penny Penny is deep in the political game and appears on television 6 times a week as the star of his own reality TV show, “Papa Penny Ahee!”. He is setting up an avocado farm and provides fifty families in his region with food every month via his charitable foundation.
Tracklisting: Ibola Aids / Ingani / Amarumasi / Kulani Kulani / Hai Kamina / Dodomedzi (CD Bonus) / Yogo Yogo / Ti Samaboko / Ama Owners / Kulani Kulani (Remix) CD Bonus