The American label reissues Yogo Yogo, the second album of the “Shangaan Disco King” released in 1996.
The South African Penny Penny is known both for his haircut (a ponytail on the top of his head that looks like a palm tree) and for his very danceable disco sound. Being the 68th child of a doctor in the Limpopo region of South Africa, the artist first distinguished himself in dance before moving on to music and becoming one of the leading figures of Tsonga disco, a South African musical genre greatly influenced by American and English house music, also known as Shangaan Disco.
In 2013, Awesome Tapes from Africa brought out his first album Shaka Bundu, released in 1994 and marked by pop synths representing the South African disco and house scene. Between the end of apartheid and Neslon’s rise to power, the album, sung in Xihlanganu, the language of his region, reflects his era and blows a wind of freedom in the clubs of the country, but also around the world. The eponymous song “Shaka Bundu” managed to make an international breakthrough and get many people dancing, and was even covered in nightclubs in the United States, leading the singer to bigger international and local projects.
This year, the label announced the reissue of Yogo Yogo, Penny Penny’s second album released in 1996, with which the artist made his name as a national star. We find him with a more mature, deliberate and moralizing speech, as on the song “Kulani Kulani”, on which Penny urges young people to say no to drugs and yes to education.
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. Penny still plays huge shows around South Africa and will appear at some Europe’s biggest festivals in 2021.
Yogo Yogo, out on August 14th on Awesome Tapes from Africa — preorder available via Bandcamp.