Recorded Live at the Shebeen Queen’s house - 15 September 2018 – Mamelodi, South Africa
Vusi Mahlasela, the legendary activist and singer-songwriter known as “The Voice” in his native South Africa, will release a new live album of traditional township songs titled Shebeen Queen. The “Shebeen Queen” of the title is Mahlasela’s late grandmother Ida who raised him in the township of Mamelodi where he still lives today. Following her husband’s murder in 1961, Ida opened a shebeen (speakeasy) and began selling homebrewed beer to make her living. Her space became known for its lively musical gatherings at night, where the townspeople would use buckets, tins, and plastic drums as instruments, and Ingoma'buksu - music rooted in Mbube culture, meaning “Songs of the Night” - would be celebrated with everyone singing together in full voices.
Shebeen Queen is a celebration of township music and is dedicated to Vusi’s Granthmother Ida, the “Shebeen Queen”. “She was and still is my greatest hero” says Vusi.