Published on April 24th, 2014 | by seenheard0
Mango Groove @ Metro City
In their first Australian tour in two decades, iconic South African band Mango Groove are heading back down under for a string of special tour dates this May and June. The tour will also see the band perform in New Zealand for the first time. Mango Groove are a musical institution in South Africa, in the 30 years since their inception they’ve had over 20 platinum sales in the country, and 12 #1 charting hits, as well as incredible successes overseas. The band still hold the legendary status of the largest live attendance for any South African artist thanks to their six sold- out shows at the Sun City Superbowl, six consecutive sold-out shows at the Standard Bank Arena and unforgettable performances to 20,000 plus people at Greenpoint Stadium in Cape Town.
Mango Groove burst onto the mid-1980’s South African music scene and they haven’t stopped since. Their 1989 debut album went six times platinum and their sound, described as Big Band Marabi-pop has captured the hearts of music lovers around the world. They’ve toured extensively and their considerable back catalogue has earned them a stellar reputation amongst music fans of all ages. Their return to Australia in 2014 and the busy year they’ve got planned mark a special milestone for the band, both as musicians and proud South Africans. They’ll be writing and organising pre-production for a new album to be recorded in 2015 and putting on some massive outdoor concerts in their home country.
Band founder and leader John Leyden says the year ahead is a huge one for all South Africans. “(It is a year) full of celebration and mourning,” he says. “We are celebrating 20 years of democracy, we have national elections coming up and – I think I speak for all South Africans on this – we are still coming to terms with the enormous sense of loss and grief over the passing of Nelson Mandela. With Nelson Mandela, we were incredibly honoured to be part of his presidential inauguration, so for us there was a very poignant sense of a full circle when we attended his memorial too. There are a lot of very strong links between Oz and South Africa, including a strong South African ex-pat community, so we really hope that we see a lot of old friends, as well as making many new ones. The Mango show is very much about celebrating our South African-ness, but equally it’s also about having a big, noisy world party – so we really hope to see everyone there.”
Despite a 20-year gap in tours to Australia, John says the band all have fond memories of their last tour in the 1990s. “It’s such a huge, open country and we were struck by how beautiful it is,” he says. “We are nature lovers, so the skies, the climates, the forests, the oceans, the open spaces and the animals were amazing to us – something so different and so unique. We have incredibly fond memories of the shows and the people – everyone was so warmly hospitable and the audiences were wildly supportive and seemed to know all the songs – it was very humbling for us. We can’t wait to get back!”
The 11-piece band will be traversing their hits during their tour, performing tracks from their debut album to their latest release Bang the Drum. Tracks like Dance Sum More, Special Star, Hometalk, Moments Away, Another Country and Bang the Drum, to name a few, will make up the party atmosphere. Mango Groove are well known for their spontaneity on stage, which means you never know what to expect and no two nights are the same. Their live sets are incredible and unforgettable – they are one of those bands that you just have to see in the live arena.
Mango Groove’s live set also includes a fair bit of audience participation and John fondly remembers Australian audiences. “They are very passionate supporters (as with their sport),” he says. “They are very well-informed musically and are very worldly, given that Australia is a central touring destination for all artists. They are amazingly appreciative and rowdy, and it means a lot to get a good response from them. If memory serves us correctly, they are pretty fine singers too!”
Don’t miss this chance to catch one of South Africa’s best bands as they bring their unforgettable tour to Australia this year. Whether you saw them 20 years ago, are a new fan, or are ready to experience some incredible live music, this is an experience not to miss. Tickets are on sale now.