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Soweto String Quartet: Renaissance

The sound of Soweto usually doesn’t conjure something as quaint as a European classical chamber group. Yet the bittersweet lyricism and lithe rhythms of South Africa’s Township Jive certainly should lend itself to the formal adaptation.

Unfortunately, Soweto String Quartet’s Renaissance amounts to nothing more than pre-fab piffle suited for those annoying “jazzy” radio stations and weather channel background music. The collections of various South African folk songs are filtered through gooey global-beat fusion that reduces the inspiring melodies and danceable rhythms to neo-conservative hipness. The smaltzy “Weeping” which features an anonymous MOR-radio friendly lead vocal that could have easily been lifted from one of Peter Gabriel’s icky-sweet world-beat albums. The rest . . .well, why even bother?

Originally Published