Maskanda from the township of Umlazi in Durban, South Africa. Produced and recorded by Juno Reactor's Ben Watkins in 1995 during his residence at the seconf Outernational Meltdown sessions in Johannesburg. The album features sessions by Busi Mhlongo, Jessica Lauren, Lungiswa, Max Laesser and Pops Mohamed.
Recorded end of 1995 at Downtown
Studios in Johannesburg during the second Outernational Meltdown
recordings by M.E.L.T. 20000. It was during these sessions when Ben
Watkins discovered the talents of Mabi Thobejane and members of
Amampondo which consequently led to the first tour of Juno Reactor with
African musicians. Juno Reactor toured the USA with Moby at that point.
Skeleton are a Durban (Zulu) based maskanda group and for the first time
in the long history of this very traditional form of rap presented
almost exclusively by male, have stomping techno flavored beats put a
new twist to it. Ben Watkinks's production skills are immaculate and his
range of musical taste allows for working with always new and
When originally recorded Skeleton was a four-piece Maskanda band from
Zululand featuring: Themba "Ncane" Ngubane, born December 23, 1957, in
Greytown, lead singer and drums; the late"Skeleton" Musa Ngubane, born
1960 in Greytown, late lead guitarist; Mangisi Zondo, born 1963 in
Bulwer, keyboards and the late Zandile Zuma, born 1972 in Greytown,
backing vocals and bass. All members of the band came from the rural
towns of Zululand and resided in the sprawling township of Umlazi,
south of Durban
Themba Ngubane, a heavyweight boxer and bodyguard, remians the only
surviving member having formed a new group since this recording from
1995 consisting mainly of family members. Themba's passion for Zulu
music was instilled in him by his late mother and, growing up in
Greytown where he was surrounded by people who loved music and were
always singing and dancing. In the late '70s, Themba formed a band
called Izihlobo (Neighbors) with a group of blind musicians; he being
the only sighted one. They proved to be so popular that they their
debut album, on the Gallo label in 1980, yielded four number-one hits
on Radio Zulu's Ezodumo show. In the late '80s, Themba formed a new
band called MShoza, but their development was abruptly arrested when
three members were gunned down in the township of Clermont.
After this tragic incident, Themba came very close to giving up on his
music, and it was only through the support and counseling of Leonard
Gwala from Ndwedwe, north of Durban, that he found the strength to
carry on after the loss of his fellows. Gwala taught him that
perseverance is the mother of success.
The two other people who have inspired Themba most, in terms of his
career, are the late Obed Sishi, the former Radio Zulu DJ, and
Professor Joseph Shabalala of Ladysmith Black Mambazo.