Prince Kupi - Loxion


South Africa's government-sponsored Arts Alive festival invited Andy Narell to come and play in September 1999. He never expected to play in front of more than eighty thousand. Two albums on the Heads Up Records label were the result: "Smooth Africa" and Andy Narell's "Live in South Africa". But the cooperation between Sheer Sound and Heads Up Records and their contributing artists is much more intensive. In July 2002 Andy Narell produced Prince Kupi's debut album "Loxion". Most of you will certainly know Andy Narell by his favorite instrument: the steel pans. On this album he is mainly playing Fender Rhodes. What you can await: Contemporary jazz with strong South African sound.

The title song Loxion reveals Prince Kupi's two outstanding skills: guitar playing and singing. His model is Jimmy Dludlu, a member of McCoy's band. Prince was drawn to Jimmy's character in his playing, similar to that of George Benson. His second idol is Louis Mhlanga with his scat singing. 

The South African flavor turns on with Botsotsi. The song is especially recommend to fans of percussion music. Concerning the title "Bo-Tsotsi" I suggest to read C. Glaser's book about the Youth Gangs of Soweto. It's also a traditional folk tune that was in the townships when Prince Kupi was growing up.

Bohlowka is deeper into the jazz. Marcus Wyatt is playing the muted trumpet and Sydney Mnisi the sax. Prince Kupi shows his bluesy style.

Mahamba Uzobuya has more of the typical South African character with quick guitar riffs and melodious vocals.

If you miss Andy Narell's steel pans, on Ozone Layer one can listen to his music. Don't wonder about the title. Prince Kupi comments: "We want people to be aware of the threat to the ozone layer."

Fine slow smooth jazz is presented on Life Is Good. Marcus Wyatt's affinity to Miles Davis is obviously.

Ba'Agisane was the name of the band Prince Kupi was leading in Durban. May be you was the lucky one attending their performance in the Polo Lounge or Rivets of the Durban Hilton Hotel. Now listen to this tune with a special Salsa feeling. Ba'Agisane is taken from a Tswana word meaning "neighbours".The c-jazz quintet Ba'agisane performed most of their own material which reflects diverse musical influences such as standard jazz, Latin and contemporary as well as Afro-centric mbaqanga and Afro-fusion. They have played on South African television and appear on the CD Trios Plus produced by Darius Brubeck.

Nomsa is dedicated to Prince Kupi's sister. Nomsa is a popular given name in South Africa. A laid-back tune with much feeling.

When musicians have the groove together they usually say it's in the pocket. Livin' In Da Pocket proofs this truth. This piece could also be on Ronny Jordan's new album.

Song For Bheki is dedicated to Bheki Mseleku, a South African musician who recorded albums like "Celebration", "Meditations", "Timelessness", "Star Seeding" and "Beauty of Sunrise". He fuses African elements with jazz arrangements and strong piano playing. If you know Bheki you will understand this tune. An untroubled cheerful piece, a remedy of soul.

With "Loxion" Prince Kupi will soon find a great community of fans worldwide.