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Mafokate, Arthur (South Africa)  
Arthur Mofakate

THERE are few more captivating music personalities in South Africa than Arthur Mafokate.

A musician, singer, producer, performer, songwriter and television personality, Arthur (or Mr Vuvuzela as he’s also known) is undeniably one of the country’s most loved individuals: At the FNB South African Music Awards, Arthur scooped the rest of the music industry to take home the award for Song of the Year. A new category, Song of the Year is voted for by the South African music listening public and the success of Arthur’s song, Oyi Oyi, in a year when the competition was strong is indicative of his enduring appeal for his hundreds of thousands of fans.

When he first came to public attention in the late 1980s, Arthur was not a singer, but a dancer who’d won the Dance Categories at a number of different competitions including the Shell Road to Fame Talent Search and the Town Talk Pantsula Dance Competition.




He also made his mark on the modelling world, having taken the Mr Soweto title and achieved runner-up status in the Mr South Africa competition.

But, in spite of these successes and potential career directions, Arthur instinctively knew he wanted to be involved in the music business. Drawing inspiration from his role model, Chicco, Arthur set about looking for a recording deal, and , after some intermittent success, he secured a deal with CCP records.

Instrumentation:
vocals, arranger
Genre: kwaito
Arthur’s first few offerings Windy Windy and the concept project, Bambezela draw a moderate response. However, the time spent working on these two projects enabled Arthur to hone his skills as a producer as well as a performer and songwriter, preparing the way for the album which, in many ways, changed the face of the local music industry.

Kaffir, released in mid-1995, was a six-track EP that stamped Arthur as an artist unafraid to court controversy or state his strongly held opinions. The EP, which featured four versions of Kaffir and two of a track called Daai Ding (which railed against those who ostracize Shangaan speakers) featured the lyrics “Nee baas…don’t call me Kaffir' underpinned by a steady kwaito beat. While being banned by a few radio stations, the song caught the imagination of the country’s youth and the EP went on to sell in excess of 150 000 copies.

Kaffir also stamped Arthur as a kwaito originator and he was soon looking for other projects to tackle. He found these in New School and Abashante, both of which Arthur produced and for which he wrote material, once again showcasing his broad range of talents.

The 1996 release, Die Poppe Sal Dans, silence those critics who’d dubbed Arthur’s success with Kaffir a one-off. The album, which featured the artist in a more sophisticated mood, sold in excess of 60 000 units and ensured Arthur’s profile continued in all forms of media.

The King of Kwaito, as Arthur has been dubbed by his fans, is not one to rest on his laurels and in 1997, Arthur released the blasting force of sound that was Oyi Oyi. Solid hard-hitting kwaito tracks are the hallmark of this alum, which kicked off with the killer single, Oyi Oyi - a track blessed with a great hook and all the necessary humour and gimmicks that make kwaito songs hits. Other standouts on the album were Hayi Wena, Koti Koti and Yu Make Me Go Mmmm, which revealed Arthur’s pop side.

1998 has proved to be another stellar year in the reign of kwaito king Arthur.

Besides his FNB Sama success, Arthur has begun to have an impact on the overseas marker, with a promotional performance in Spain last year knocking the socks off the sometimes jaded international music.

Arthur is near completion of his new album, Farewell, which promises to reveal the future sound of kwaito.

Already Yiyo, the ep featuring track from Farewell, points to a new direction for the man who has been likened to America’s Sean “Puffy" Combs with his ability to perform, write songs, produce and unearth fresh new talent.

The opening track off Yiyo, “Yiyo Lendawo" is vintage Arthur but better!

On the song, Arthur propels his trademark kwaito grooves into faster territory and the song revolves around a scorching female vocal and Arthur’s unmistakable, humour –infused lyrics.

With its jazzy piano solo, horn-like sounds and traditional chorus hook, “Pule Pule" is a sure–fire hit which showcases a whole new musical journey for Arthur. The track, like everything Arthur touches, is hugely dance-friendly but it is also demonstrates Arthur’s musical intelligence with its layering of a rhythmical mbqanga vocal over a steady kwaito beat.

Likewise, “”Khauleza" skillfully combines contemporary sounds with vocals that hark back to South African stalwart artists like Mahlathini and the Mahotella Queens. The track benefits from a far more rootsy and earthy sound, particularly the mbqanga sounding guitar pieces and the strong female vocals.

Farewell is dedicated to the memory of Arthur’s brother, Makhendlas, which lends the project a subtle serious tone and takes Arthur to new musical and lyrical heights.

For this multi-talented individual, the secret to his success is not hard: “I commit myself in everything that I do. Give me a script now to portray a character, for example, and you’ll see my dedication. I’d never claim my looks have anything to do with my success. It’s entirely what comes from within me."
  Recordings : Mafokate, Arthur
 
Haai Bo

Haai Bo
 
Meet My Tempo

Meet My Tempo
 
Mnike

Mnike

click here for more about these and other recordings by : Mafokate, Arthur


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