Amajika – Got My Magic Working
La Casa Tropical
Heavy South African cut, unearthed by Dene from LCT, All about the massive title track ''Got My Magic Working''...
The origins of Amajika is a tale of two worlds colliding at the perfect moment and begin in KwaMushu Township outside Durban. Here would be where a young Tu Nokwe would set up a school to help teach other aspiring youngsters like herself in music, dance and acting. This would become known as the Amajika Youth and Children’s Art Project and would be run from the Nokwe home, a common hangout for artists at the time. Some boast 2000+ pupils going through this program while others claim it wasn’t more than a backyard dance group, but for the lucky group of kids that were members in the mid 80s it would be their chance at stardom.
It was during these years that a young aspiring playwright and musician Mbongeni Ngema had come across Tu and her group of gifted youngsters at the Nokwe family home. Although he was touring extensively at the time with the plays Woza Albert and Asinamali, the latter which eventually ended up on broadway, he would spend any time off from the tour with Tu and her dance troop. After being inspired by the American group New Edition, Mbongeni envisioned Amajika as the South African answer and decided to bankroll a studio session.
The session would take place in a private studio in Durban.The release of the first single would follow very shortly. The lead track, Tomati-So is a fun swinging groove over some basic programmed drums. The song is dedicated to Tu Nokwe sings of her unique style and kind heart. On his next tour Mbongeni would take the remaining masters with him to the US and had the track remixed. Although it never materialized in a release States side he did return with the remixed tape and release it in South Africa the following year. Much like Tomato So the song was an ode and would be dedicated to the man who was making all their dreams come true. Got My Magic Working sings of going overseas and being a star on Broadway and TV and the man who is making it all happen. All these true predictions are sung on top of a groovy acid bass by a clearly matured troop of artists.
During these years of working with Amajika, Mbongeni became very impressed with the exceeding talent of one of the members and decided to cast her in his upcoming musical Sarafina. The other children also wanted to be a part of the Broadway show but not everyone would get a role. This would be the end of Amajika as the next years would be dedicated to creating success on the musical stage. The growing kids that formed Amajika became young adults and pursued their own careers after the fact. Tu Nokwe would leave the country to return years later as the wife of Shaka Zulu on the big screen. To this day she is still very active both on stage and screen while Mbongeni is still writing and adding to the South African Musical Theatre catalog.
Fast forward 30 years from the original release to a smokey club where ESA hears Got My Magic Working played by Rush Hours Store’s own Bonnefooi. Instantly he inquires about the track from his homeland and feels it a perfect addition the repertoire of the Afro Synth band he is quietly cooking up. The band’s instrumental take ended up as the B side on a mysterious and limited white label released by Rush Hour in early 2020 but quickly sold out.
Here you have compiled the two title tracks from original Amajika singles along with the instrumental version by ESA’s Afro Synth Band for The complete Amajika experience, past to present.
A1. Got My Magic Working
B1. Tomati So
Format: 12-inch Vinyl
Label: La Casa Tropical
Catalog: LCT 007
Genre: Funk / Soul / Disco