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This German soul lady holds a very special place in my heart. I mean, apart from the obvious fact that I wouldn’t mind having a cup of tea with her, she has everything a real singer should have. I’m actually afraid I might kill the magic if I try to talk about it, and that suddenly, her voice would stop sending shivers down my spine (in a good way, mind you), or that I could stop thinking about her lyrics that tell of a mature woman and mother who lives a real life, whether she’s grieving over a love lost, whether she gives the minorities a voice or whether she tells all other so-called R&B artists what time it is. Hell, even when she sings a lullaby to her son, it’s straight butter, but always with this little extra special something. It’s always real and heartfelt and far from the usual clichés you get served on the telly. She sings in several languages, and she’s smart, too… I need to stop now or I’ll get into serious trouble with my fiancée.

Joy’s Dad is from South Africa, her mother from Berlin, Germany, where Joy grew up. Her first album, Mamani (mother) is dedicated to her mom, and it also reflects her own becoming a mother, among many other things. The lyrics are mostly in German, but some South African languages, English and French can also be heard on this one. Contains a cover version of Billy Holiday’s “I cover the waterfront.” Billy would be awfully proud.

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Joy Denalane – Mamani (2002)

The second one is a live album, something I don’t ususally mess with, unless the live musicians do an incredible job like they do here with her material off Mamani, but they make it sound like another brandnew album altogether. On top of reworked versions of her own material, she sings Prince’s “Sign o’ The Times” the way Prince would’ve wanted to sing it if he had only a tenth of her voice. I’ve had this on repeat for weeks and I never grew tired of this album. Truly beauteous.

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Joy Denalane – Mamani Live (2004)

And as our third blessing today, I bring to you her latest album, Born & Raised. This one was made after she packed up her husband Max (of Freundeskreis fame who executive produces her music) and the two kids and went to the States for a few months to record an entire album in English. Some better known cats make guest appearances on her songs, like Lupe Fiasco, or Raekwon, to name two. Again, I can’t say how much I enjoy this album.

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Joy Denalane – Born & Raised (2006)

If you think you enjoy good music but you’ve never really been a huge fan of soul or you think it’s nothing but these high-gloss chicks you see on MTV, these will show you that there IS life and hope out there… :)

And here’s her video to “Im Ghetto von Soweto” off her first album, a track that talks about people’s everyday struggle in places like the infamous township, as you’ll be able to guess by watching the video. The track’s actually been re-made for the latest album, with an entirely different musical feel. Both are great stuff.

Joy’s Myspace

Joy’s Website

Peace, 9@home