Sunday, April 12, 2009

Rediscovered: Mango Time

Tony Bird: Mango Time


A front row seat at the feet of Malawi-born, Zimbabwe-raised singer and songwriter Tony Bird was my very first introduction into the small coffeehouse scene that defines modern folk music performance -- an anomaly, as the music he plays is both decidedly South African, and ranges far wider and broader into rock and blues than the typical american strands of folk which form the contemporary type.

Tony Bird's poorly designed website suggests he's still making the same music he was back then -- indeed, he'll be appearing at Passim, the very same club where I first saw him, in June. And his short, fragmented Wikipedia entry suggests that I saw him during his comeback tour, after a two record emergence in the seventies, and a short tour with Ladysmith Black Mambazo in the eighties.

I wouldn't have known, except a few weeks ago I spent the week in my father's house, helping him recover from surgery. I found this CD in his collection, spun it for the first time in fifteen years, and was pleased to find how quickly the funky, fruity, percussive world beat took me back to that very first folk concert.

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