E & S BROTHERS - Taduma


E & S Brothers’ 1985 album Taduma holds a unique yet overlooked place in the history of South African dance music. When Shadrack Ndlovu and Ernest Segeel teamed up with Dane Stevenson, owner of Blue Tree Studio in downtown Johannesburg, and journeyman producer Taso Stephanou, South Africa’s bubblegum era had just begun, spurred on by the success of Shangaan disco. 

The relative success of their debut 12” ‘Don’t Bang The Taxi Door’, marketed aggressively at taxi ranks throughout the country, helped put the Blue Tree label on the map and E & S were invited back to record a full album: Taduma, featuring on keyboards Dr Buke, an in-demand session player from Soweto.

Rooted in Africa, yet purely electronic, Taduma was a moderate hit, spurred by tracks like ‘Taxi Door’ and ‘Mhane’, its hypnotic refrain ‘Mhane, famba na wena’ meaning ‘Mother, I am going to you’. Other tracks like ‘Mapantsula’ and ‘Be Careful’ place Taduma within the street-savvy ‘pantsula’ style and dance synonymous with consecutive waves of music from disco to kwaito, house and beyond, while ‘Sikele Masike’ repurposes a traditional Shangaan work song. 

Vocally E & S are closer to rapping than singing, in a combination of English and vernacular – predating other credited pioneers of kwaito in SA like Senyaka and Spokes H. Driving the music instead of vocals are waves of searing synths over rudimentary but explosive drum machine sounds – the word ‘Taduma’ meaning the sound of the drum.

Remastered from the original tapes and reissued for the first time, Taduma will be available on vinyl and digital platforms from May 2022 via Afrosynth Records. Order it here.

1 comment:

  1. The "Mhane" track is the one, it's perfect. I remember when I first heard it as a kid in the 80's, I was so impressed by the drum programming/progression, base and the synthesizer. In my mind this track held its own compared with various international tracks, house music tracks, we used to call it international back then in Pretoria. I used to hang out for hours at a record bar listening various electronic music track which I come to learn that it is actually defined as house music. I have been hooked since then. And over the years I have watched verious versions of our South African house music come into play. The so called Amapiano were super great when they started and it was possible to distinguish between the tracks when the keyboard in the genres was still a key element. Now all the tracks sound the same and some of the lyrics are a bit too silly for me and this is the exact reason that the led to the demise of the Kwaito genres. Too many people copying one another, no creativity any more and they almost all sound the same. That's why deep soul full house music produced by the likes of Nutty NYS,Nasty Nev, Myself will take over the world and have longetivty and possibly be remembered like I remember the first time I heard "Mahne" by E & S brothers in the late 86 early 87.