Mahlathini and the Mahotella Queens (also known as Mahlathini Nezintombi Zomgqashiyo - Mahlathini and the Girls of Mgqashiyo) was a South African mbaqanga supergroup composed of: The late Simon 'Mahlathini' Nkabinde (1937-1999), a phenomenal singer in the basso-profundo 'groaning' style, The mgqashiyo session group Mahotella Queens (1964-present), known for their fast-paced dancing and multi-part harmonies - originally five members from 1964-1986, now a trio (1986-present), The mbaqanga instrumental band Makgona Tsohle Band (1963-1999), led by the late Marks Mankwane and West Nkosi, In 1998, band member West Nkosi was killed in a road accident. Marks Mankwane died not long afterwards, followed by the death of Mahlathini in July 1999, thus ending the group's existence. Despite this, the Mahotella Queens recruited brand new (younger) musicians in a new group line-up and continue performing and recording to this day, having released successful albums such as Sebai Bai (2001), Bazobuya (2004), Reign & Shine (2005) and Siyadumisa (Songs of Praise) (2007). History, Mahlathini, the Queens and the Makgona Tsohle Band had become famous as individual artists, but had frequently recorded together since 1964. It was only in 1986, when the demand for South African music arose through Paul Simon's Graceland album, that Gallo Record Company (the three artists' label) paired them together permanently. Mahlathini was known as the "Lion of Soweto" (his voice was a low, "gravel-like" groan) and was well known throughout South Africa and neighboring countries such as Zimbabwe and Botswana during his career. He began singing in the 1950s, often working in conjunction with top producer Rupert Bopape at EMI South Africa, and often performing with the girl group the Dark City Sisters. When Bopape moved to Gallo Record Company in 1964 to start up the new African subsidiary, Mavuthela Music, he brought Mahlathini with him. The bass vocalist's career then took off. He was backed by Bopape's newly-formed Makgona Tsohle Band (soon to become the hardest-working mbaqanga session team in the country, led by the country's electric guitar pioneer Marks Mankwane as well as saxophone star West Nkosi) and often recorded with Bopape's newly-formed (and highly-successful) Mahotella Queens. Mahotella Queens was initially a group of five female vocalists established at the Mavuthela division in 1964 by Bopape, who introduced Hilda Tloubatla to sing the main lead vocals. The Queens began recording hit singles and albums with their backing, the Makgona Tsohle Band, and were often fronted by Mahlathini. In 1971, Mahlathini signed with rival company EMI, and the original Queens all ended up joining rival girl groups. Bopape formed a new Mahotella Queens line-up, who most notably recorded the 1977 album Izibani Zomgqashiyo with Robert "Mbazo" Mkhize (in the place of Mahlathini). In 1983, the original five Queens (Hilda Tloubatla, Nobesuthu Mbadu, Mildred Mangxola, Juliet Mazamisa and Ethel Mngomezulu) reunited with Mahlathini and the Makgona Tsohle Band with the comeback release Amaqhawe Omgqashiyo (Heroes of Mgqashiyo Music). After one more hiatus, three of the Queens (Hilda Tloubatla, Nobesuthu Mbadu and Mildred Mangxola) regrouped full-time in 1986. Selected discography, Title Label/catalogue Release year The Best of Mahlathini and the Mahotella Queens Warner Jazz 2007 Siyadumisa (Songs of Praise) Bula Music/AS Entertainment (CDBULA 203) 2007 The Best of Mahlathini and the Mahotella Queens (reissue) Gallo Record Company (CDGSP 50) 2007 Stoki Stoki (reissue) Gallo Record Company (CDGMP 40539) 2007 Paris-Soweto (reissue) Gallo Record Company (CDGMP 40314) 2007 Mahlathini and the Mahotella Queens: The Hits Gallo Record Company (GMVCOM 1007) 2006 Reign & Shine Wrasse Records/AS Entertainment (WRASS177) 2006 Kazet Marabi Productions/AS Entertainment 2005 Reign & Shine African Cream Music/AS Entertainment (ACM-CD 042) 2005 Bazobuya Gallo Record Company (GWVCD 53) 2004 The Best Of: The Township Idols Wrasse Records (WRASS098) 2003 Sebai Bai Harmonia Mundi/Label Bleu/Gallo (LBLC 2571) 2001 Umuntu Gallo Record Company (CDGMP 40788) 1999 Stoki Stoki Shanachie Records 1996 Stoki Stoki Gallo Record Company (CDGMP 40539) 1994 Women of the World Gallo Record Company (CDGMP 40331) 1993 King of the Groaners (Part II) Earthworks Music 1993 The Lion Roars Shanachie Records 1993 Mbaqanga Gallo Record Company (BL 742) 1991 The Best of Mahlathini and the Mahotella Queens Gallo Record Company (CDHUL 40274) 1991 Rhythm & Art Shanachie Records 1990 Rhythm & Art Gallo Record Company 1989 Thokozile Earthworks Music 1988 Melodi Yalla Gallo-GRC (BL 617) 1988 Paris - Soweto Gallo Record Company (HUL 40314) 1987 Menate Ea Lefatse CCP Record Company 1987 The Lion of Soweto (Part I) Earthworks Music 1987 Thokozile Gallo-GRC (BL 590) 1986 Ejerusalem Siyakhona Gallo Record Company 1986 Utshwala Begazati Gallo Record Company 1985 Phezulu Eqhudeni (reissue) Hannibal Music 1984 Pheletsong Ya Lerato Gallo Record Company (Gumba Gumba BL 457) 1984 Kotopo Vol 2 (Makgona Tsohle Band) Gallo Record Company (Spades BL 460) 1983 Mathaka Vol 1 (Makgona Tsohle Band) Gallo Record Company (Spades BL 461) 1983 Amaqhawe Omgqashiyo Gallo Record Company (Gumba Gumba BL 448) 1983 Uhambo Lwami Gallo Record Company 1983 O Boshako Teal Record Company 1983 Hamba Minyaka Gallo Record Company (Gumba Gumba BL 366) 1982 Tsamaya Moratuoa Gallo Record Company (Gumba Gumba BL 226) 1980 Best of the Mahotella Queens Gallo Record Company 1978 Izibani Zomgqashiyo Gallo Record Company 1977 Umkhovu EMI Record Company 1975 Marriage is a Problem Gallo Record Company 1975 Phezulu Egqhudeni Gallo Record Company 1975 Umculo Kawupheli Gallo Record Company 1974 Umculo Kawupheli Gallo Record Company (Gumba Gumba MGG 600/A) 1974 Marks Umthakathi Gallo Record Company (Motella BL 9) 1972 Madulo Gallo Record Company (Gumba Gumba MGG 538/B) 1969 Mahlare Gallo Record Company (Gumba Gumba MGG 538/A) 1969 Sozabile No Mgonothi Gallo Record Company 1969 Elamanqamu Gallo Record Company 1969 Isigubu Sabalozi (Makhona Tsohle Band) Gallo Record Company (Gumba Gumba LMGG 5) 1969 Shaluza Ntombi Gallo Record Company (Gumba Gumba MGG 541/B) 1969 Lakhala Ijuba Gallo Record Company (Gumba Gumba MGG 541/A) 1969 Majuba (Makhona Tsohle Band) Gallo Record Company 1968 Mama Thula Gallo Record Company 1967 Amaqawe Gallo Record Company 1967 Jabulani Mabungu Gallo Record Company (Motella MO 136/B) 1967 Sithunyiwe Thokozile No. 3 Gallo Record Company (Motella MO 136/A) 1967 Let's Move with Makhona Tsohle Band Gallo Record Company (Motella LMO 104) 1967 Sikhulekile (Makhona Tsohle Band) Gallo Record Company 1966 Vula Bop's (Makhona Tsohle Band) Gallo Record Company 1966 Meet the Mahotella Queens Gallo Record Company (Motella LMO 101) 1966 Ashikinisi Jive Mgqashiyo Gallo Record Company 1965 Sithunyiwe Gallo Record Company 1964 Jive Mgqashiyo Gallo Record Company (Motella MO 33/B) 1964 Thoko Gallo Record Company (Motella MO 33/A) 1964 Orlando Train (Makhona Tsohle Band) Gallo Record Company 1964