Louis Mhlanga



Last week I wrote about the album of Sipho Gumede and mentioned the excellent guitar player Louis Mhlanga. Today we dig deeper into African Smooth Jazz. So let's speak about his album Shamwari, which was released in 2001 on the Sheer Sound label. What can you await? "Lusicous licks, groovy tunes, african-touched melodies for your mind & soul"

First of all it's a guitar album with easy melodies, flying around your head like butterflies. If you are in bad mood, this album will brighten you up. If you like to travel, this album might allure you to Africa.

Hona Ka (Look Here) is an example of this cheerful good-humored music without compromises. Louis Mhlanga  plays his guitar in a relaxed manner.

The next tune Beira was inspired by a trip to Malawi via Mozambique. Beira is the main port of Mozambique. Anew we listen to Louis slightly striked guitar.

Africa Ya Uya (Africa has come). This continent has been in the dark a long time, this is time. The melody has a grooving teetering touch. Denny Lalouette's bass running is an impressive mirror to Louis' masterfull guitar play.

What Happened To Love? Louis comments: "So much fighting is taking place, where is the love peace we talk about so much?" Surprisingly the tune get's a Latin (Salsa) groove. If you know, that the roots of Brazilian music are in Africa you will not wonder. Andile Yena kicks the piano keys.

Distant Lover is a further best-mooded guitar tune. I'll leave this to your own imagination. Louis ' way of play is melody-orientated. The improvisations are all narrow-bundled to the melody.

On Chifamba (Move On) Louis Mhlanga shows another guitar sound, more with metallic  strings. 

Kugaisana Nevamwe Zvakanaka (Living together  in harmony). We all know about the problems in Zimbabwe and South Africa. Louis tries to express his wish of peace, his dream of harmony. In the steady repetition the tune gets a dynamic conjuring attitude.

Shamwari, the title song means friends. We are all friends. Louis Mhlanga understands his music as a message. The message of peace. The harmony of his rapid but complex song structure is his signal.

Take Me. I've come a long way, this is where I am now. Louis ' music has a certain similarity to Jonathan Butler's music, simliar in the naturalness of the guitar sound.

Dzembira (Tune for thumb piano) is the last guitar tune on this vivid album. Those which love the african-touched guitar music will like this album full of enjoying and uplifting sounds.




The musicians:
  • Louis Mhlanga -  all guitars and vocals
  • Andile Yenana - piano and keyboards
  • Denny Lalouette - electric bass
  • Herbie Tsoaeli - electric bass (7, 10)
  • Basi Mahlasela - percussion
  • Elhadgi Diop - percussion
  • Selo Montwedi - drums
  • Rob Watson - drums  (1, 4)
  • Nomsa magwaza - vocals (3, 6, 7)
  • Sipho Nkosiyani - vocals (3, 6, 7)
Listen to soundsamples here:
To buy the album online, go to

For further information on the artists and albums contact:

Leemor Daniel
International Division - Sheer Sound

Tel: +27 11 444 1818
Fax: +27 11 444 2275