Mango Groove

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About Mango Groove

Mango Groove is one of South Africa’s most iconic and culture-shifting Afropop supergroups. The 11-member band—founded in 1984 by John Leyden and now led by Claire Johnston—has been a staple in the country’s musical landscape since their 1989 eponymous debut album, which spawned the crossover hits "Special Star" and "Dance Sum More". Mango Groove was one of the first South African bands to be made up of both Black and white musicians and played an active part in advocating for an end to the apartheid regime and the transition into the democratic era. Their joyous tunes, which fuse marabi, kwela and Afro-jazz with pop, bring people together and exemplify the ethos of the “Rainbow Nation”—a term coined by Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela, who invited the band to perform at his inauguration in 1994. Even with multiple membership changes over the decades, Mango Groove has remained a household name thanks to its distinctive sound, which is filled with mesmerising pennywhistles, eclectic brass sections, and energetic drums.

Johannesburg, South Africa

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