About 20 years ago, South African mbaqanga singer Lucky Dube heard a Peter Tosh record and realized that reggae was a better vehicle for his political lyrics. In 1984, he released his reggae debut, Rastas Never Die, to the delight of thousands of black fans and the dismay of the apartheid government. Dube (pronounced "doo-bay") followed that up with the 1987 release Slave, an album he recorded unbeknownst to his record company. The result was something akin to a slugger ignoring a "take" sign from his third base coach and clouting a home run -- Slave sold over half a million copies, making it one of the top-selling releases in South African history. Dube's voice combines velvet texture with fearsome power, and though he has been accused of recycling one melody over and over, his pipes and the band's African reggae groove render that criticism a mere quibble live.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene with music features, additional online music listings and show picks. We'll also send special ticket offers and music promotions available only to our Music Newsletter subscribers.