It’s been more than seven years since they released new music, but Mango Groove is making a comeback on the South African music scene.
The iconic 80s and 90s band led by lead vocalist Claire Johnston is back with not one, but two albums.
On October 28, the band is releasing a double album entitled Faces To The Sun, featuring nine brand-new songs, and a host of collaborations with famous local musicians.
Best known for classics such as Special Star, Moments Away and Dance Some More, Mango Groove is still getting a lot of airtime on Cape Town stations, so it’s clear the public still loves this rainbow nation band with their signature penny whistle sound.
Offerings on the new CDs include well-known hits like The Lion Sleeps Tonight and Kinders Van Die Wind, but come with that special Mango Groove twist.
No one is more excited about the resurgence of the band than blonde lead singer Claire who is now 48 years old.
She says: “This really was a project of the heart for us: over four years in the making, a host of new songs we are really proud of.
“At the same time it’s a chance to celebrate our favourite SA songs from the last few decades,” she adds.
New songs include From The Set Go and the title track, Faces To The Sun.
And there are collaborations with singers across the musical spectrum, including Mi Casa, Rebecca Malope, Vusi Mahlasela, Juanita du Plessis, Zolani Mahola from FreshlyGround and Kurt Darren.
Claire says: “’In many ways, for Mango Groove the Faces to the Sun project was about much more than music, as it was about celebrating being South African in all its many forms.”
And in case you’re wondering, Claire and the founder of Mango Groove John Leyden, who is also her ex-husband, have been working on Claire’s solo career for the past few years.
The couple were married for 12 years and had no kids together and Claire is currently in a “serious relationship” but she keeps her private life private.
Last year Mango Groove did a tour of the UK and just before Christmas 2015, they performed at the Kirstenbosch Summer Concerts.
The band has not yet released tour dates to promote their latest album.