Mango Groove

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Mango Groove
Origin Johannesburg, South Africa
Genres pop music, marabi, kwela, world music
Years active 1984–present
Members Claire Johnston, Sipho Bhengu, Beulah Hashe, Banza Kgasoane, Alan Ari Lazar, George Lewis, John Leyden, Marilyn Nokwe, Mduduzi Magwaza, Phumzile Ntuli, Gavin Stevens

Mango Groove is an 11-piece South African Afropop band whose music fuses pop and township music.

In the 1980s and early 1990s, near the end of the Apartheid era, Mango Groove and Juluka were the only major South African music groups with both black and white band-members. Sometimes when they arrived at a club to perform, they were refused entry because they were multi-ethnic.[1]

Songwriter and bassist John Leyden formed Mango Groove in Johannesburg in 1984.[2] Although it started small, the band's roster of personnel eventually swelled to 11 members.[2] Lead vocalist Claire Johnston joined at age 17. She completed a Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of the Witwatersrand while touring with the band.[citation needed] She and Leyden are now married.[3]

The band has had at least 12 number-one hits in South Africa, and are the only band in South Africa's history with an album that remained in a sales chart for more than a year.[citation needed] They have received nearly every South African music award and video award, as well as a number of awards internationally.[citation needed]

In 1992, Mango Groove performed, via satellite uplink, for the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert in London, to an audience estimated at one billion people.[4] They had previously performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival,[5] and the Rock Against Racism concert in Paris.[6] They were the only African band invited to perform at the 1997 Celebrate Hong Kong Reunification concert.


  • Claire Johnston – lead vocals
  • Sipho Bhengu – tenor sax, vocals
  • Beulah Hashe – vocals
  • Banza Kgasoane – trumpet
  • Alan Ari Lazar – keyboards, piano
  • George Lewis – guitar
  • John Leyden – bass guitar
  • Marilyn Nokwe – vocals
  • Mduduzi Magwaza – alto sax, pennywhistle
  • Phumzile Ntuli – vocals
  • Gavin Stevens – drums, percussion
  • Peter Cohen-drums, percussion


Studio albums[edit]

  1. Mango Groove (1989)
  2. Hometalk (1990)
  3. Another Country (1993)
  4. Eat a Mango (1995)
  5. Bang the Drum (2009)

Compilation albums[edit]

  1. Dance Sum More… All the Hits So Far (1997)
  2. The Best of Mango Groove (2000)
  3. The Ultimate Collection (2002)
  4. Moments Away: Love Songs and Lullabies, 1990–2006 (2006)
  5. The Essential Mango Groove (2008)
  6. Shhhhh…! Have You Heard? The Ultimate Collection, 1989-2011 (2011)
  7. Great South African Performers: Mango Groove (2011)
  8. Colours of Africa: Mango Groove (2013)
  9. Greatest Moments: Mango Groove (2015)


  1. Mango Groove: Live in Concert (2011)


  1. "Two Hearts" (1986)
  2. "Love is the Hardest Part" (1986)
  3. "We are the Party" (1986)
  4. "Do You Dream Of Me?" (1987)
  5. "Move Up" (1987)
  6. "Dance Sum More" (1989)
  7. "Hellfire" (1989)
  8. "Special Star" (1989)
  9. "Too Many Tears" (1989)
  10. "Pennywhistle" (1990)
  11. "Hometalk" (1991)
  12. "Island Boy" (1991)
  13. "Moments Away" (1991)
  14. "Nice To See You" (1993)
  15. "Keep On Dancing" (1993)
  16. "Another Country" (1993)
  17. "Tropical Rain" (1993)
  18. "Eat A Mango" (1995)
  19. "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" (1995)
  20. "New World (Beneath Our Feet)" (1995)
  21. "Tom Hark" (1996)
  22. "Let Your Heart Speak" (1996)
  23. "Southern Sky" (2007)
  24. "This is Not a Party" (2010)

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]


  1. ^ Johnston, Claire (March 2010). Interview with Mango Groove's Claire Johnston. Interview with Galen Schultz. The Witness. Durban. Retrieved 22 April 2015. 
  2. ^ a b Viljoen, Stella (2002). "En Route to the Rainbow Nation: South African Voices of Resistance". In Young, Richard A. Music, Popular Culture, Identities. Amsterdam: Rodopi. p. 326. ISBN 9789042012493. OCLC 51296962. Retrieved 23 April 2015. 
  3. ^ "Claire Johnston: The Mango Groove star on success, being 17 and having underpants thrown at her". Media Mentors. Retrieved 23 April 2015. 
  4. ^ Queenconcert
  5. ^ Festival Homepage
  6. ^ CD RSA