Mango Groove

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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. Songwriter and bassist John Leyden formed Mango Groove in Johannesburg in 1984. Although it started small, the band's roster of personnel eventually swelled to 11 members. 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. She and Leyden are now married. 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. They have received nearly every South African music award and video award, as well as a number of awards internationally. In 1992, Mango Groove performed, via satellite uplink, for the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert in London, to an audience estimated at one billion people. They had previously performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival, and the Rock Against Racism concert in Paris. They were the only African band invited to perform at the 1997 Celebrate Hong Kong Reunification concert.