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Bongeziwe Mabandla fuels the Rhythm of the Heart with latest album

South African musician and international star Bongeziwe Mabandla, predominantly playing folk music with lyrics in isiXhosa, plays guitar during soundcheck ahead of a live perf   -  
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South Africa

Soothing and soulful can best describe the voice of the 2018 South African Music Awards nominee. Bongeziwe Mabandla.

With this voice, Mabandla has gained massive popularity in his home country and has performed at concerts and festivals overseas.

In his home language xhosa, the young artist serenades fans to some love songs from his latest album titled the days.

"I'm influenced by artists like Tracy Chapman and Lauryn Hill, who have that style of writing. So it always was important for me to kind of like make music that's really truthful, and I think the most easiest way to be truthful in music is to write your own truth."

his latest album which was released at the peak of the pandemic, draws on the heritage of maskandi, the musical tradition of migrant workers.

His songs convey messages of the different emotions love carries and also talks about how love can change an individual.

It really speaks about how love can change you, like "Zange" means "never", and the chorus goes "never was I the same again, I became another person since that moment" and it's just when love touches you how much it can feel lie you are a different person, and it can make your outlook on life very different."


Born in a village in the south of the country, Mabandla shot onto the Afro-folk scene in 2012 with his debut album Umlilo.

He discovered the guitar as a child in the Eastern Cape, the vast southeastern province that's home to a rich tradition of music and literature.

"My childhood was very happy, I grew up with my mother. A normal, humble sort of growing up," he said. "I never thought I'd be a musician."

Like many others from rural South Africa, he left for the city in the early 2000s, hoping to make his way in Johannesburg, home to most of the country's successful record labels.

He cites among his influences American artists Tracy Chapman and Lauryn Hill, as well as the Zulu singer Busi Mhlongo -- a pioneer of modern interpretations of the maskandi sound.

For Iimini, he decided to incorporate some sampling and electro elements.

So he tapped Mozambican producer Tiago Correia-Paulo, the former guitarist of South African hip hop group Tumi and the Volume, which enjoyed international success before breaking up.

The end result is well-paced, rhythmic sequences and RnB-style escalations that fill the room.

As s sign of acceptance, fans at a recent concert in Jonesburg shouted out "Yebo!", a South African word of approval,

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