Bongeziwe Mabandla Singer/Songwriter


Bongeziwe Mabandla was one of the 10 finalists of the 2011 RFI Discoveries Award. The 32 year-old guitarist, singer/ songwriter followed up by  releasing his debut album “UMLILO”, meaning fire. He was ready to  set the Industry ablaze!

Bongeziwe was born in Tsolo, a rural part of the Eastern Cape, South Africa, where grew his early passion for art and music. He learnt the guitar at 17, matriculated from Lady Grey Arts Academy and studied drama at Johannesburg film school AFDA. As a student, he soon turned to music, started to write songs and to perform solo gigs, while developing his own unplugged music style and earning recognition as a musician.

Together with his band, he created a matchless afro-folk sound, fused with his soulful voice delivering in Xhosa, sometimes in English. Influenced by artists like Tracy Chapman and Lauryn Hill, as well as South African vocalists Simphiwe Dana and JABU KHANYILE and Zimbabwean guitarist Oliver Mtukudzi, his sound has a rhythmically grass-roots vibe, while fusing elements from traditional Xhosa music, Mbaqanga, Soul, Hip-Hop and Dub. Genuine and introspective, his music documents the experiences of human life and reflects his background and personal journey through self-discovery and awareness in post-apartheid South Africa. That is why a lot of people can relate to his music, Bongi says.

When Bongeziwe Mabandla surfaced with his debut album in 2012 he was hailed as the new face of Afro-Folk, effortlessly able to entwine Xhosa lyrics with traditional music and folk stylings to create something uniquely captivating. In the five years that have passed since Umlilo’s release, he’s amplified his already considerable gifts, with tours to Australia, Asia and Canada, appearances at several international and national festivals and an invigorated approach to songwriting that’s adding elements of spirituality and forward-looking creativity to his unique musical mix. The result of all of this is Mabandla’s second album – the first through a new deal with Universal Music.

Titled Mangaliso (meaning “marvel” or “miracle”), it’s a worldclass record that confirms he’s among the most purposeful and gifted artists working in South Africa today. Among the highlights are first single, “Ndokulandela”, a hypnotic song that showcases Mabandla’s meditative, yet powerful, voice, “Bawo Wam” which carries with it the spirit of the ancient on a song built around a distinctively modern beat-heavy groove and “Khaya”, a track that reveals Mabandla’s guitarwork as among the most lyrical South Africa has produced.

Mangaliso was produced by Tiago Correia Paulo (Tumi and the Volume; 340ml) who also features, along with Mike Wright (Zebra & Giraffe), in the live band that will be touring with Mabandla during 2017. “Ndokulandela”, the first single off Mangaliso is now available on iTunesApple MusicGoogle Play and Deezer.

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