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, Mabandla
has amplified his already considerable gifts and is now capable of
joining Africa’s most highly regarded musical exports in creating a
global audience for the music he makes.
That the Eastern Cape artist can move into territory occupied by
Africa’s most gifted singer-songwriters (Baaba Maal; Ismaël Lô for
instance) is visible in his second album, Mangaliso – his first through
a new deal with Universal Music. The 10-track record is a sumptuous
listen that spotlights Mabandla’s artistic growth into one of the most
purposeful and gifted artists working in South Africa today.
Since its release in May 2017, Mangaliso has been singled out as one of the
most important African releases of 2017 with The Fuss describing it
as a “unique piece of work”, with music that “ebbs and flows with
Lyrically, Mangaliso reflects the binary world that Mabandla inhabits.
“It’s about my hopes and my regrets, about the darkness and the light
and about life and death and our very existence,” he says. “Although
elements of the album are very contemporary, there is a quality to
the songs and music that captures the deep spirituality that has
always been in African culture.”