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 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.
He won a South African Music Award (SAMA) for Best Alternative Music Album in June 2018. The award for his album, Mangaliso, revealed the ability of Mabandla’s music to stand out from the crowd, and be recognized for its unwavering originality - he’s now fast becoming one of the strong voices shaping the South African scene: comfortable with pared down acoustic guitar or with a more orchestrated sound drawing on genres like reggae, maskandi and electro.
His haunting, ethereal voice carries messages of heartache and healing from the Eastern Cape and yet captures the contemporary urban-African landscape. Bongeziwe will complete 2019 with a new album, Zange.