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 iTunes, Apple Music, Google Play and Deezer.