Bongeziwe Mabandla’s much-anticipated second album Mangaliso is now live on iTunes.
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.
Mangaliso’s arrival was anticipated by the March release of its first single “Ndokulandela”. The hypnotic song showcases Mabandla’s meditative, yet powerful, voice – and provides an easy way in to what is likely to be one of 2017’s most acclaimed releases.
There are plenty more songs on the new album that more than prove the flurry of praise and accolades (including two South African Music Awards nominations) that surrounded the release of Mabandla’s debut Umlilo release were deserved. The album’s closing track “Bawo Wam”, for instance, carries with it spirit of the ancient in a song built around a distinctively modern beat-heavy groove and “Khaya” is evidence enough that Mabandla’s guitarwork is amongst the most lyrical South Africa has produced.
For Mabandla, Mangaliso’s dual meaning – “mountain” or “miracle” – is indicative of the highs and lows of his journey since the release of his debut in 2012.
“The period between Umlilo and this album was not always easy,” explains the artist. “But it meant I had to do a lot of growing up and I think that is reflected in the new material. In a way, I feel like I am starting again so Mangaliso carries the energy of something totally new and invigorating.”
In creating his second album, Mabandla initially fell back on the songwriting approach that had seen him through his first record. “But the team around me pushed me hard to create music that was beyond a South African sound. By that I mean, to create a sound that was less instantly recognisable as South African, even though it’s always going to have its deepest roots here, and instead one that carries with it an international quality that can transcend borders and genres.”
Mangaliso is produced by Tiago Correia Paulo, formerly of Tumi and the Volume and 340ml, and among Southern Africa’s most adventurous producers. “There were times when we were in the studio and Tiago had me kneeling and singing, as a way of enhancing the emotion that my new music is filled with,” says Mabandla of the recording process.
“Tiago’s incredibly forward-thinking and working with him felt instinctive and very special from the word go. I am incredibly grateful to be doing what I love, and travelling the world while I do it.”