Bongeziwe Mabandla (South Africa)
He calls himself a folk singer, yet his expressive voice evokes the emotions of pure Soul; his music is drawn from an eclectic mix of influences that range from Tracy Chapman to Oliver Mtukudzi. His sound has a rhythmically grass-roots vibe, fusing elements of traditional Xhosa music, mbaqanga, soul, hip-hop and dub. He is a storyteller who sings in both Xhosa and English, his heartfelt lyrics an candid portrait of what he sees in the world around him.
Bongeziwe Mabandla is a young singer-songwriter from Tsolo, a rural town in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. He developed a passion for art and music from an early age, and though he studied drama in Johannesburg, has dedicated his time and now his life to writing songs and performing.
His debut album, Umlilo, was released in 2012 through Sony Music South Africa, garnering him critical acclaim and two South African Music Award nominations in 2013. 2014 saw him continent-hopping: in Germany at Africa Festival, at the renowned Primavera Sound Festival in Barcelona, at Japan’s Sukiyaki Meets the World Festival, in the US for One Beat, a stop in North Korea (!), and a tour of Australia last November. This in addition to performing with Joss Stone and Vieux Farka Toure’ on their South African tours, along with other home-country performances.
Bongeziwe has developed his own unique, unplugged, Afro-folk style and is considered one of the hottest new acts in South Africa today – now coupled with a rising profile on the international scene. He deserves renown on a global scale – and we’re thrilled to be part of the unveiling!