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Bongeziwe Mabandla - I am optimistic that our natural response to crisis as humans is the strive for survival. We all have to adapt and find ways, there is almost no other option

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Bongeziwe Mabandla - I am optimistic that our natural response to crisis as humans is the strive for survival. We all have to adapt and find ways, there is almost no other option

Bongeziwe Mabandla is sinds zijn debuut ‘Umlilo’ in 2012 en de tweede cd ‘Magaliso’ in 2017 uitgegroeid tot een begrip binnen de Afro-folk. De man steekt zijn invloeden uit Afrikaanse muziek niet onder stoelen en banken, en verbindt die typische Afrikaanse klanken met soul en melancholie waardoor het warm wordt in je hart. Ook live heeft de man ondertussen zijn sporen verdiend, ook in Europa.
Begin juli bracht Bongeziwe Mabandla zijn derde schijf op de markt, ‘liMini’ en weet ons weer aangenaam te verrassen.
De volledige recensie kunt u hier nog eens nalezen
Voer genoeg voor een fijn gesprek, via e-mail, over deze plaat, het verleden, de toekomst en hoe omgaan met een crisis waarin we nog steeds leven.

Congratulations on your new record, how are the reactions so far?
So far it’s been really wonderful, I feel this is my most relatable album which is something very important to me. I think people easily find themselves in this new work. It could do with the fact that it is a love story. Most of us had one of those.

Personally, I especially liked the fact that you also experiment a bit. Do you consciously choose this?
Of course, I have always liked albums that are not conventional and have elements that are surprising, I wanted to add elements that enhance the themes and message and also let you in on the atmosphere and environment of the story. So yes you are right, we experimented quite a bit.

Also the fact that you stay true to those African roots appealed to me, also a conscious choice?
For me it’s always been about loving where I come from. I think there is so much beauty and depth in isiXhosa and a way of saying things that is very specific and colorful but it’s more about pride and about taking back something that was almost erased.

You worked again with Tiago Correia-Paulo, who also produced your second album, the SAMA-winning Mangaliso. How did you find each other again?
When I got into music years ago it was because I had met 340ml drummer Paulo Chibanga and I was signed to their label. So I would see Tiago a lot but we never really thought about working together. Then my manager Sevi Spanoudi, who knew Tiago since they were students, suggested that we meet and see if we can do something together. That meeting is responsible for many great changes in my career and my partnership with Tiago has been the most enriching creative collaboration I could ask for.

Is there some sort of theme behind this record, I read something about relationships in an interview?
Yes the album documents a relationship from the beginning till the end. I wanted to show how love develops and how love changes you. It is inspired by the strong impact love has on us. It’s an album about time and how we change. 

Every song radiates emotions, but this 'Jikeleza' just a little more than the rest. Is this a special song that moves you so deeply? or am I wrong
This song was always very difficult for me to do so I get very happy when I hear that people connect with it. I guess all the songs I write have a special place I think this song is one that really speaks about love for everyone.

There is also a great collaboration with Son Little at "Ukwahlukana" - an added value within the whole - how did that collaboration come about?
I met Aaron in Canada at a festival and we did a workshop together and I fell in love with his music and we kept in touch and where always talking about trying to work together. He had that smooth R&B texture to his voice that I felt the album needed. I then sent him the song and he was excited to be part of it.

You have played in Europe. What is the big difference between the Western world and Africa?
I think mainly what I have found is maybe in Europe is an appreciation for all kinds of music and an opportunity to showcase a range of sounds. What I love about Africa is the appreciation for real moments and the desire audiences have for an artist to be raw when expressing themselves. Our audiences include themselves in performance they express themselves during the show and love to sing along. I love that. 

You had to cancel and postpone tour dates as a result of the coronavirus outbreak? which and other plans were also rejected?
Yes cancelled my spring tour which was to promote and introduce my new  album. I also missed many live media performances I wanted to do and of course being able to do interviews in person at the radio or TV stations. 
I am very happy about my productivity in this period, I wrote a lot and we almost have a new project ready to go for mid 2021. 

How do you personally think that culture and music will survive this crisis?
I think so music has the ability to heal and is even more vital in times like these. We sadly have not seen the end of this crisis and it is heartbreaking to see people lose their ability to make a living because of the current environment. I am optimistic that our natural response to crisis as humans is the strive for survival. We all have to adapt and find ways,  there is almost no other option.

Is live streaming the new standard? the new normal ? how do you feel about that?
I like some elements of it. I like the idea of being in your comfort zone and be able to reach out to audiences all over the world. But it’s not as rewarding without people exchanging that energy back to you.

Is it still appropriate to release new records in times of streaming via spotify and the like? How do you feel about those streaming websites?
I am grateful for their support and my album success is a big result of how they have supported my releases.

What are the further plans after this crisis?
I have a bunch of remixes releasing from iimini between end of September 2020 and February 2021. Those are exciting artists from South Africa, some of whom I am friends with. 
I keep writing and as I mentioned there is another release planned for 2021 with Secretly Canadian, a New York based Label. This is exciting as it will be my first proper push in the US. I feel I’m getting mature and I’m understanding life more and it reflects in the music. 

Is there also something like an end goal. In other words, what are your big ambitions? What do you especially want to achieve with your music?
Right now I want to express myself more and be open more, I think the pandemic has really made me appreciate the beauty of the world and its relationships.

Thanks for this nice conversation, I hope we can talk face to face very soon. Stay safe!
Thank you very much! 

Aanvullende informatie

  • Band Name: Bongeziwe Mabandla
  • Date: 2020-09-09 22:00:00
  • Rating: 8
Gelezen: 498 keer
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