Known as the enigmatic spirit of African Soul, South Africa’s Bongeziwe Mabandla is a multiple award-winning artist who has recorded four acclaimed albums, performed on an array of national and international stages, become a sought-after creative collaborator and expanded his talents into film and visual art.
Part of the Black Alternative sound that is staking its claim as among the most singular and compelling music forms around, Mabandla first came to the attention of music fans with his 2012 debut, Umlilo. Working with composer, instrumentalist and producer Tiago Correia-Paulo, he has since released a trio of albums - Mangaliso (2017), iimini (2020) and his latest, amaXesha (2023) - that have taken the singer, songwriter and musician from the Eastern Cape rural town of Tsolo onto the international stage.
Among his many accolades are two South African Music Awards (SAMA) for Best Alternative Music Album (Mangaliso in 2018 and iimini in 2021), Best Music Video at the 2018 Capital City Black Film Awards and at the Jozi Film Fest for “Bawo Wam”, a collaboration with Spoek Mathambo, iimini being included in American Songwriter’s Top Albums of the Year in 2020 and amaXesha being selected as Global Album of the Month by the UK’s The Guardian in April 2023. Mabandla also featured in ColorsxStudios’ HOME/BRED series during the global lockdown - a performance that later featured in the platform’s Best Of edition - and followed it up with a mesmerising performance of ‘sisahleleleni (i)’ off imini on Colors in April 2023.
Mabandla’s acclaimed live performances have seen him regularly sell-out tours and perform internationally at different venues and festivals including London’s 100 Club, Reeperbahn Festival(Germany), Lake of Stars (Malawi), Afrovibes Festival (Netherlands), Womex (Finland) the Oslo World Festival (Norway) and at the last six Safiko Music Festivals in Réunion. A creative explorer of the highest order in 2022 he made his film debut in Augure, a film by Belgian-Congolese artist Baloji that won the “Un Certain Regard” New Voices Award at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival.
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