Thu Mar 30 06:49:01 SAST 2017

Bongeziwe Mabandla: Feeling marvellous

2017-02-09 16:48:33.0 | Tina George-Gogwana |

Bongeziwe Mabandla, with his perfect blend of urban-African folk, has a brand-new lease on life.

The singer, songwriter and guitarist says he is inspired and back on the music scene after parting ways with a former record label three years after his 2012 debut release, Umlilo.

With a new record deal from Universal Music, the two-time Sama nominee says he spent the past few years repairing and reinventing himself.

"The decision to cut ties with the old record label meant years of financial strain due to a lack of gigs. It was the worst time in my life; seeing everybody that I started with become more successful, playing at festivals or buying cars. But when I think of it, it was the best decision in my life as a young me to be vocal and stand up for myself. . it helped me write new music and be more optimistic about where I find myself today. . how precious and miraculous life can be," he says of his soon to be released new album titled Mangaliso, meaning marvel.

As a kid growing up in Tsolo, a small rural township not far from Mthatha in the Eastern Cape, playtime was always about make-believe which sparked his creativity.

A skill he uses today in his music by weaving storytelling in Xhosa and English with his eclectic blend of African traditional and urban folk music.

"Even though I was not that serious about becoming a singer, I would say I fell in love with music back then when I listened to Tracey Chapman a lot," he says.

His guitar playing makes up the main elements in his music, an ability he learnt while attending Lady Grey Arts Academy in the Eastern Cape .

The past few months has seen Mabandla touring Europe, North America and Japan. He recently returned from a showcase in Morocco.

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