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Thandiswa Mazwai – Singer

Thandiswa Mazwai – Singer
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Click here to book or hire Thandizwa Mazwai for entertainment at your next conference, corporate function, year end event, awards ceremony, or private event.

EVER since she burst into the publics’ consciousness as the lead vocalist and songwriter of award-winning group Bongo Maffin, Thandiswa Mazwai has been an indelible part of the South African cultural landscape.

Her musical beginnings, however, were not quite as auspicious – her first attempt to get noticed occurred at the Shell Road to Fame talent show – in a move that must be puzzling the judges to this day, Thandiswa didn’t even make it to the semi-finals round. She did, however, catch the eye of musician and producer Don Laka, who arranged to include her in a project he was working on – Bongo Maffins’ debut album

The band became known as one of the founding members of kwaito, and went on to release four more albums, becoming widely recognized as the voice of South Africa’s conscious youth – their compositions consistently combined dance floor favourites with thought-provoking lyrics.

They were invited to perform all over the world, and shared the stage with musical icons Stevie Wonder, the Marley clan, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Chaka Khan, Sean Paul, Steel Pulse and Skunk Anansie, amongst others.

Their contribution to the South African musical cannon earned Bongo Maffin numerous awards, amongst them South African Music Awards, the Kora All Africa Music Awards, and the Metro FM Music Awards.

After almost eight years with Bongo Maffin, Thandiswa finally resolved to begin work on a solo project.

Her music elegantly fuses various musical genres, showcases her renowned artistic and musical capabilities, a talent which transcends borders and music genres.

Her hand-picked band was selected from a range of musicians who participated in a three day audition process. Chosen from over 400 candidates, the new band brings a vibrant, fresh young sound to her live performances.

The album, entitled Zabalaza, harnessed the talents of an illustrious coterie of producers and vocalists – Tshepo Tshola features on the rousing Ndilinde, Xhosa traditional vocalist Madosini lent her expertise on Lahl’umlenze, Mandla Spikiri produced Kwanele, while the lush Transkei Moon and Ndizokulibala were jointly produced by local talent D-Rex and Bluey Maunick, founder and producer of the world renowned band Incognito. Malambule, who also is the executive producer of the entire album, produces the rest of the songs. The new album also saw Thandiswa becoming a central part of the entire recording project – from the production to imaging of the album cover, Thandiswa was involved in each phase of the process.

As additional preparation for the recording process, Thandiswa also embarked on a pilgrimage to her mothers home village in the Transkei, moving on to spend a fortnight in Mkhankato, Madosini’s village in the heart of rural Transkei. Here she was exposed to the original sounds of Xhosa traditional melodies, and was introduced to the Uhadi, a traditional Xhosa one-string harp. Over the two weeks, Madosini imparted cultural wisdoms, explaining the philosophies inherent in the creation of Xhosa music – respect for others and self, recognizing the spiritual realm as the true source of the music, and the key role of nature in the creation of music.

Released in the year that South Africa celebrates ten years of freedom, the album is also a metaphor for Thandiswa’s musical emancipation – she’s matured into an artist who can stand up and express her views, and create a project that she feels honestly represents her voice, thoughts and experience.

Bluey Maunick best sums up everyone’s feelings about their involvement with his comment that “Thandiswa is one of the best combinations of songwriting talent and voice that I have had pleasure to work with in my 30 years in the music industry – an inspiring and joyful experience!” Enough said.

Click here to book or hire Thandizwa Mazwai for entertainment at your next conference, corporate function, year end event, awards ceremony, or private event.

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