Two time SAMA nominee Bongeziwe Mabandla made waves overseas in 2014 with his perfect blend of Urban-African Folk. His heartfelt lyrics and honest delivery has seen him take to the stage in Germany at Africa Festival and at the renowned Primavera Sound Festival in Barcelona in June 2014.
Locally he had the opportunity to perform with both Joss Stone and Vieux Farka Toure’ on their South African tours.
Ticking off the continents he found himself in Japan for Sukiyaki Meets the World Festival. Whilst there, he promoted the release of his debut “Umlilo” through the Meta Company. He stopped off in North Korea before returning back to SA in October where he performed on the main stage of Rocking the Daisies.
Shortly after he headed to the United States to take part in One Beat, an incubator for music-based social entrepreneurship where innovative musicians from around the world launch collaborative projects designed to make a positive impact on local and global communities.
In November Bongeziwe headed to Australia for his first tour of Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.
Born in Tsolo, a rural town in the Eastern Cape, Bongeziwe displayed all the signs of a passion for art and music from an early age. After studying drama at AFDA Johannesburg, Bongeziwe dedicated his time to song writing and performing shows, developing his own unique unplugged style and earning recognition as a musician. Together with his band, Bongeziwe has created a matchless Afro-folk sound, over which his soulful voice delivers in both Xhosa and English.
Influenced by artists like Tracy Chapman, Simphiwe Dana, Jabu Khanyile and Oliver Mtukudzi, his sound has a rhythmically grass-roots vibe, while fusing elements of traditional Xhosa music, Mbaqanga, Soul, Hip-hop and Dub.
In 2012 Bongeziwe released his debut album Umlilo through Sony Music South Africa, with producer Paulo Chibanga. The album includes collaborations with local talents Nosisi, former vocalist of Kwani Experience, and Zuluboy. The album has garnered critical acclaim, giving Bongeziwe two nominations at the South African Music Awards 2013, for Best Newcomer and Best Adult African album categories. Bongeziwe was also allowed the privilege of performing live at the SAMAs, and he provided a moving performance of ‘Ngawe Mama’, which was broadcast across the nation.
While 2014 was an international year for Bongeziwe, 2015 will be routed back home where he will be recording his next album.
MTN SAMA 2012 nominee:
-Best African Adult Album.
-Newcomer of the Year.
Radio France Internationale (RFI) Discoveries Award 2011
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