Bongeziwe Mabandla's album cracks international music charts

Afro singer Bongeziwe Mabandla/Supplied
Afro singer Bongeziwe Mabandla/Supplied

Afro singer Bongeziwe Mabandla has proved to be a global star after his album Iimini shot to the top of different international charts in just three days after its
official release.

The album, which was released digitally on March 28, is sitting at the top of the ITunes charts. Iimini is also at number #1 in the Botswana music chart, and number #2 in France, Switzerland and Austria, respectively.

With all this international success, the acoustic guitarist should be walking around with his head in the clouds. Mabandla, however, has chosen to keep his feet on the ground, saying that he creates music for people not the charts.

He credits the success of the album to the producer and band mate Tiago Correia-Paulo.

"I don't write for charts, that is not my aim at all. I write for art and for people to relate to me more. The chart is a surprise element to me which I am also happy about. But it is a good feeling that people are listening to my music in the whole world," he says.

"Somehow, I knew that this album will do well. I could feel it that people will find themselves in these songs. I think when it comes to love and relationships, we go through very similar experiences."

In his new offering, Mabandla, who grew up in the rural town of Tsolo in the Eastern Cape, has fused folk, electronic music, traditional sounds with experimental inclinations.

Mabandla took two years working on the songs and fine-tuning them.

"For eight months, I focused on melody and lyrics. It is quite interesting that I write many songs while in a plane.

"I will be humming a song and. I'm sure people are always surprised at what is happening. Some of the songs were written on the Gautrain."

Unlike his previous albums where he focused on issues of spirituality, in his latest offering he tackles the politics of the heart. Mabandla, a product of AFDA School of Motion Pictures, admits that through the album he documents his own love experiences. He says the album has been able to touch people because it comes from an honest place.

"I wanted to show the beauty of falling in love, complication of loving somebody and the pain that comes with understanding another person. I think sometimes, most of us we think that falling in love will solve things. A relationship takes a lot of effort. It does not just take love and accepting another person, it goes beyond that."

Mabandla says the album has a lot of electro and current sound because "I wanted to do something totally different, and for people to know I'm not one-
dimensional".

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