Battle of the Bands

Thandiswa

Brooklyn
August 25, 2019
Thandiswa Mazwai began her career in 1998 with Bongo Maffin, one of the pioneering bands of Kwaito. After 6 award−winning albums with Bongo Maffin she ventured onto a solo career. Zabalaza (2004), her debut project, reached double platinum status and won numerous awards and her critically acclaimed second album ‘Ibokwe’ (2009) reached gold status in the first few weeks of its release. Her third solo studio album is Belede (2016) is a collection of reinterpretations of legendary South African Jazz and protest anthems from the 1950s and 1960s. Thandiswa’s selection is inspired by the music she listened to whilst growing up and her reframing of these classics serves as commentary on South Africa’s contemporary political landscape.

Thandiswa’s music travels through the village into the ghetto and raises the roof in the city. Her compositions today include traditional Xhosa rhythms, mbaqanga, reggae, kwaito, house, funk and jazz. Through this, she straddles the urban and the rural, effortlessly melding the traditional with the modern. It is with this spirit that Thandiswa has performed all over the world at venues including: the FIFA 2010 World Cup Opening Ceremony, the Apollo Theatre, Radio City Hall, Womex, The Cannes Film Festival, Africa Express, and BBC World Music Awards. The Guardian referred to Thandiswa as “South Africa's finest female contemporary singer.”