Bongeziwe Mabandla - amaXesha

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Meaning “The Times”, amaXesha is also the sound of the enigmatic spirit of African soul - as Mabandla is known - distilling the themes of time and compatibility within the vast fields of love. Written during South Africa’s stringent pandemic lockdown, Mabandla found the time in that isolation to introspect on the importance of connection, especially how this impulse can keep us going back to the same kind of experiences and outcomes in our love relationships. “The loops of our lives,” he calls it.

In this, the 14 songs that make up amaXesha are an exceptional, soul-baring contribution to the age-old canon of love songs that tell the stories of this most essential of human experience.

Whether the raw emotion of being freshly and unexpectedly spurned by a lover on the earthy “ndikhale” or being imperfect and in love and loving an imperfect person on first single “noba bangathini” or love’s dark side on the charged and atmospheric ‘ukuthanda wena’, we journey with Mabandla as he moves, his heart on his sleeve, through the contours of love. Going back to fix things. Second chances. Believing in each other again. Rebuilding, together, no matter what those around you are saying. These make up the lyrical matter of amaXesha. And, in Mabandla’s hands, the words feel like actual matter: weighty, worthy of slow examination and deep consideration, animated by the surging emotions that ignited his songwriting this time around.

amaXesha is once again produced within the intimate collaboration that Mabandla has forged with composer, instrumentalist and producer Tiago Correia-Paulo. In creating the album’s music, Mabandla and Correia-Paulo made a conscious move away from the central creative pulse of the artist’s previous three records, which was located in the simplicity of Mabandla’s vocals and his acoustic guitar, with scant need for amplification.

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