Interview with Bongesizwe Mabandla


The African folk storyteller is prevalent to our society and industry as a whole. Catch his new and old sounds at the final edition of OneSight Acoustics at The Good Luck Bar


How would you describe the type of music that you make?

My music is a mixture. I would not say I write or make music in one specific way. I’m influenced by so many different genres. but would say it starts off as Folk Music, very much rooted in storytelling.

Many people forget that you had a run on Generations a while back, how did that come about?

I was serious about being an actor when I first arrived in Joburg. I had an agent and was auditioning for a lot, so Generations was one of the roles I managed to get. I really loved it and it opened so many doors for me in terms of music. I used the money I made from shooting to pay for my demo.

Is there an interesting story behind how you met Paulo Chibanga on that fateful day in Melville?

I was going to the store to buy some bread. It was the first year I had been out of school. I was really searching and opening my eyes to being a young adult. I did not know what to do with my time. So when we met, it became a huge deal.

You’ve said before that you listen to people like Simphiwe Dana, Thandiswa Mazwai, Kwani Experience and MXO, any likelihood of working with them in the future?

I still love these artist very much they still inspire me alot. Have done some work with MXO on his album. I think collaborations need the right moment and the right situation. Would love to work with many artists, but have learnt over the years not to force these, they must happen naturally.

What is your creative process like? Do you play melodies then write songs to them or write the lyrics then find a melody that works with it?

I write the melody first, with lyrics that don’t make sense then go back and make sense of the lyrics later. I enjoy writing so much, it’s probably the best part of making music. To see a song take shape is the most exciting thing ever.

Do you have any new music lined up?

Yes, I just finished my new album and about to start mixing soon. Been almost five years since I took out music so it’s an exciting time. It’s been an amazing five years and writing this album has been such a good life changing experience for me.

What can we expect from your new album?

It’s a very special album to me. It’s a bit like Umlilo, but I gave more insight into who I am. I also worked so hard on it, so I think it’s everything I had. I’m featuring one of the greatest South African rappers on the album and an artist that is total inspiration.

For people who’ve never seen you play live can you put into words what your live set is like?

Acoustic, intimate and very African.


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