South African Xhosa singer and songwriter, Simphiwe Dana, has finally released her long awaited and muchly anticipated fifth studio album called Bamako.
The album, co-produced by the legendary Grammy Award winning Mali musician, Salif Keita, and recorded in Mali, a country she has grown fond of, has been in the making for three years until it’s release last week.
The 13-track body of work features already released singles, Usikhonzile and Uzokhala, which according to the songstress, were well received by the public. The project carries varying themes, from matters of the heart, relationships, self love and a call for better leadership on the continent. It features Keita and another Grammy Award winning Mali singer and guitarist, Vieux Farka Toure.
She described the album’s sound as a fusion of musical styles, from traditional Malian music, mixed with reggae and dancehall grooves from the Caribbean, without losing her sound. She added that she was inspired by by human conditions “that create the authenticity that people emotionally identify with,” rather than her own experiences.
“I wouldn’t say that this album is way different from the other four but I do know that my personal, emotional and spiritual growth is never out of who I am.” she said. Dana added that producing this album has been gruelling work and emotionally draining but over and above that, she believes the people are in for a treat.
“I went to Mali to enhance the musical production of my work and worked with the legendary Salif Keita and his musicians Djessou Mory Kaute and Madon Diabate among others. He (Keita) was my chosen partner because at every party or dinner that I ever hosted he’s been a fixture in my DJ’s playlist. I love how he composes music and his vocal prowess.” Dana said.
Simphiwe Dana says she draws inspiration from South Africa’s greats such as the late Miriam ‘Mama Africa’ Makeba, Busi Mhlongo and Dorothy Masuka. The multi international award winner is also a Afrofuturism and Afrofeminism creative advocate, through her music.
Her sound is a unique combination of jazz, Afro soul, rap and traditional music. The classy artist has 16 years in the music industry, and has commercially successful and critically acclaimed albums to her credit, such as her debut album, Zandisile and the timeless classic, The One Love Movement on Bantu Biko Street.
Source: Story by Thando Mnkandhla –Southerntimesafrica.com