By Zama Mthethwa
TransAfrica Radio met up with one of South Africa’s leading music writer’s and singer, Thandiswa Mazwai for a brief interview before she dazzled the crowd for her Castle Milk Stout Unplugged performance on afro Cafe.
The last album she released was Ibokwe in 2009, and after seven years we are proud to announce that Thandiswa Mazwai who has been dubbed as the new generation’s Miriam Makeba, is dropping two albums this year.
“I am working on two albums, I have just finished the jazz album. The jazz album is a tribute album, the songs are not original, they are songs that are paying tribute to all the masters, like Hugh Masekela, Miriam Makeba and Letta Mbuli,” she said.
Her hiatus in the music industry has been quite vivid, her fans on social media always ask her when she is releasing new music. During the interview she revealed that she was battling a writer’s block for years.
“I had writer’s block for five years, so this was just an easy way for me to get back into making music.”
We also got a chance to talk about the type of sound (she chose for this album?), what inspired the albums and when we can expect singles from either of them. Both albums still don’t have titles, for now its just the ‘Jazz tribute album’ and ‘The original music album’.
“In the next couple of weeks there should be a single, maybe two singles will come out, one from the jazz album and the original album because I have’t recorded what I think will be a single for the original album.”
However, Thandiswa did say that there is a song that she has recorded and has been performing called ‘Yebo Sisi’. According to the singer, ‘Yebo Sisi’ is a positive affirmation of women.
“The song says to women that we should go ahead and that we support one another. That we see one another’s struggles but we also see one another’s triumphs.”
In the second original album she worked with her old band and according to her, it is 50% done, the jazz album is completely done and will come out first, then at some point the second album will come out.
Thandiswa says the recent spate of student protests and the feminist wave that has also been pushed forward by the students has inspired the second album.
“The second album is also going to look at what is called black rage and interrogate that. What does it mean to me, how do I feel as a black person and if whether I also experience this rage. The album will also look into the idea of black love and what does love mean for a black person. To love oneself and to own oneself. I’m an artist, I have to speak about what is happening in my time, I have to add my voice and my opinion to that because I’m also a member of my own community,” she added.
The multi-award winning singer believes that more female writers should speak about their experience in regards to socio economic issues that happen in their surroundings.
Artists that have been featured on the jazz album are Nduduzo Makhathini on the piano, Ayanda Sikade on drums and Herbie Tsoaeli on double bass. She also mentioned that would love to work with other African artists such as Angélique Kidjo, Salif Kita, Kadja Nin and (article:a) Kenyan band called Just A Band, to name a few.