The playlist: African – Thandiswa Mazwai, Maleh, Somi and more

The most powerful female voices on the continent include a pioneer of Kwaito and a 17-year-old shaping the sound of the Portuguese-speaking African diaspora

 A magnet for awards and international accolades … Thandiswa

A magnet for awards and international accolades … Thandiswa

Thandiswa Mazwai – Yeyam Nawe (#FreedomIs4Everyone)

You can’t accurately describe the founding generation of South African kwaito music without acknowledging the influence of Thandiswa Mazwai. As part of the pioneering group Bongo Maffin or on her own solo path – a magnet for awards and international accolades – she remains one of the country’s sharpest music voices. It’s been five years since her last album, and it’s hard not to have noticed her absence. This track surfaced to commemorate South Africa’s Human Rights Day, hinting at a possible new direction from Thandiswa. More importantly, the wait for new material is almost over.

Adomaa – Baafir/Adonai Mashup

Singer/songwriter Adomaa repurposes two Ghanaian hits – Adonai by rap monster Sarkodie and Baafira by Stonebwoy – into the cutest mashup ever. The pared-down ditty introduces the gorgeous newcomer as a quirky and inventive talent worth keeping an eye out for.

Nidia Minaj – Sentimentos

At 17, Nidia Minaj is still in high school and yet already becoming one of the beat makers shaping the sounds of the Portuguese-speaking African diaspora. Nidia (her stage name was inspired by a much more famous Minaj) is a Bordeaux-based producer from Cape Verde and a new signing to Principe, one of the scene’s defining labels. This sweeping, Kizomba-leaning number is one of many gems she has put out recently.

Maleh – You Make My Heart Go

Working backstage at one of South Africa’s most prominent jazz festivals,Standard Bank Joy of Jazz, Lesotho-born singer Malehloka “Maleh” Hlalele had a ringside view of South African jazz’s ins and outs. It was here that she found and developed her own sound away from the house scene, and where she got her start as a vocalist for DJs and producers such as Ganyani and Kent. Mild traces of this electronic influence can be heard on her latest, the title song from her second album.

Somi – Ginger Me Slowly

An in-depth account of the making of Somi’s superb album Lagos Music Salon can be found in this interview on NPR’s Song Travels. The singer also performs a live version of the lush, delicately seductive Ginger Me Slowly, which you can hear below.

Source:Phiona Okumu|

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