Zabalaza (album)

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Studio album by Thandiswa Mazwai
Released February 7, 2006
Recorded 2004
Genre Kwaito
Length 1:02:50
Label La Escondida
Producer Malumbule

Zabalaza is the first solo release from the South African kwaito performer, Thandiswa Mazwai. Before this album, Thandiswa was most famously known as the lead singer for the kwaito group Bongo Maffin. Zabalaza, Xhosa for Rebellion, is a shining example of the integrative style of kwaito, and Thandiswa has infused this album with the sounds of her roots: kwaito, traditional Xhosa music, mbaqanga, reggae, and even gospel music.

The album harnessed the talents of an illustrious coterie of producers and vocalists. Tshepo Tshola features on the rousing Ndilinde, Xhosa traditional vocalist Madosini lent her expertise on Lahl’umlenze, Mandla Spikiri produced Kwanele, while the lush Transkei Moon and Ndizokulibala were jointly produced by local talent D-Rex and Bluey Maunick, founder and producer of the world-renowned band Incognito. Malambule,[1] who also is the executive producer of the entire album, produces the rest of the songs.

Released on Gallo Records' Gallo World Vision (GWV) label, the album also saw Thandiswa become a central part of the entire recording project. From the production to imaging of the album cover, Thandiswa was involved in each phase of the process.

The hand-picked band was selected from a range of musicians who participated in a three-day auditions process. Chosen from over 400 candidates, the new band brings a vibrant, fresh young sound to the performances.

As additional preparation for the recording process, Thandiswa also embarked on a pilgrimage to her mother's home village in the Transkei, moving on to spend a fortnight in Mkhankato, Madosini's village in the heart of rural Transkei. Here she was exposed to the original sounds of Xhosa traditional melodies, and was introduced to the Uhadi, a traditional Xhosa one-string harp. Over the two weeks, Madosini imparted cultural wisdom, explaining the philosophies inherent in the creation of Xhosa music, respect for others and self, recognizing the spiritual realm as the true source of the music, and the key role of nature in the creation of music.

The compositions range from traditional Xhosa rhythms, upbeat Mbaqanga, a touch of reggae, thumping kwaito and quasi-gospel sounds that are truly representative of this artists broad range. Thandiswa straddles the urban and the rural, and effortlessly melds the traditional with the modern. A child raised in South Africa's urban townships, her birthplace is rural Transkei, and in Zabalaza, she remains unfailingly loyal to both.[2]

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Mkhankatho Interlude" – 0:35
  2. "Nizalwa Ngobani?" (Do you know where you come from?) – 6:44
  3. "Emzini Interlude" – 0:21
  4. "Ndiyahamba" (I'm Leaving) – 6:19
  5. "Zabalaza" (Rebellion) – 6:41
  6. "Revelation" – 8:13
  7. "Indaba Interlude" – 0:18
  8. "Lahl' Umlenze" – 6:10
  9. "Ntyilo Ntyilo" – 5:13
  10. 'Ndilinde" (Wait for Me) – 5:51
  11. "Kwanele" (It's Enough) – 6:06
  12. "Ndizakulibala" (I Will Forget You) – 5:22
  13. "Transkei Moon" – 5:57