Musician and entrepreneur Jessica Mbangeni has delivered on her promise to be a force to be reckoned with.
After her award-winning debut album ‘iGoli’, the South African ethnic Afro-jazz artist and performer returns with her second offering titled ‘Busisiwe: Tribute to African Heroines’. Coinciding with her much anticipated first Live DVD; the album released on 26 October and produced by renowned guitarist, Lawrence Matshiza features contributions by outstanding artists such as Standard Bank Young Artist Award recipient Nduduzo Makhathini on piano and keys, drummer Rob Watson, percussionist Gari Gong and bassist Lucas Senyato.
The proudly African title track ”Busisiwe: Tribute to African Heroines’ is Mbangeni’s celebration of Busi Mhlongo’s influence in shaping South African music and pays homage to the women, known and unknown, who fought the struggle against apartheid. Jessica Mbangeni also gives musical voice to the millions of women who continue to bear the brunt of intimate and social injustice.
‘Ekugqibeleni – Mama’ pays tribute to Jessica’s grandmother who raised her and was rejected by her husband and in-laws after the kidnapping and murder of Mbangeni’s younger sister.
“Sharing these experiences heals the pain of my wounded family,” Mbangeni adds.
“I sing about the beauty of Africans. The world is beginning to celebrate us because we have rediscovered and are now proud to share the beauty of our diverse cultures” here, Jessica refers to songs like ‘Qula Kwedini’, a traditional isiXhosa song that is sung for returning male initiates. “Although it is directed at men, this song is also an expression of women’s thoughts and aspirations as to how these young men will be of benefit to society,” she relates.
Mbangeni’s debut live DVD ‘Jessica Mbangeni Sings: iGoli and Ntyilo Ntyilo Unplugged – Live at The Lyric Theatre’ showcases her performance skills, which she gained through her informal training by, among others, the late bassist and composer Victor Ntoni. Here, influences of Maskandi guitar and Shona music come to the fore while McCoy Mrubata, Bheki Khoza and Mncedisi Kupa add their shine to Mbangeni’s performance. Old and new fans will get to witness Jessica’s presentation of the songs that saw her garner a top 10 position at the South African Music Awards, 7 nominations and 2 South African Traditional Music Awards for Best Female and Best isiXhosa album. Jessica has also been nominated for a Wawela Award alongside house music trio Mi Casa and has performed at the CMJ Festival in New York City. IGoli was also nominated for Best Newcomer and Best Jazz album at the Eastern Cape Music Awards.
Jessica Mbangeni’s inspired and unique African artistry, her entrepreneurial flair with which she has independently and successfully taken her music to the market continue to break boundaries, showing that truly, she and her music are definitely here to stay.