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Album Review: Zahara Makes Statement With ‘Country Girl’

Third time still lucky? Zahara aims to affirm her place in the South African music industry with brand new album Country Girl. Should you buy it? Here’s a full review

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2015 came with many personal and professional highs and lows for Zahara. Admittedly, fans were concerned about the singer’s wellbeing after rumours of a downward spiral, which involved alcohol abuse, swirled in the streets. But even amid all the mudslinging, all the Loliwe singer could really say was, ‘I am in the studio curating my return’. And now months later, Country Girl becomes her third studio album.

zahara-countrygirl

Rightfully, the album has been one of the most anticipated ones for the year. Not just because fans wanted firm reassurance that they still have their Queen in tact, but also because that Queen happens to be Zahara. She boasts two multi platinum albums with massive commercial success. By this very virtue, it is unsurprising then that her return to the airwaves would be as urgent as it was.

So what is Zahara saying on this album? Has she shut sceptics to reclaim her very unique position as the darling of the country’s music industry?

Possibly, we are asking the wrong questions. Proving wrong those who cast shadows of doubt in her career is not being addressed on Country Girl, because there was never doubt in the first place. Instead, Zahara took the opportunity to break away from the formula she stuck with in her first two records to flex up her sound and be playful. While the songbird has kept true to her authentic and raw sound, she experiments a bit more on here.

In fact, for the first time, she attempts to showcase her range. The album is a fresh blend of different sounds that include folk, pop, afro jazz and a bit of rock n roll. In this way, Country Girl is not as uniform and as conceptual as the first two albums. Rather, she claims a new confidence in attempting and expanding her sound to incorporate the richness of music.

What’s Right With It?

Country Girl has all the makings of a great South African album. The sound is solid and rich, there is enough to go around for different moods and moments. You can play this in your car, on Saturday afternoon with your friends at a braai or after a break up. Zahara’s beautiful husky voice shines and blends very well with the organic instrumentation. Tracks like Country Girl, Bendirongo are instant stand outs while we hear others as growers.

Bomibam for instance, is much more heartfelt and requires a moment of your time. It reminds us of her song Bomi’ Endibaziyo and flaunts Zahara’s signatures.

What’s Wrong With It? 

Well naturally, not much. We would, however, caution fans who are looking for signature Zahara. She goes out there a little bit more on this one.

Album Tracklist

  1. Ntombenhle
  2. Bomibam
  3. Imali
  4. Inameva
  5. Bengirongo
  6. Izintaba
  7. Amapleya
  8. Okutshia
  9. Walks Of Life
  10. Udali
  11. Who I Am
  12. Country Girl
  13. Stop The Night

RATING

Country Girl gets our rating of 7/10. Grab yourself a copy on iTunes HERE

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0 Comments

  1. mavee

    September 28, 2015 at 2:06 pm

    Very nice album n it touch my heart. May God bless u Zahara

  2. Zola dyani

    September 29, 2015 at 1:12 pm

    zahara u ar wearing Brenda fassie’s shoes and its ur size, big up ntombi yomxhosa ndiyazingca ngawe. I got copy, so far intaba and bendirongo ar my songs to enjoy bt the whole album ishushu.

  3. Nwai

    September 29, 2015 at 3:03 pm

    i personally like it “baby bendi wrongo ” well done once again home girl!!

  4. Ndora

    October 2, 2015 at 7:30 pm

    Ucwambu lodwa mntanam, big up big girl.

  5. Luke

    October 3, 2015 at 8:02 am

    It sounds like an underground album. It doesn’t have those maturity touches of an artist who has been in the studio 3x. It doesn’t steal one’s attention, lyrical contents and instrumental arrangement don’t hold water. If an album has no sing along songs, know that it’s a flop. It might hit gold because her followers would like to hear what she had dished but in true sense she didn’t rise as expected.

    • Lloyd

      December 9, 2015 at 9:17 pm

      I love all the songs, especially “amaplaya”, Okushia, “izintaba”, inameva”, “bomibami”imali all the tracks actually all the songs well done girl u made me proud.

  6. Pingback: 12 Things Local Artists Must Learn From Zahara – RIGHT NOW! | Quench SA

  7. luvuyo

    December 20, 2015 at 8:17 pm

    this album is just hot no færther comments with bomibam n all other songz am blessed

  8. Dazel Vokwana Dumolwethu

    December 28, 2015 at 5:11 pm

    Go Zaaza keep making us proud,Buffalo City STAND UP…..

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Music

Anatii’s Iyeza Is His Best Work Yet – Album Review

Anatii’s Iyeza is a cohesive, fervent and spiritual journey. He’s found his sound, his faith and, the calling he must heed.

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Anatii Iyeza Review
Photo Credit: Anatii via Instagram
Review of: Anatii – Iyeza

Reviewed by:
Rating:
5
On October 13, 2018
Last modified:October 13, 2018

Summary:

Anatii's 10 track album finds him at his most confident as he fully dives into his African heritage to bring us a luxuriant and soulful project

Rarely have we seen an artist whose creative legitimacy has remained as uncontested as Anatii’s. On the contrary, “I feel like he’s going to buy weed at KFC”, is one of the most popular comments on his Youtube account, a reference to him ‘making the pots happen.’

In South Africa’s increasingly cynical – and ever critically discerning – soundscape, the market sometimes goes harder on rappers than they do on politics. Your faves get blasted every other day and you know that.

Yet, apart from the fact that his personal life remains as withheld from the public as much as he shuns the splashy displays that have become hinged to album promotional build ups, its the sheer production virtuosity, talent and compelling storytelling that set him apart.

Anatii Iyeza Review

Perhaps, the 25-year-old rapper feels no pressure.

And why should he? Halfway through his twenties, his catalogue boasts a slew of timeless classics that have shaped the business as much as they disrupted the convention. Things were never quite the same after The Saga, were they? In all honesty, that verse might have introduced Balmain to the better part of our youth. And it’s also here that ‘sexy chubby n****’ became some cool lexicon.

Back to Iyeza. A few songs allude to spiritual callings to which he must heed. That might or might have not influenced a controversial radio presenter to attempt ‘outing’ him as one who has answered a sangoma calling.

Thriving at the periphery of the formulaic tried-and-true, Anatii’s distinct sound and beautiful Xhosa heritage and a strong anchor in contemporary sound continues being a definitive factor in his fascinating journey on his latest album, Iyeza.

Fascinating is the word because, on this album, he departs from playing to mainstream seductions and enters a spiritual realm of unbridled authenticity.

Anatii Iyeza Review

We know that he’s entered a whole new dimension in his career because on this album, he turns to isiXhosa to articulate his most complex, emotional and personal ideas. That’s as true as it is for his song titles – which are mostly in his native language – as much as it is for his beautifully African album artwork and album title. Iyeza means (traditional) medicine.

In many ways, Iyeza is the more refined masterpiece that his previous collaborative project with AKA – Be Careful What You Wish For – aimed to be.

Anatii Iyeza Review

It’s the successor that better showcases Anatii’s multilayered technique, spiritual faith and character. Mind you, that’s not even paying dust to BCWYF, which was a decent contribution to Hip Hop.

This 10 track project finds Anatii straddling the gaps between Trap and traditional African sonic flavours. He’s truly found himself here – bringing nostalgic elements that distil the often understated South African musical footprint to trap 808s in ways that no one else has tackled out here.

There are some subtle electronic synths that enhance African inspired electric guitars and organic traditional sounds on Wena, the album’s opening track. A perfect opener, the song sets the mood and vibe that will become the cohesive thread weaving this album together into an embrace of an authentic African expression of self. The song has the spirit of Jabu Khanyile, Joe Nina, Tshepo Tshole and Caiphus Semenya all over it, without having anything to do with these icons.

One of the album’s best tracks, Ngozi (Danger) follows next. It’s one of the songs in which he makes mention of his ancestors in a spiritual sense, a divine being who is active in his life. Perhaps as a reference to the pressures of heeding a calling, the song explores the conflict between running away, like a fugitive, from what he’s been called to do, or from danger, and the simpler comfort zones. It’s a space that most of us will have to navigate at one point or another.

The end of this song has a beautiful transition into something abstract, spiritual and ethereal. Anatii could be flirting with ululating, or just diving in and out of his African heritage, which contains in it the rich texture of melodic musicality.

ALBUM REVIEW: NASTY C – STRINGS & BLING

The narrative of risk and foreboding fear of lurking danger continues onto Hlatini, another solid bop on the album. At this point, the album has completely matured in its assumption of a specific identity. The chord progressions and vocals styles are now fully anchored in Africa’s infinite musical universe. Something about the chorus and hook could remind an old soul of the Soul Brothers.

Ndaweni sustains the momentum. With high pitch and spirited vocals which he lays over a song that could have easily charted alongside Mandoza, Trompies and Abashante back in the 90s, Anatii continues making a firm statement about his musical DNA. He’s not here to churn out pointless number ones and produce random beats to make a quick buck. He’s here to shift the landscape. And he cares about a whole lot of things, one of them being the sheer feeling of his productions.

ALBUM REVIEW: BIG STAR JOHNSON – ME & MINES 

Ntloni is one of the album’s more commercially palatable bangers. It has all the elements of a bop you’d jam to at Taboo, at Pop Bottles, at the Sands. It has a beautiful summer hit finish to it, which Anatii has already proven to have no problem whipping out.

Vuka is possibly the album’s most beautiful love song. It’s a sing-along, smooth and lush African summer jam. The chorus and hook instantly demand to be kept on a loop. The organic instrumentation allows the hearty harmonies to shine, giving the song a verdant laid-back vibe.

 

 

 

 

Anatii's 10 track album finds him at his most confident as he fully dives into his African heritage to bring us a luxuriant and soulful project
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Events

Vince Staples To Headline The 2nd Annual Caspule Fest This November

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Capsule Poster Vince Staples

Leading SA streetwear retailer Sportscene recently announced the first wave of performers for the second annual CAPSULE FEST taking place in Joburg next month. The festival will feature international headliner Vince Staples alongside some of SA’s hottest acts right now.

From his critically acclaimed debut Summertime ’06 album in 2015 to his most recent project, Big Fish Theory, this Compton local Vince Staples keeps his sound deeply tied to his west coast roots and his message is one that knows no boundaries. Currently a member of the hip-hop trio Cutthroat Boyz, he is a standout rapper in today’s hip hop world reaching critical acclaim with every release.

Taking place on Saturday, 24th November 2018 at Zone 6 in Soweto, the festival will host a music concert featuring SA heavy hitters Riky Rick, AKA and Babes Wodumo, amongst an array of other popular street culture activities to do.

RELATED: BLACK COFFEE”S MUSIC IS KING CONCERT REVEALS FIRST LINEUP 

The second annual CAPSULE FEST is an urban street cultural festival that brings together artists, music lovers, influencers, designers, creatives, sport enthusiasts, consumers and brands in an authentic celebration of SA and African street culture.

Following last year’s success, the festival will again package a unique experience offering including brand exhibitions, Sneaker activations, Gaming, Skating, live music talks and a host of other exciting activities to cater for various age groups.

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Events

Get Lucky Summer NYE Celebration Back With Freshlyground, Goodluck & More

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GET LUCKY NYE Cape Town

The time of the year to start finalising those year-end party plans is upon us, as is the time to bang out those leave request forms at the office. The travel stokvels are coming to an end for a lot of people, the bonuses and the 13th cheques are looming. It’s time to shine. Well, if you will be in the Cape Town at the very end of 2018, the Get Lucky Summer NYE party might just be the plug for you.

 

South Africa’s top electronic trio Goodluck, our soulful legends Freshlyground, dancefloor powerhouse Kyle Watshop, and folk-pop sensations Rubber Due will all be ringing in New Year in Plett at the  Get Lucky Summer NYE Party on the Robberg Rugby Club lawns, 31 December 2018.

Get Lucky Summer NYE Square

 

The Get Lucky Summer NYE celebration promises to be another magical night that audience members won’t forget. Set under the Garden Route stars, in the heart of Plettenberg Bay, with fully-stocked bars and facilities, an exclusive VIP viewing deck, delicious tasty treats from the variety of food trucks, and world class live music entertainment!

If chart-topping music, live entertainment, unforgettable holidays, pure fun, family, friends and good times are what you are all about… then this is the perfect way to see in the New Year of 2019.

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