Bongeziwe Mabandla is a South African musician based in Johannesburg, who started out predominantly playing folk music accompanied by an acoustic guitar and lyrics in isiXhosa, one of South Africa’s official languages. Since 2012, when his first album Umlilo came out to rapturous reviews in France, Mabandla has been edging towards a more hybrid sound which you can hear to full effect on his latest track ukuthanda wena, from his fourth album amaXesha. Electronic beats and arpeggiated synths dominate songs that were once strummed only with an acoustic guitar. Aside from the arrangements, it is Mabandla’s voice that defines the music. Alternating between an easy falsetto and a stomach-deep tenor, it hypnotises the listener. The lyrics, incomprehensible to the Western listener, add to the mystique. With Mabandla’s music you don’t need to understand the words to understand the meaning.