Emerging South African singer-songwriter and musician Thando Skwatsha is a multi-talented performer who is known for combining his heartfelt, uplifting melodies and powerful vocals to weave a tapestry of contemporary native sounds. As a multilingual writer, Skwatsha shares his poetic stories in his home language, isiXhosa as well as isiZulu and English. He draws from his Xhosa heritage, family and life experience and crafts stories that leave listeners with hope, love, and consolation in times of hardship, as well as joy, perspective, and peace in times of plenty. His music is not his own, it is for all of us, and it is his deep hope that it will accompany and ease us through the highs and lows that we may experience on our journey.
The release of his debut album imini nentsuku is a 12-track body of work that showcases Skwatsha’s captivating voice, impassioned songwriting, and authentic South African sound, which are served on a musical plate of lush Afrosoul and Afropop soundscapes, with elements of house and Afrobeat sensibilities. Written by Skwatsha himself and his team made up of producer Milan Rendall, mix engineer/producer Keron Sheriff Thomspon (Major Lazer, Wyclef Jean), and mastered by Christian Wright (Ed Sheeran, Radiohead, Laura Marling) at the renowned Abbey Road Studios.
The album opens with the soulful lead single "isaziso", which sees Skwatsha reflecting on how his transition from childhood to adulthood has changed the relationship with his parents, this is followed by the sombre "ibali", which dwells on an unrequited love that was not allowed to exist for cultural reasons. The album continues with a glorious cinematic ballad "thandolwami" that sees the singer reflecting on past love while the bright soundscapes of "andazi" offers a different feel as we hear him showing growth as he finds his own way in this dog-eat-dog world. The singer explores the theme further in the album with "all night", where he croons about hope and believing in oneself over a bouncy groove and brooding texture. Songs like "ngyazfela", "mina nawe", "umuntu" and "khumbula" continue Skwatasha’s exploration of love and relationships with their own unique take on the subject.
From unpacking how jealousy can cause heartbreak to gaining strength in walking away from a dying relationship to being lovelorn over a missing lover, Thando digs deep into these topics with a grounded view steeped in his South African heritage and outlook. That strong theme of hope continues into ‘iskhalo sabantwana’, where Skwatsha extols the good that can still be found in the world and calls on the listener to lean more into the good of the world.
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