popular
Anatii. Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

Medicine For The Soul: Anatii Finds His Sound on His Soothing New Album ‘Iyeza’

Iyeza is the sound of a day turning into a gorgeous twilight.

Iyeza is a masterpiece. It's music for the soul, with Anatii providing an intensely healing listen, which is fitting, considering the album title literally means "medicine" or "anti-dote."

The album contains percussion, chants, guitars, bass lines and melodies associated with an array of sounds. There are elements of everything from gospel, maskandi and mbhaqanga to hints of Afropop and hip-hop. Anatii follows the path taken by South African artist such as Mashayabhuqe KaMamba, Sjava, Mlindo The Vocalist and Bongeziwe Mabandla in fusing elements of traditional South African music with newer sounds.


The album-opener "Wena" is a dreamy wedding song that encapsulates the sense of romance, praise and culture Iyeza explores. On "Ehlathini," the artist is clearly in his musical pocket. With the refrain "we suffer through the weekdays," the track compares the struggles of Joburg to the solace of nature. From those hardships, Anatii aims to transport us to a place more serene. What makes this album so appealing is his invitation to us to actively go with him, rather than stumble upon the destination.

Anatii. Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

He literally asks "usa hamba nami?" on "U Sangthanda Na?" where he channels the voice of the late Ray Phiri. On the standout "Ndaweni," which is reminiscent of the maskandi duo Shwi NoMntekhala, he talks about being recognized wherever he goes.

The songs on Iyeza range from romantic to longing, but more immediately, fuse Anatii's hip-hop background with diverse sounds. It's this duality that makes this album such a wholesome listen, with the switches in mood combining for a replenishing experience.

Read: AKA, Anatii and the Gospel of Money & Power

"Ntloni," a certified banger, juxtaposes Xhosa chants with a bustling bassline and hypnotic xylophone while "Ngozi" lulls you into a daze as it's centred around looped notes. That's until the beat drops, and it's a quarter to turn up, providing a similar feeling to the infectious "Holy Mountain" off his collaborative album with AKA, Be Careful What You Wish For. Building on those sounds and songs like "Thanda" from his debut album Artiifact, is proof that this is the sound Anatii has been working towards for a long time.

He tackles all the songs on Iyeza, with IsiXhosa at the forefront of his delivery and his knack for catchy ad libs will keep you hooked. While listening to this offering, there's definitely no need for sleep, as he serenades on "Vuka," which incidentally embodies the album's ability to simultaneously hype and calm you. Iyeza is the sound of a day turning into a gorgeous twilight. It's warm and the music is buttery, romantic and refreshingly spiritual.

Iyeza amalgamates a range of influences into a cohesive 33 minutes. "Ndaweni" for instance, draws on maskandi but incorporates the classic "hey, hey, hey" hip-hop chant. These moments are when the texture of Iyeza is revealed. The layers of production and subject matter centre both Anatii's musical influences and the artist's spirituality. Traces of gospel are apparent on "God Is My Best Friend" and "Zion (Interlude)," while the music video for "Thixo Onofefe" includes religious symbols, candles and a traditional healer exalting the grace of God.

To end the album on this note keeps the listener craving for more and highlights the commendable sequencing of the songs. Considering the myriad of influences the artist draws upon, Anatii accomplishes a sultry synthesis of sounds. Between the lush bass lines, traditional instrumentation and enchanting rhythms, Iyeza is designed to let you be a repository for the magic pouring out. With the help of producer BLFR, the soundscape Anatii achieves is his most cohesive yet. In making Iyeza proudly Xhosa and also a bop, this is Anatii coming full circle as the Electronic Bushman. Oh, and he did it all with no features!

Stream Iyeza below and/or download it here.

Read: Meet BLFR, the 19-Year-Old Producer Behind Hits From AKA, Anatii, Riky Rick & Others

popular

The 10 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Featuring Burna Boy, Maleek Berry, Fik Fameica, Michael Kiwanuka, Wale, and more

Every week, we highlight the cream of the crop in music through our Best Music of the Week column.

Here's our round up of the best tracks and music videos that came across our desks, which you can also check out in our Songs You Need to Hear This Week playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.

Follow our SONGS YOU NEED TO HEAR THIS WEEK playlist on Spotify here and Apple Music here.

Check out all of OkayAfrica's new playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.

Keep reading... Show less
popular
Photo of Nnedi Okorafor by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images.

Nnedi Okorafor's Highly-Anticipated Memoir, 'Broken Places & Outer Spaces,' Is Here

This is the first work of non-fiction to come from the prolific science fiction writer.

Nnedi Okorafor, acclaimed Nigerian-American science fiction, fantasy and magical realism writer, has released her first work of non-fiction, Brittle Paper reports.

Broken Places & Outer Spaces: Finding Creativity in the Unexpected is her memoir chronicling the journey from being a star athlete to facing paralysis—to her eventual creative awakening. Published by TED Books, a Simon & Schuster imprint, the prolific author gives us a powerful example and guide of how our perceived limitations can have the potential to become our greatest strengths.

"I've been writing this on and off since it all happened," she explains in a thread on Twitter. "The original manuscript is over 300 pages. I *needed* to record every detail while they were fresh, so there are parts of this book that I wrote while I still wasn't quite able to walk."

Here's a snippet of the synopsis from the publisher below:

Keep reading... Show less
popular

Michael Kiwanuka Teams Up With Tom Misch for Disco-Inspired Single 'Money'

The British-Ugandan musician explores the dangers of money on an infectious new collaboration with British producer Tom Misch.

It's been a while since we heard from British-Ugandan soul singer Michael Kiwanuka, but he's back with a new single and we couldn't be more here for it.

The artist teamed up with fellow British musician Tom Misch for the funk and disco-inspired single "Money." The mid tempo song is one made for chill summer nights, as Kiwanuka soulful vocals pair smoothly with Misch impressive guitar work. The '70s influence comes off strongly on the nearly 5-minute track.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

news.

popular.