Stream Busi Mhlongo’s 2001 Awesome Africa Festival Performance

Relive Busi Mhlongo's 2001 performance at Awesome Africa Festival in newly released live album.

In light of June 15th, which marks the 10th Anniversary of Busi Mhlongo's passing from cancer in 2010, the label Early Big5 shares a previously unreleased 2001 concert recording of the legendary South African artist. The performance took place in Durban during the Awesome Africa Festival.

Dan Chirboli, founder of Awesome Africa Festival recalls:

"There have been many memorable performances over the years, but for me Busi's concert in front of an adoring home crowd was absolutely electrifying and unforgettable."

The 2001 concert features a unique 16-minute rendition of "Ntandane" from the artist's 1990 debut album Babhemu alongside staples such as "Yaphel' iMali Yami" and "Uganga Ngengane" from her 1999 album Urbanzulu. Busi Mhlongo is one of the greatest South African artists and performers. She claimed her place in the maskandi genre with a spiritual take and spoke up against issues the country's working class can still relate to, to this day.

The news of the release of Live @ Awesome Africa Durban 2001 comes after an announcement that Urbanzulu will be re-issued. The album remains a fan-favorite and the essential album by the musician and healer. It won three South African Music Awards: Best Female Artist, Best Adult Contemporary Album and Best African Pop Album. The re-issue will be available on vinyl and comes with remastered audio and new notes by esteemed journalist Kwanele Sosibo.

Busi Mhlongo's influence remains visible among contemporary South African artists such as Thandiswa Mazwai and Mashayabhuqe KaMamba among others.

Stream Busi Mhlongo's Live @ Awesome Africa Durban 2001 on Apple Music, Spotify and Deezer, and pre-order Urbanzulu on Bandcamp.

Awesome Africa 2001 performance artist line up:

Busi Mhlongo – Lead vocals
Bernard Mndaweni – electric bass and Musical Director
Brice Wassy – drums
Spector M. Ngwazi – maskanda guitar
Neil Gonsalves – keyboards
Mphendukelwa Mkhiza – harmonica
Ndodile Shezi – African dance and backing vocals
Khanyo Maphumulo & Slindile Ntini – backing vocals

Photo by Rafs Mayet
Artwork by Lerato Lichaba

Photo: Benoit Peverelli

Interview: Oumou Sangaré Proves Why She's the Songbird of Wassoulou

We caught up with the Malian singer to talk about her new Acoustic album, longevity as an artist, and growing up in Mali.

When Oumou Sangaré tells me freedom is at her core, I am not surprised. If you listen to her discography, you'll be hard-pressed to find a song that doesn't center or in some way touch on women's rights or child abuse. The Grammy award-winning Malian singer has spent a significant part of her career using her voice to fight for the rights of women across Africa and the world, a testimony to this is her naming her debut studio album Moussolou, meaning Woman. The album, a pure masterpiece that solidified Oumou's place amongst the greats and earned her the name 'Songbird of Wassoulou,' was a commercial success selling over 250,000 records in Africa and would in turn go on to inspire other singers across the world.

On her latest body of work Acoustic, a reworking of her critically acclaimed 2017 album Mogoya, Oumou Sangaré proves how and why she earned her accolades. The entirety of the 11-track album was recorded within two days in the Midi Live studio in Villetaneuse in 'live' conditions—with no amplification, no retakes or overdubs, no headphones. Throughout the album, using her powerful and raw voice that has come to define feminism in Africa and shaped opinions across the continent, Oumou boldly addresses themes like loss, polygamy and female circumcision.

We caught up with the Malian singer at the studio she is staying while in quarantine to talk about her new album, longevity as an artist, and growing up in Mali.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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