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Simphiwe Dana Shares New Single ‘Usikhonzile’ from Upcoming Album ‘Bamako’

Listen to Simphiwe Dana's new single 'Usikhonzile.'

Simphiwe Dana recently released the first single from her upcoming studio album. The song, which is titled "Usikhonzile" is a dedication to an undisclosed character who the South African jazz/soul musician sings praises to as he/she/they is a friend of many people in this country." She told News Central in a recent interview. "It's basically meant to give him his 'flowers' while he is still alive. It's about praising him for the work he has done for many people," she told the website.

The artist's ethereal voice finds a home over electric guitars; it's reminiscent of her 2015 album, the experimental Firebrand.

"Usikhonzile" is the first single from Dana's album which will be titled Bamako. "I have a strong affinity for West African music, particularly Mali and Senegal," Dana told News Central. "Last year, I took the opportunity to produce some of the songs on the album while in the Malian city of Bamako, where I stayed for almost a month. It was my first time in Mali and I experienced the country's culture through Bamako and this is how I came up with the title, Bamako."

Bamako, which arrives on in March, will be Dana's fifth studio album which joins monumental releases such as Zandisile (2004), Kulture Noir (2010), One Love on Bantu Biko Street (2006) and the aforementioned Firebrand (2014). Bamako comes with two fitting appearances from Malian legend Salif Keita who appears on the songs "Masibambaneni" and "Ndizamile."

Stream "Usikhonzile" below and pre-order/pre-save/pre-add Bamako on your streaming platform of choice.


Interview
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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