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Ayanda Jiya. Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

South African Women Dropped the Best Debuts of 2019

We highlight 10 noteworthy albums & EPs from a new generation of vocal talent in South Africa, featuring Elaine, Ayanda Jiya, Ami Faku and more.

The South African music scene has seen an uptick in youthful, vocally gifted artists over the years. Much of this is owed to the recent global resurgence of R&B, as well as the increased significance of streaming sites, especially SoundCloud.

From internet-savvy artists creating jazz, alternative soul and house-infused spoken word to radio friendly iterations of pop and Afro-soul, 2019 has been the year of impactful debut performances.

This year ushered in the voices of a new generation of South African female artists announcing themselves to the world.

Here's a lowdown of 10 great releases from talented female vocalists, songwriters and composers marking this new era.

Read ahead below. This list is in no particular order.

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Walshy Fire Photo: RAHIM FORTUNE

Interview: Walshy Fire On Reconnecting Africa and the Caribbean through The Sound Of Rum

A conversation with the Jamaican born DJ/Producer and Bacardi Sound Of Rum curator who's worked with Mr Eazi, Vanessa Mdee, Ice Prince and Runtown.

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"If we aren't talking about growth, positivity and good energy in the opportunities that we have, then we're wasting our opportunities" Walshy Fire says. "It's about helping move the culture forward - which is what I want to do". The artist, born Leighton Paul Walsh, recently released his Afrobeats and dancehall-fusing debut solo album, ABENG, after achieving global success as one third of supergroup Major Lazer and producing standout hits such as Koffee's "Toast".

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