We’re always on the lookout for new music and it’s so exciting when artists release new work… It’s even more exciting when the new work is their first. For our very first online Q&A, we welcome the talented Buhlebendalo. She released her first album Chosi last week 5 June and we caught up with her to find out a little bit more about it. Hope you enjoy this chat:
You started your music career creating and performing music with other voices (your former band members), explain how being on your own now as a solo artist feels like? How different is it not having a “share of voice” on Chosi?
Buhle: Being on my own feels like rebirth on its own. It feels good being able to explore all the voices I hear in my head and not being limited to go further than that. I’m bursting out of myself and not scared to fall because it will be my very own lesson to learn.
You took a break in 2016 while with The Soil and these (we could imagine) would change the dynamics of the group as they also had to get a stand-in. What influenced and lead you to your final decision to go solo after your break?
Buhle: I believe going solo was part of my ancestors’ plan. My Foremothers and Fathers demanded a place to dwell from me, they then gave me the task to continue with teaching and healing my generation and the generations to come.
How does it feel to officially be acknowledged as Buhlebendalo? Not Buhlebendalo from The Soil?
Buhle: Being a woman of my caliber in society gets a bit tricky sometimes. I’m bold, ghetto, yet so poised and reserved. So I’ve always wanted these womxn in me to be understood and taken the way they are. Being seen as these Womxn gives a sense of freedom I always want to have. My name is Buhlebendalo aka Sis Getty Mda.
Let’s talk about the album and cover concept. What was the most important thing you wanted to be highlighted on this cover? Who shot and styled it?
Buhle: I worked with very close friends of mine MO Matli and Botshelo Mondi whose work is beyond comprehension. I always want to be hands-on in the work that I do, so I decided to style my own shoot using the inspiration of OoMakhulu (grandmothers) from the rurals who paint their faces and smoke their pipes while sharing songs.
Describe being a healer, musician, and compiling a work of art like this. We know music is such a universal language and it could heal or evoke different emotions to the people listening to it – what is the intention with Chosi?
Buhle: 99% of the songs on Chosi are in Nguni(isiZulu and isiXhosa). This is the only way I’m able to connect with the Higher Power, this is the only way I’m able to express myself, this is my way of healing. My intention with Chosi is not to focus on the understanding of the lyrics and concept, but the ability to transcend with the listener to spaces all our souls have been seeking. I space of oneness, a space of calm, a space of unlearning, and being open and bare and to be dressed with a new cloth of knowledge.
Which two songs in the album took the least and longest time to make? What was effortless and difficult about the songs?
Buhle: None of these songs came easy. They all carry an emotion that sat with me for years. All this work took pieces of me, none of it was easy, just like womxn’s lives in this world. We don’t have it easy.
What do you envision your first performance of your first solo album to be like?
Buhle: I performed these songs way before I released the album. What is monumental for me is that my first ever solo performance was at Mam’ Winnie Madikizela Mandela’s Memorial which was at the prestigious Constitution Hill. So, as painful as that time was, it will always be dear to me.
LA: Any virtual performances we can look forward to following the release of Chosi?
You can catch the recording of my Virtual Launch that was done Live Direct on WatchaTV on the 4th June 2020.
Thank you ️️