Cwaka is a fifteen-track offering recorded at Milestone Studios Cape Town. Aside from Mandisi’s powerful vocal and trumpet to his powerful compositions and arrangements, these original compositions were recorded with some of South Africa’s most established performers namely Kevin Gibson on drums who has recorded with the likes of Ray Phiri, Johnny Clegg, Zim Ngqawana and more. The eternally soulful Buddy Wells on saxophone, Steve De Sousa on double bass and piano roles shared by three great players; Lonwabo Mafani – who makes his debut, Andrew Lilley and Blake Hellaby who both played on the previous album “Somandla” make an appearance on this record as well.
There is also a string section featured on a few tracks comprised of Sisa Mgauli, Shaheema Lakay, Sarah Evans, Ashlin Grobbelaar as well as backup vocals are (mainly done by Mandisi Dyantyis himself) but artfully embellished by Nontsusa Louw, Nombongo Fatyi, Nonkululeko Nkwinti, Masakhane Sotayisi are featured on a few tracks.
The Album title derived from Exodus 14:14 “uYehova uyakunilwela, ke nina niyakuthi Cwaka”
In the words of Dyantyis, “This album is about people. It looks at how different experiences shape the people we become. It looks at how love and loss shape us, happiness and despair shape us. It looks at the different relationships, from loved ones, family, our society, and even our leaders…It reminds us that we are here because someone cared for us and they never gave up on us, so we cannot give up on others. Singabantu abenziwe ngabantu. Cwaka reminds us of the strength and the resilience of the human spirit. That, even when it feels like all is lost, humans always find a way to rise up – Cwaka encourages us to lift those who do not have the strength at this particular moment and to remind them not to give up.”
Mandisi Dyantyis is a South African (Port Elizabeth born and raised and Cape Town based) vocalist, trumpeter, arranger, composer and musical director for theatre. Not only was his debut album “Somandla” nominated for the SAMA award for Best Jazz Album as well as being nominated for the Mzantsi Jazz Awards and The Afrima African Music Awards in the “Best Jazz Artist category” but is also a powerful representative of South African (theatre) at home and abroad with Musical Director for theatre company Isango Ensemble. Mandisi regularly performs to sold-out shows – instantly seducing anyone who sees him to follow him on his time travellers journey through the nuances of our history and culture.
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