CULTURE IS KING WITH AUBREY QWANA
Aubrey Qwana’s ep “Imvula Mlomo” is simply put, music for the people. His music reflects a contemporary South Africa, proud and unapologetic about his roots, whilst maintaining a thoughtful finger on the pulse of urban trends. It is a relatable mix of modern Afro-pop, spiritual gospel with a down to earth dose of traditional folk songs and edgy swerves into hip-hop.
An artist emerges.
2018 not only saw the emergence of Aubrey Qwana with his hit single “Ngaqonywa” and a swift signing to Sony Music Entertainment. What followed was a by now gold-certified, DJ Tira- remix of “Ngaqonywa”, and an appearance on Sho Madjozi’s highly anticipated debut album Limpopo Champions League. Madjozi would appear a year later on Qwana’s track “Uhamba Nobani.”
“Imvula Mlomo” is a gift
“Imvula Mlomo” refers to a gift that is presented to a bride’s family before any proceedings during a lobola negotiation. In turn, Qwana describes his ep “Imvula Mlomo” as a gift. It represents an introduction to his oeuvre so to speak: an index of thoughts, philosophies and cultural discussions to be discussed and further fleshed out in a full album. He argues that, mistakenly, many have assumed his music is all about love songs. Rather, on an introspective note, he says it’s more about life.
Tracks “Umbhulelo” and “Umendo” are inspired by the sound of the Zion Church. Qwanda has a deep spiritual connection with the church. Other influences include mbhaqanga and maskandi music, from visiting his mother as a child in Johannesburg at a hostel. Qwana also has a background in hip-hop, earning his stripes as a rapper in Ladysmith and Ulundi. This is felt strongly on “Ngakwenzani”, a hip-hop track fused with elements of “ushuni wasemakhaya” (traditional tunes/sounds).
The artist, whose unique style has the fashionistas talking, describes his look as having to speak for him in social settings because he is a quiet person. Having recently returned to Ladysmith to record four tracks in four days, Qwana worked with producers who originally gave him a break, in the same way Sho Madjozi and DJ Tira opened a way from him. These tracks will go towards his much-anticipated, forthcoming album. What we do know about it is “Culture is King”.
C.S.A.’s monthly cultural portal, The WIRE connects the dots of culture. With concise stories, many with video content, take a premium dive into the world of African entertainment & cultural fluidity. It’s one thing to be hip to what’s happening but it is another to know why.
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