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New album and EP releases by South African artists in 2020

It’s the month of gift-giving again and if you’re short on ideas, be sure to browse through some of the latest album releases by South African artists for both the perfect gift and an opportunity to support the local arts. To help get your festive-season shopping started, we’ve put together a few of the latest releases below.

uGaba – The Migration | Sisonke Xonti

The highly anticipated sophomore release from saxophonist and composer Sisonke Xonti, winner of South Africa’s 2020 Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Jazz, should be on everyone’s list. Bokani Dyer, Benjamin Jephta, and Yonela Mnana are just a few of the musicians on board for this nine-track album, the heart of which can be found in Xonti’s four-part Migration Suite which he calls his ‘boldest work to date’. Give the album a listen on the music platform of your choice right here.

Sun-El Musician | To the World and Beyond

The award-winning musician and producer Sun-EL Musician released his second album, To the World and Beyond this year and it’s absolutely packed with brand new music. The 31-track, two-disc album features 26 collaborators including Ami Faku, Sauti Sol, Zolani Mahola, Julia Church, Bongeziwe Mabandla, and more. Listen to the full album here.

Vukazithathe | Anibakhuzeni

Bhekisenzo ‘Vukazithathe’ Cele is a maskandi artist and multi-instrumentalist from rural Dweshula, Port Shepstone. The musician has been something of a local maskandi legend for years, but was recently placed back in the public eye (and ear) through his latest album and by Nthato Mokgata, winner of the 2020 Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Music. Mokgata (better known as Spoek Mathambo) found something of a mentor in Vukazithathe and set about making a documentary about the artist. If you’re as taken by the maskandi mentor as Mokgata, you’ll want to give his album, Anibakhuzeni, a listen here.

Bongiziwe Mabandla | iimini

Bongiziwe Mabandla’s fast-becoming a national treasure and his latest album, iimini, only serves to reinforce this. His third album contain 12 tracks and is a touch lighter than his previous releases. ‘I really found the making of this album such a beautiful experience because everything that comes into an album is a moment,’ he tells Apple Music. ‘With my previous work I felt like a lot of my subject matter was very serious so I wanted to do something totally different, to hit a subject that was lighter. I wanted people to know that I’m not one dimensional and don’t think in one way. My previous album was about spirituality and about God so I decided to write this whole album about a relationship and love.’ Stream the album here.

Dwson | Hezekiah

Dwson is a young Cape Town electronic music producer who’s been said to breathe new life into South Africa’s deep house scene. In addition to a remix of Bongiziwe Mabandla’s ‘ndanele’, he’s also released a new four-track EP this year titled Hezekiah. Listen to Hezekiah on the music platform of your choice, right here.

Dumama + Kechou | buffering juju

The ‘nomadic future folk’ duo Dumama + Kechou took the music scene by storm this year. Their eight-track album buffering juju came out in March of 2020 and was well-received both locally and abroad. Dion Monti, Shane Cooper, and Siya Makuzeni are a few of the recognisable names on the album, which you can stream here.

Nduduzo Makhathini | Modes of Communication: Letters from the Underworlds

Award-winning jazz musician Nduduzo Makhathini released Modes of Communication: Letters from the Underworlds this year. Over the course of 2020, like many South African musicians, he also did a number of online performances for his ever-growing audience. Modes of Communication: Letters from the Underworlds is an 11-track album that’s some of his best work to date. Read our interview with Makhathini here and stream the full album here.

Other 2020 releases from SA and abroad that we loved:

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