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Aubrey Qwana pays homage To his late mother with “Mkabayi” debut album

Last week Aubrey Qwana dropped off his 15-track debut album called Mkabayi that is said to uniquely blend genres, cultures and styles while crystallising his distinct bridging of traditional and contemporary sounds as well as pays homage to Qwana’s late mother, Mkabayi ka Mbhabhama, and addresses the personal and communal with idiomatic flair. 

As Qwana puts forth his heartfelt musings, various themes contribute to the hues of Mkabayi. He recounts motherly advice on the nolly m-assisted opener “Izibusiso”, before romance abounds across songs like “Tshitshi Lami”, “Emazweni” and “Ngibambe”—where Qwana and Makhadzi’s isiZulu and Tshivenda lyrics entwine. This inclination towards fusion finds further expression in the gospel-tinged “Galile”, rap-inflected “Inhliziyo”, amapiano-infused “Impophoma” and R&B-leaning “Uyahamba”, which intersperse moments of layered storytelling. 

The Ulundi native couches lamentations on betrayal between Sjava’s refrains on “Inyoka”, resigns to his fate over the maskandi rhythms of “Akasangifuni” and frames the percussive “Endiphini” against a pastoral backdrop, while anguishing over financial hardship alongside Mnqobi Yazo. “Ihlongandlebe” concludes the offering with a focus on the paternal, and its vulnerability encapsulates Aubrey Qwana’s artistic ethos: embracing openness in both the musical and lyrical 

Listen below:


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