Musician, songwriter, and cultural pioneer, Dr Thokozani Mhlambi’s newest single, New Sensation of Life, drops today on all streaming platforms.

The 37-year-old KwaZulu-Natal composer is known for incorporating art with music, having held an artistic residency at the prestigious Cite International des Arts in Paris France, and having his music used as a soundtrack for an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Mhlambi has just returned from an Artist Fellowship at the University of Bayreuth in Germany, where he spent most of his time interacting with other musicians and creating new work. His latest single leans into the love of storytelling through music with a special emphasis on new beginnings.

“The single was inspired by the events that transpired during the pandemic. There was this sense of hopelessness from everyone. But then there was a change, people began to get closer to one another again. A new sensation was born out of it. That is what the song represents to me,” he said

Last October, Mhlambi presented a 10-week cultural tour, where he was involved in a series of performances, panel discussions, and museum visits across North America. This was followed by Thokozani Mhlambi in Concert – a show comprising Zulu songs, performed on cello and voice. This was part of Mhlambi’s goal of highlighting the art of storytelling as an ancient African art form.

His latest single also focuses on collaboration and African influence.

“I was fortunate enough to work with a brilliant team of engineers and support people. The guys in Woodstock Cape Town, put together the right combination of equipment to give the song a very transparent colour. The mixing done in Durban was gentle but exquisite,” he said

The video for the song was shot in Bayreuth, Germany.

“This was a great boon. I got to experience the creative production side of things in a new country, with its own culture. I gained exposure to being able to articulate my ideas in a way that transcends cultural barriers. It was very important for me. Because I did not want to tell just a South African story, I wanted to convey a message that could reach people everywhere,” he said.

His collaborative nature was brought through in the video as he worked with the Bayreuth Balletschulle (Ballet school), who brought dancers of different ages to feature in the video.

“I enlisted the support of friends I made along my journey, who feature as the guests at the banquet in the video.

“I wanted to use the moment to reflect on my journey as a travelling musician, and how I may also leave an imprint in the places I have been. So the video is also a kind of archive, a storehouse of feelings, emotions, revealed through the visual message,” he said.

The song is available on all streaming platforms today.

To check out some of his performances in Germany, visit YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A13079SIa-E

Listen to Mhlambi’s single, New Sensation of Life, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9w3tWG_4RZs

SOCIAL MEDIA HANDLES:

  • Website: http://thokozanimhlambi.com
  • Facebook: @thokozani.music
  • Instagram: @thokozani_mhlambi
  • Tiktok: @thokozani_mhlambi
  • Twitter: @mhlambitn

ABOUT DR THOKOZANI MHLAMBI

Mhlambi is a musician, and cultural thinker who has a strong sense of community and how local and global connections. He builds artistic visions using an internationalist methodology, which is inspired by the ground-breaking work of Pan-African philosophers like CLR James, WEB DuBois, HIE Dhlomo, and Paulo Freire. Mhlambi’s creative influences come from those who created the tradition of African anthems, such as Reuben Caluza, Ntsikana, John Knox Bokwe, and Enoch Sontonga, to name a few. These individuals modernized tradition in the same way that the Ancient Greeks did by creating an ethos of mousike. He draws inspiration from folk music from throughout the world to develop his own unique style.

Mhlambi uses his art and exhibitions in order to convey African stories/philosophies. He received his Ph.D. in Music at the University of Cape Town. In South Africa, Mhlambi has showcased his work at leading platforms such as the Baxter Theatre, and Soweto Theatre—where he has drawn audiences from all walks of life. He has also been a visiting artist at Cite Internationale Des Arts in Paris and at universities in Finland (Jyvaskyla), and Brazil, to mention a few. And has performed in places such as Chicago, São Paulo, Maputo (Mozambique), New York, and Vancouver (Canada).

Recently, Mhlambi’s rendition of Lizalise Idinga Lakho by Tiyo Soga (from his debut album Zulu Song Cycle), was featured in an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Mhlambi was an invited contributor to the roaming academy of the Dutch Art Institute, an itinerant program fostering various creative practices at the intersection of art & theory. In 2019, he collaborated with revered Chinese visual artist Dachan, in a live performance/installation at the Zeitz Mocca Museum in Cape Town.

Mhlambi has just returned from an Artist Fellow at the University of Bayreuth in Germany, where he was developing new work using ancient Zulu idioms.

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