Thando Skwatsha, a rising South African singer, songwriter, and musician, found himself at a crossroads between authenticity and aspiration after years of pursuing a more conventional western R&B sound.
He had long aspired to emulate his musical heroes, such as Ne-Yo, Brandy and Beyoncé, while also being immersed in the indigenous sounds of Ringo Madlingozi and Vusi Nova, and for his stunning first album IIMINI NENTSUKU, Thando Skwatsha decided to go home, writing every song in his native isiXhosa and isiZulu.
iimini nentsuku, was written by Thando Skwatsha, produced by Milan Rendall, mixed at the renowned Abbey Road Studios by award-winning producer Keron Sheriff Thomspon, and mastered there by Christian Wright.
Thando’s engaging voice, passionate lyricism, and authentic sound drive the 12-track album. These elements are served up on a musical plate of luscious afro soul and Afropop soundscapes, with house, afro beats, and electronic music tendencies.
The soulful first single “isaziso,” on which Thando Skwatsha reflects on how growing up and being an adult had impacted his connection with his parents, and the song “ibali,” about an unrequited love that was forbidden to exist due to cultural restrictions, serve as the album’s opening tracks.
The gorgeous ballad “thandolwami” continues the album’s subject of lost love before the South African native waxes poetic on forging his path in life on “andazi.” Thando continues this topic later in the album on “all night,” where he sings about hope and trusting in oneself.
Songs like “ngyazfela,” “mina nawe,” “umuntu,” and “khumbula” continue Thando’s investigation of love and relationships on iimini nentsuku. “ngyazfela” explores how jealousy can result in heartbreak, “mina nawe” highlights the importance of leaving a failing relationship, and “khumbula” depicts Thando thinking back and missing his lover in “iskhalo sabantwana”.
Thando continues the song’s strong theme of hope by extolling the goodness that still exists in the world and urging the audience to place greater faith in it.
Listen and enjoy each and every song in the iimini nentsuku album below!