Virus delays release of new Simphiwe Dana album

Singer Simphiwe Dana has released two singles titled Uzokhala and Usikhonzile ahead of her album release in April. The album is titled Bamako.
Singer Simphiwe Dana has released two singles titled Uzokhala and Usikhonzile ahead of her album release in April. The album is titled Bamako.

SA music great Simphiwe Dana has released two singles as part of her upcoming studio album, which she recently tweeted would be her last offering.

Responding to the now deleted tweets, the Butterworth-born singer told DispatchLIVE she didn't want to “dwell on such” as the country was facing a volatile time.

On Tuesday there were reports that Dana was still considering the matter and that she hadn't made a final decision.

Uzokhala and Usikhonzile are the two released singles which will feature on Bamako, the album named after the capital city of Mali.

Bamako is where Dana found the inspiration to finalise the album with renowned musician Salif Keita and his band.

Uzokhala is a fun, upbeat, tongue-in-cheek radio-friendly song that speaks of someone who doesn't appreciate being undermined. The song is about treating people with dignity and respect. Usikhonzile is a song that implores for more empathy from our leaders, for our leaders to put the people first. I always say that my songs are open to interpretation, that once they leave my hands they no longer belong to me, they belong to the people who listen to them,” said Dana.

Dana said the album has traces of West-African music influences.

She said the album release date had been pushed to April 24 in response to Covid-19.

Dana said the coronavirus outbreak is a “depressing time” for artists as they depend on public gatherings to make an income, so the virus could have a negative impact on many artists.

Dana has been vocal on the financial challenges South African musicians face, saying the industry has a lack of regard for its artists.

“As artists in the country, we can't solely depend on our craft as a form of income, we have to find other means to make money. Artists have been struggling and are now struggling even more due to the pandemic. It has been a wakeup call in the industry. The financial instability it brings challenges one to diversify one's brand. In other countries, artists are subsidised. We have tried to implement measures but the government has failed,” said Dana.

Other SA artists have spoken out on the importance of brand diversity including poet Lebo Mashile and producer and DJ Prince Kaybee.

Dana said she would never stop loving music. The award-winning singer has seen success with albums including Zandisile, Firebrand and Kulture Noir.

Her debut album Zandisile gave birth to hits such as Ndiredi in 2004.

The album went on to win a number of South African Music Awards including an international AVO Session Basel award.

Kulture Noir was released in 2010 and a live album titled An Evening With Simphiwe Dana Live In Concert soon followed.

In the live album she sang some of her best hits accompanied by a 27-piece orchestra.

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