Music Interview: Asanda Delihlazo – Imibono, Or Dreams Realised

November 4, 2021

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By BRUCE DENNILL

Asanda Delihlazo recently released the EP Imibono. Delihlazo is a folk singer with songs rooted in traditional Xhosa rhythms and harmonies. She refined her talent in musical theatre (including Sarafina!) and as a lead singer in church. The music was written by Asanda herself and produced by Del Richards.

 

What is your first and most important goal as a musician – to tell a story (literally via lyrics or metaphorically via music); to inspire an emotion; to lift a mood; to get people moving? Perhaps it’s something else, or a mixture of these?

It’s a mixture of everything mentioned.

Does your style reflect that of the artists you love or respect most?

A little bit, yes. Music is influential to a certain point, and one should be grounded enough not to end up sounding like the artist who made it.

Do you write music, and if so, what sort of mix is involved in terms of discipline and inspiration?

I am sometimes directed by the instruments and the emotions I immediately feel after hearing a few seconds of them. Most of all, I receive visions and dreams about particular songs and how they should be interpreted, so all I do is just articulate.

If your repertoire includes the work of others, on what basis do you choose the music you record or perform? Is it practical (a good fit for your voice or other instrument) or something more profound)?

I specifically prefer performing my own work but, if I do perform another artist’s song, the choice is influenced by the instrumentals, whether it fits my voice and the mood and setting I am currently in.

Name an artist or band who is, in your view, criminally underrated, and explain what it is about them or their sound that excites you?

Zuko Lwenkosi. He is unique and very hard-working in terms of his vocal range and arrangement of songs. He can change a song into something brilliantly amazing.

How do you keep up or improve your skill levels? Is it all about practice, or are there other factors that help you to get better at and understand more about your craft?

Practice and listening to brilliant musicians that I look up to. That gives me the drive even when I’m tired of practising.

 

What is the story behind Imibono – the genesis of the songs, the people involved, the muse behind its creation?

This is literally my first ever EP. As the title says, it is about the visions. I was and still am very excited and amazed to tell and articulate these visions even better than I had envisioned them.

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