This past Friday, Amanda Black put out her third album Mnyama, released under Sony Music Entertainment Africa. Mnyama follows 2019’s Power, which was her sophomore album after her 2016 debut album Amazulu. Mnyama was preceded by the singles “kutheni na,” featuring Kwesta as well as “let it go”.
On this new album, the award winning singer taps into a poignancy that sees her reckoning with personal hardships and contending with overcoming them. She looks inward in most of the songs, resulting in a thematic tapestry that includes regret (“ndandihleli”), pain (“amagingxigingxi”), solidarity (“ungayeki”, “kutheni na”), and loneliness (“lwh”, “lonely”).
The stand out song on the album is the duet Amanda sings with J’ Something “ekuphileni”, which is a re-imagining of a Catholic hymn that is Amanda’s grandmother’s favorite. The two vocalists both sing in Xhosa, beseeching in prayer as they ask the Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus to help them pray. They ask for strength in order to remain steadfast in their faith and to be delivered to a place of healing that is God’s solace.
With Mnyama, Amanda Black continues to grow as a singer and songwriter who is able to fuse different aspects of her being, whether personally or stylistically, in her music. O`n one level, she has managed to deliver a deeply personal album in which she lays bare her soul while also being sympathetic and compassionate to others’ struggles, other than her own. As such, her acknowledgment of her personal tribulations is not self-pity. Stylistically, she maintains her afro-soul sensibilities while being true to her Xhosa identity, yet allowing her musical influences such as R&B, soul and hip hop to permeate the soundscape of the album.
Listen to Mnyama below: