Listen to Amanda Black’s soulful third LP, ‘Mnyama’

The South African singer returns with an enveloping album conceived during lockdown

Amanda Black specialises in making music that’s attention-grabbing and affecting. 2021 makes it five years since her hugely popular debut single, “Amazulu,” and acclaimed debut LP of the same title launched the South African singer into ubiquity.

Amazulu’ was an excellently crafted representation of Amanda’s willingness to wear her heart on her sleeves on wax, aided by exquisite sonic choices and her soulfully reverberating voice. On the 2019 sophomore album, ‘Power’, she spun balmy and reassuring songs, with intelligent experimentation adding fresh tones to her finely-crafted Afro-Soul sound.


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After months of build-up, the singer’s third studio album, Mnyama’, has just been released. Conceived during the Coronavirus-effected lockdowns of 2020, the new project continues Amanda’s flair for turning personal vulnerabilities into emotionally resonant hymns. She draws inspiration from the existential dread induced by the pandemic and a heart-rending breakup just before. “It was a conscious decision to be like, ‘Listen, dude, it’s fine, it’s OK, you’re not the only person going through this. It’s OK.’ And that’s how the songs manifested,” she explained in the album’s Apple Music liner notes.

‘Mnyama’ was rolled out with two pre-release singles, starting off with “kutheni na,” a stirring song that finds the singer ruminating on the tough times dealt by the deadly virus, and it features a wonderful, reflective verse from rapper Kwesta. “let it go” followed as the second single, resolving the pensiveness of its predecessor with a reassuring outlook. Both singles are symbolic of the album’s teetering between intense introspection and gently uplifting declarations, with Amanda’s phenomenal voice aptly channelling anguish and radiating hope to give the album its overall enveloping feel.

To mirror the sobering period it was conceived in, Mnyama’ is replete with soulful and delicately arranged musical choices, featuring a lot of grey guitar strums, emotive choral harmonies from Amanda herself, and pattering percussion. In addition to Kwesta, the album features J’Something, long-time producer Christer, and Zimbabwean singer Berita.

Listen to Mnyama’ here.

@dennisadepeter is a staff writer at the NATIVE.