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Bantu Spaceship

by Bantu Spaceship

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Don't Break 02:51
She looked into my eyes & said look straight into my eyes love Promise me you won’t break my heart Please don’t break my heart please don’t break my heart. She said, please don’t break. Don’t Break is a love song.
Come take me, i wanna go x2 Come take me, I am still stuck here home Come take me, I wanna go x2 Come take me, take me far from here Before the sun goes down, before the sun goes x 7 Please come take me far Far far deep before it gets dark here, Come take me, i wanna go x2 Come take me, I am still stuck here home Come take me, I wanna go x2 Come take me, take me far from here Before the sun goes down, before the sun goes x 7 Woza ungithathe talks about a journey of escaping & finding peace deep within.
Mhondoro 02:24


Bantu Spaceship will have listeners embark on a journey. A journey that feels like you are being taken through a portal into another time, Afrofuturism. The rhythms give you a sense of the past, while you also sense the future with all the synth sounds. This album will have you playing it on repeat while you are travelling from town to village and vice versa. The temptation to call this work a masterpiece will be permitted if not echoed by audience members onboard.

This combination of artists is rare. Joshua Madalitso Chiundiza, the craftsman behind sound production, is no stranger to providing out-of-this-world audio scenes, as evidenced by his past work as a member of alternative hip-hop band The Monkey Nuts. His work on the Bantu Spaceship proves that he has a knack for venturing out of his comfort zone and traveling through time and space. The rhythm of the project is upbeat, cruising within the mid-tempo range for the most part. The synths and voices offer a cool breezy, ambient atmosphere, making the project ideal for mood setting. Chiundiza's production sounds like something that was picked out of the archives of the mid-eighties Jit and Chimurenga music and then carefully blended with elements of Disco and Electronic sounds. His mix makes for a beautiful excursion through a landscape of memories lived and futures imagined. Ulenni Okandlovu, serves as the voice, the Captain of the ship, guiding us by way of Ndebele chants, laid back melodies and poetic verses. His calm nature enhances the experience as it sits comfortably on the music, creating the illusion that making music like this is an easy feat; it isn't - uniqueness never is.

Featured on the album are the voices of Thandi Ntuli (who also contributed piano keys); Kwela Sekele; musicianship of DJ Kid Fonque; Sungura guitarist Sam Mabukwa; and a Robson Banda sample.
The album eases in with some meditative wailing and humming that feels like an ancient call ferried by Gregorian chants. Ulenni then begins to lament an introspective spoken word piece inviting the listener to recall the ‘original composition’, asking if the listener is satisfied with its conclusion. This is just one interpretation of the deep poetic language he uses. This narration is accompanied by vibrating keys that transition into dancing synths ushering in the angelic voice of Thandi Ntuli soothing the track to a halt amid digital sound effects. This intro, Journey to Misava, turns four minutes into a refreshing drawn out moment that feels too short when it ends. Thank goodness it is only the beginning.
The second song on the album, Bantu Spaceship is an invitation to get onboard, hold tight and enjoy the ride. It is an upbeat, feel good track reminiscent of the Knight Rider theme music. Ulenni floats in with hearty self-uplifting appreciation of life which transforms into a rap that switches from laid back to bouncy to almost kwaito style. The chorus is a catchy shout that speaks to a fun joy ride away from the worrisome world of terms and conditions.
Don’t Break immediately tickles the heart with its intricate Sungura guitar riff and trap bass causing a tingling to the soul which is fueled by the bouncy rhythm. The song officially introduces the sounds of Zimbabwe's classic music, seen through high tech lenses. This is where the genius of Joshua Chiundiza really shows up, unmasked, as he unveils what is possibly the future of authentic Zimbabwean music. The magic touch comes from contributing guitarist Sam Mabukwa - lead guitarist of Ngosimbi Crew, a band best known for their late 90s hit Pamuchato WaTobias. Mabukwa's Sungura skills serenade the urban swag into a breathtaking sound that surely reaches other planetary lifeforms! Ulenni makes a sincere plea to a lover to spare him the pain of a heartbreak. His delivery and vocal tone are reminiscent of the legendary Solomon Skuza, likely to cause a deja vu effect on those who have experienced the music of that era.
If, by now, you have not yet noticed that you have gone through a portal into the future of Zimbabwe’s musical archives, Bantu- Electro Sungura will awaken you to it. Ulenni's harmonies, inspired by LMG Choir, bring a nostalgia that might touch certain emotions as the recollection (perhaps the one he’s eluding to in the opening song) rushes back, synthesized and charged with electro vibes. By now the dancing shoes are in full swing as the dusty village late afternoon sun meets the club night dance floor.
The following track Mhondoro, is a delightful return to familiarity. It is a retake of Robson Banda’s classic hit Dzinomwa Muna Save. The song samples the voice and music of the legend as an ode and celebration of the pioneer’s historic contribution. Without tampering with the essence of the hit, Mhondoro adds a bouncy snare and underlying synth. Sitting snugly in the composition of the project this song demonstrates how seamlessly the new generation of Jit continues the legacy of the greats who would otherwise become a distant memory in the ever changing trend of the music world.
Mqibelo, (A Prayer for the Weekend), is a celebration to the end of a week of hustling and bustling. The raspy voice of Ulenni eases the listener back as the rap by Kwela Sekele closes off the week in prayer, ushering in a well deserved weekend. This song is suspended in the air effectively leaving one in anticipation of a climax which never seems to arrive, like how you feel about the weekend on a Wednesday.
Misava, The Arrival, sits at the peak of the album. It sets off with chiming synths, distant war cries and a rumbling drum tucked underneath it. Mubakwa's signature guitar riff runs on top of a layer of a shaking bass line serving as a puppet master that evokes the body to enter a state of dance. Within this excitement the rhythm is a hard hitting up tempo beat that will send heads bobbing as it seamlessly slows in pace with a hip hop whipping clap. It would be interesting to see the array of bodily expressions this blend will inspire.
The last sixteen minutes are in the capable hands of South Africa's premium electronic music icon, DJ Kid Fonque. As is the case with his role in South Africa’s electronic music/club culture, Kid Fonque is responsible for gearing the Bantu Spaceship into cruise control and preparing to eventually land it with razor sharp precision. The DJ’s two remixes of Journey to Misava keep the Bantu Spaceship afloat, allowing for a smooth, laid back voyage. The eighth track's thumping kick and electronic bassline maintain the journey at the summit it had reached, while zoning out to the melodic loop of Thandi Ntuli’s voice , which satisfies the longing it left the listener with in the intro track. Ms Ntuli, who happens to be a Jazz pianist, also contributed her playing skills by way of dreamy keys that drift the song to the realm of fantasy as the production remains sustained at the crown of this masterpiece body of work. As you listen to the Journey, mix after mix, the inquiry presented at the beginning recurs, asking if this (whatever ‘this' is) is the narrative and conclusion we want. The voice also suggests that it (whatever ‘it' is) certainly is not what we wish to be the end, pleading with the elders to shine a light on our path so that we may navigate through fear and recollect what we had once known. The music of Bantu Spaceship manages to represent an odyssey back to a time when the outlook was a sonically pleasing homegrown composition.
This album surely safeguards Zimbabwe's original contemporary sounds and disrupts the conclusion that it may be swallowed in the ever changing world of music. Nyami Nyami Records have found another gem! Welcome to New Jit Wave- an adaptation of Jit music. Welcome to Bantu Spaceship. Prepare to be launched into a new paradigm. Thank goodness it's only the beginning.


released March 10, 2023

Joshua Madalitso Chiundiza (Music Production)
Ulennni Okandlovu (Lyrics, vocals and poetry)
Remixes by Kid Fonque
Sam Mabukwa on Guitar for Mgqibelo and Dont Break
Mhondoro samples 'Dzinonwa Muna Save' by Robson Banda and The New Black Eagles

Cover photography by Tusichile Kasito
Design by Tinotenda Tagwireyi and Alexandre Aubert
Mixing by Nico Sacco at The Cavern Studio, Paris
Mastering by Franck Merritt at The Carvery Studio, London.
Executive Production by Nyami Nyami Records


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Nyami Nyami Records Paris, France

Nyami Nyami Records is a french label promoting music mainly from Southern Africa. Nyami Nyami Record's mission is to touch the soul and ears of the people with music made with passion, love, respect and talent. Our releases feature unique recordings by some of the most fascinating musicians from the Southern African region through new productions, reissues and rare projects and collaborations. ... more

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