Album in Focus: Izwi By Feli Nandi

Since fully going solo, Feli Nandi's star has been on a constant upward trajectory. She started off her music career as a backing vocalist for Mbeu under the Mhodzi Tribe but she's stepped forward into the spotlight and she's not looking back. Last year saw her release her debut project, the self-titled album Feli Nandi which received great acclaim from across the board and instantly marked her as an artist to watch. It was rich and soulful, with storytelling that reached for the heart.

Feli Nandi Izwi Album Cover

A great body of work by any standards but especially impressive as a first project. This year, Feli Nandi has picked up right from where she left off. The artist recently dropped her sophomore album Izwi, and if you thought her first project was good then you'll find this even better. Nandi has always channelled her own personal stories into her music and on Izwi it's more of the same. The music she makes is clearly a part of her, and it makes sense why the Afro-fusion artist refers to her music as Afro-soul because she puts her soul into it.

Feli Nandi Izwi Album Art

The 8-track project Izwi might seem short in the number of tracks making it up but it goes the distance in its depth. Feli Nandi talks about love, gender-based violence, spirituality and so many other things. She termed the project as basically being her life story. Izwi is blessed with both beautiful lyricism and vocal delivery but the sound wouldn't be what it was without Feli Nandi's band. Together they created such expressive music which was a pleasure to listen to.

Ndakareva wani opens the album and it is a song that addresses gender-based violence and how Zimbabwean culture approaches it. "Ndakareva wani" means I told you or I reported what was going on and Feli is talking about how she reported an abusive partner to her family but this was ignored. She was advised to persevere within the union, no matter what abuse she was facing.

Izwi the title track is an appeal or request. Feli Nandi is speaking to her ancestors for good guidance. It's a song that speaks to spirituality and moral values, which feel like strong parts of Feli Nandi's identity. Moyo Hauudzirwe is a love song that talks about how stubborn the heart is. Every moment of Feli Nandi's storytelling is captivating and this is all up to her vocals. She effortlessly hits every note and has you tangled in the energy & vibe of each song.

Mufaro is a song about happiness, peace and contentment within one's heart, an appreciation for the things you have no matter how the heart may be tempted to feelings of jealousy. Ndizvo Here talks about love in a different light, as it questions all the broken promises. It feels like an ode to what could have been and even when the story is heartbreaking Feli has a way of making it sound beautiful. And it's something especially relatable here to anyone who's ever been let down by a partner.

Changamire is a prayer to God and there is something soulful about its exultation of the highest. While Hossana is the polar opposite in sound, as it's upbeat and speaks of the yearning for a lover. Feli Nandi places love above everything else and she says all other preferences are irrelevant as long as she finds someone who loves her. 

Izwi is the kind of project you listen to with no skips. It doesn't quite hit you how good it is after the first listen but the music continues to grow on you every time. Ariko Here closes out the album and it asks if the one meant for her is out there. It's questioning that pretty much everyone has gone through with very much the similar sentiments as Feli Nandi sings about. From the production to the songwriting, there's something beautiful about everything that brought this project together. It's a project that'll surely age like fine wine.

Greedysouth rating: 7.6/10

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