Ihashi Elimhlophe. Picture: Supplied

Maskandi star Bheki "Ihashi Elimhlophe" Ngcobo makes a musical return with a new 16-track album, Ama Waza Waza, after a two-year hiatus. 

This will be his 29th album and the first time he releases with a major record label, Universal Music Group. The album pre-order went live on July 19, with the official release set for July 26.

The musician has a career spanning over 30 years and has led the Maskandi music genre for decades, wowing crowds with performances he describes as being "100% Ihashi Elimhlophe". 

The music is authentic, largely a raw traditional Zulu presentation true to his culture. Still, a non-prejudiced listener with a broader sense of music appreciation is sure to marvel and appreciate the honesty projected through his music.

“You often see us behind projects in the mainstream genres, whether it’s pop, R&B, hip hop or kwaito, but at Universal we take our responsibility from a cultural level very seriously. 

"For us, while we are seen developing youthful projects, it is very important that we support our culture, our African culture and make sure that we invest as much into those aspects of the music industry” said Sipho Dlamini, managing director of Universal Music Group Africa, sSub-Saharan Africa.

Ngcobo's talent was noted in the 1980s while he played bass guitar for The Soul Brothers. 

He later became a leader of the group Imitshotshovu. 

The success of the group's debut album, Icala, convinced him to pursue a solo career, a move that has placed him as the elite of Maskandi. 

IOL