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Apple Music Home Session features soulful songstress, Msaki

Apple Music’s Home Session features reimagined signature songs and thoughtful covers recorded by artists at home. Today, South African singer-songwriter, Msaki (real name Asanda Lusaseni Mvana) releases her own stripped down Home Session. 

“I’m really excited to share my Home Session with my fans on Apple Music. Lockdown was a really challenging yet creative time for me to wrestle with both my albums as well as interpret them in this unique way for these sessions. This time in our history will never be forgotten for the personal pain and anguish it created in so many lives which spanned every dimension of life. Somehow out of this suffering, some artistic beauty and depth emerged from within the creative community – a time to sit with one’s own work, learn new skills and interrogate and honour songs in a way that recording artists very seldom have the time to do. I’m more determined than ever to intentionally grow my own artistic vision as well as nurture others into a cared-for global community” Msaki tells Apple Music.

The Home Session EP, available to stream on Apple Music in Spatial Audio, will feature three exclusive unplugged tracks from the neo-folk singer, including two tracks off her latest double album, and one cover of Elton John’s “Daniel”. 

“‘Chem Trails’ is the sound of my mgowo [Xhosa slang for ‘navigating life’s challenges’]. It’s so interesting how people have connected to the song in all its confusion and vulnerability. I loved working with Caiiro on this song, as he is a gentle soul. ‘Chem Trails’ is about falling in love. The chemical violence and paralysis of the process at a cellular level. The agony and the bliss of it. A blissful loss of control and a suspension of the heart falling and longing. This slowed-down and exposed version of it really takes it somewhere extraordinary,” Msaki explains about the original track from Platinumb Heart Beating.

“‘Tiram’ is a retrospective collaboration with my grandfather. He composed a choral song called ‘Nomeva’, a song about a roving wasp. It’s a very dramatic arrangement that makes me think of ‘Flight of the Bumblebee’ [the orchestral composition written by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov]. The song as it is now had come to take on so many more meanings. I get visited by wasps a lot, and in Xhosa custom, and many other Indigenous spiritual beliefs, this is a sign of the presence of ancestors. I composed and arranged a part for strings and added a verse where I am directly addressing my grandfather with gratitude for leaving us the gift of music. The strings carry so much of the emotion, so this version especially done for Apple with a string quartet is quite special,” Msaki tells Apple Music.

“‘Daniel’ is such a beautiful and brilliantly written song. There was something about the lyrics that caught my attention even as a kid in primary school. It made me wonder what the song was about, because there’s longing, affection and a really unique storytelling style that left so much to the imagination, yet simultaneously gave us such beautiful imagery. I pictured the plane, the runway, the red lights and the sense of goodbye.”

Msaki made a name for herself writing poignant folk tales, while simultaneously working with some of Africa’s biggest names in electronic music (Sun-El Musician, Prince Kaybee, Focalistic) and featuring on some of SA’s hottest songs of the decade.

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