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Shona Songstress Lives Up to Her Name

Zimbabwean-British singer Shingai Shoniwa had her first real taste of fame in 2009 when indie soul band Noisettes released their sophomore album, “Wild Young Hearts,” propelling the group into the mainstream with UK top 10 hits, magazine covers and festival appearances from Coachella to Glastonbury. Today, the musician is focused on her independent solo career as Shingai. Her new album “Too Bold” was released this week and, aptly for the first full length release, its title echoes her name (in Shona, a Bantu language, Shingai means “be bold, be brave, have courage”). Shoniwa’s first album has been a long time coming. No stranger to working on music beyond Noisettes — collaborators have ranged from rappers Baloji and RZA to disco king Giorgio Moroder to new wave icon Annie Lennox — she had planned to release her solo demo in 2016. But then the musician faced professional and personal challenges when a stalker hacked her social media accounts and assumed her identity, leading to a legal battle and his conviction. Touching on dub, garage and synth pop as well as mbira-fueled chimurenga (a popular music genre associated with Zimbabwe’s fight for independence), the songs were an uplifting rallying cry to the African diaspora to embrace their culture and connect to home. And for her, the message was personal.