Thandanani Gumede is called Thanda for short (pronounced "Tanda" just like Panda 🐼)---it is a Zulu name that means 'love one another'. Thanda is a vocalist and a multi-disciplinary artist hailing from Durban in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa and is primarily based in Leeds, U.K.
He is an Opera North pilot BAME Resonance Alumnus; Jazz North Roster Artist 2018; Manchester Jazz Festival Hothouse Artist 2019 and mjf Level Up Artist 2021; Co-founder and MD at Zulu Tradition. Thanda's multi-faceted scope of work ranges from live performances in Jazz Clubs and high profile events, World Music & Dance showcases in theatres and Folk festivals to music workshops; community out-reach; art sector advisory consultations as well provocations for the Arts and Humanities Research Council with Opera North; the Leeds Museums & Galleries; the University of Leeds and the University of Stirling.
His music draws heavily from his dual Zulu and Xhosa heritage amalgamated with Jazz, Neo-Soul, Gospel and other contemporary styles. He is a self taught musician and his journey can be traced back from the township shacks of Umlazi where he would sing for his mother as a child before he was recruited and mentored by Xolani S. (Crown Gospel Award Winner: Best Newcomer 2016) to join his church choir. Several years later, Thanda went on to transition from Gospel to Jazz as well traditional Zulu Music alongside exceptional South African musicians. After working in South Africa, he travelled to the U.K and debuted at the first ever Nelson Mandela Day (officiated by the United Nations) at the British Museum in London (2010) with Zulu Tradition. Thanda toured the U.K. extensively working in theatres, schools and high profile events.
Notable appearances include his exclusive performance at Buckingham Palace (Royal Enclosure) for all the 44 members of the British Royal family (2014), the Theatre Royale Haymarket in the West End to raise funds for the British Red Cross (2015), the Manchester Jazz Festival (2017 & 2021); the Leeds Jazz Festival (2018) the London Jazz Festivals (2020), the Parliamentary Jazz Award-winning Pizza Express SOHO (2021), the Royal Albert Hall at the BBC Proms (2021) with Abel Selaocoe, BBC Introducing feature (2021), surprise performance for the late Emeritus Archbishop Desmond Tutu's 90th Birthday and Peace Lecture with Abel Selaocoe ft cellist Yo-Yo Ma (x18 Grammy Winner) plus various additional appearances on SKY One, SABC 1, ITV 1 as well as BBC television and radio stations, to name but a few.