ABOUT SIBUSILE XABA:
A lynchpin in South Africa’s new generation of jazz musicians, KwaZulu-Natal-born guitarist and vocalist Sibusile Xaba has all the makings of an acoustic guitar master. With a vocal style that is part dreamscaping and part ancestral invocation, Xaba divines as opposed to plainly singing. Combined with a guitar style that is rooted in expressive picking, Xaba’s music shatters the confines of genre, taking only the fundamentals from mentors such as Madala Kunene and Dr Philip Tabane and imbuing these with a mythology and improvisational intensity all of his own.
The result of many years of preparation, his debut double album project comprises two timeless music offerings which are mystical and otherworldly, yet organically familiar. Tracing innate storytelling that is beyond words, Sibusile Xaba fearlessly digs beyond conformity to unearth rich, vibrant African heritage lost to today’s musical generation.
ABOUT “OPEN LETTER TO ADONIAH”: A musical open letter to his child, “
With percussionists Thabang Tabane and Moahanganai Magagula, the trio coalesces both geographic and spiritual influences, hinting at Maskandi (a music style dominant in Xaba’s native KwaZulu-Natal) and the improvisational culture of South Africa’s jazz avant garde. Collectively, the musicians remold these influences, situating them within rhythms that span the continent. Thabang Tabane’s influence over the project gives it a spiritual sensibility allusive to the Malombo Music his father, the legendary Dr Philip Tabane, originated in the late 1960s.
ABOUT “UNLEARNING”: Recorded under the mentorship of South African musician, Nduduzo Makhathini, “
Unlearning” fractures the limitations of language and boldly screams the message of humaneness and unity amongst all humankind. Combining acoustic guitar playing and scatting, Sibusile Xaba elevates both art forms to new possibilities, subverting the expected roles of the guitar and voice.Drummer Bonolo Nkoane and upright bassist Ariel Zamonsky add intelligent rhythmic pulse and fundaments, propelling Sibusile Xaba’s expressive inclinations to where improvisational instincts are synonymous with political declamations. While all three musicians are versed in jazz, Unlearning prefigures a sonic world where genre is moot and modal musical structures are a self-contained language