This morning I’m super excited to present the Sunday morning jukebox of Pretoria-based guitarist and generally beautiful human being, Sibusile Xaba, chosen especially for MailTape.
Mentored by Madala Kunene and Dr. Philip Tabane, Sibusile Xaba mixes fragmented lines with repeated phrases. Played acoustically to bass and drums – provided by percussionists Thabang Tabane and Moahanganai Magagula – Sibusile’s music soars with expressive guitar-picking and a vocal style that is ‘part dreamscape and part ancestral invocation’.
Seeing Sibusile live was a pretty rewarding experience for me. If you’re in London, Glasgow, Hull, Kent, Paris or Berlin in the next couple of months, you should definitely pay him and his trio a visit!
Sibusile Xaba’s selection
Nono Nkoane - Nomad
Sibusile Xaba: “Nono Nkoane is a remarkable artist, human/spiritual being and a cure Afrikan woman, I’m simply in love with her artistry and the way she carries herself and her message of “As One”…We go way back and are still moving forward in the same vision…When I think of her or try to explain her, I find no words that I feel can do justice to her sound, she is beyond…I can only say, she is the most unique vocalist of our time/this era. She has perfectly/effortlessly fused traditional xhosa music and the art form of jazz producing something quite unique, something quite fresh, like a gulps of fresh air, she is amazing. I love her, she’s a queen.“
Nduduzo Makhathini - King Fela
Sibusile Xaba: “Nkonduzo Makhathini is the most important figure in South African/African music history. What he is doing now is beyond words, both as a spiritual being and a musician he is simply incredible, there is no one like him. What I love the most is what he has done here at home (SA), King Nduduzo has managed to close the gap (he’s the bridge) between the perception of “jazz” in comparison to other music forms, he has a thing of just seeing what he does as only music, music for healing more than any genre. He has diminished the stigma of music genre more than ever, it’s all just sound anyway, its only compiled differently… Also his commitment and determination makes his work ethic something to be greatly admired. I wish him all the best, I support his vision of healing through music and love him dearly.“
Itai Hakim - Ni Songo Xela
Sibusile Xaba: “Itai Hakim is the next big thing to come out from the South of Africa, he’s simply simple and I love that, this says a lot about his soul. I wish him all the best and have lots of love for this King right here.“
Sibusile Xaba — Ukukhanya kwa Dr. Philip Tabane
Sanjay: “Steeped in the influences of Zulu guitar giant Madala Kunene, Shaluza Max and Dr. Philip Tabane, this feels like an appropriate dedication for the occasion. Seeing Sibusile perform live a couple of months ago was a really special experience for me. Amid the playfully syncopated rhythms, Sibusile’s voice captured and held my attention for the entire performance. Warm and direct, it was equally captivating as timbral whisper as when it stood tall. I can’t wait to experience it again on Tuesday!“
Dr. Philip Tabane & Malombo - Kea Bereka
Sanjay: “A brilliant example of Philip Tabane letting loose with intricate improvisation and free-form soloing that traces the history of gospel, blues and funk. Eschewing traditional chord structures, he coaxes free-form sounds by hitting the strings or sparking otherworldly melodies – all the while insisting you get up and dance!“
Bokani Dyer — Recess
Sanjay: “I’ve seen Bokani Dyer perform a few times at the Vortex in London and his latest album, World Music, reflects his inclusive musical philosophy. On this track he switches to keyboards, and with the drum always behind the beat, he combines a pop-fusion aesthetic with a cool ‘neo-soul’ sound.“
Miryam Solomon — Magnolia
Sanjay: “‘Magnolia’ is an ethereal polyrhythmic EP from vocalist Miryam Solomon. With guests including Seb Rochford, Shabaka Hutchings and Tansay Omar, her interplay with jazz harmonies entwined with electronic experimentation combine the continuities between jazz and folk beautifully.“