Sibusile Xaba – Open Letter to Adoniah
“This music is extraordinary” – Gilles Peterson (BBC 6)
“This is an astonishing debut, from a unique talent” Guardian ★★★★
‘Open Letter To Adoniah’ is one half of the debut double album by Sibusile Xaba, which was released in South Africa on 1 May 2017 and internationally on 4 August 2017.
We recorded it primarily in the mountains of Magaliesberg on 26 & 27 June 2016, with a few tracks being recorded live at U – The Space, Sunnyside on 29 January 2016 and at the Tabane household, Mamelodi on 10 April 2016.
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.
‘Open Letter to Adoniah’ is an album reverent of life and its connectedness to a higher source. The music emanates from dreams revealed to Xaba over consecutive days. With percussionists Thabang Tabane and Dennis Moanganei 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 African 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 early 1960s.
The other half of Sibusile’s debut album – titled ‘Unlearning’ – features Bonolo Nkoane on drums and Ariel Zamonsky on upright bass and was recorded live by Nelius Zeak and Nduduzo Makhatini next to Wilge River in Bronkhorstspruit on 22 August 2015.
You can find both albums on select digital stores and streaming services (iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify, GoolgePlay, Tidal etc), with physical copies (vinyl and CD) being available in independent record stores worldwide.
You will also find them at our STORE!
For more info on Sibusile, check out his website at www.sibusilexaba.com.
You can also reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Album Credits – Open Letter to Adoniah
Music received by Sibusile Xaba
Mentored by Thabang Tabane
Music created by Sibusile Xaba (guitar, vocals & nomaphupho), Thabang Tabane (malombo drums, hlwahlwadi, toys & vocals) & Dennis Moanganei Magagula (djembe, hlwahlwadi & toys)
Recorded by Andrew Curnow & Nhlanhla Mngadi
Mixed by João Orecchia
Mastered by Frank Merritt at the Carvery
Artwork & Cover Design by Graeme Arendse
Published by Hour Half Hour Publishing
Filmed by Naledi Chai, Palesa Shongwe & Vusi Hlatywayo
Edited by Maishe Mosala
Photographs by Nhlanhla Mngadi
Shout outs to Lindiwe Matshikiza, João Orecchia and Nosisi Ngakane for coming through to Magaliesberg with us and helping us turn this dream into a reality!