The Global Experience

Sibusile Xaba, A Cultural Activist Through Music

todayAugust 15, 2021 134

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Sibusile Xaba carries forth the Maskandi / Mbaqanga tradition of the KwaZulu Natal midlands, from where he originates. Steeped in the lineage of Zulu guitar giant Madala Kunene (Sibusile’s first mentor) & warrior chants of vocal master, Shaluza Max, he not only owns these influences, but pushes the envelope as only a maestro with a keen ear for the future does.

Being the charismatic guitar savant he is, Xaba reframes Maskandi and the avant garde into his own humanist manifesto.

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, his 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.

His LP Open Letter to Adoniah, (one half of a double album project) is a musical open letter to Xaba’s child, it is an album reverent of life and its connectedness to a higher source. The music emanates from dreams revealed to him over consecutive days and was recorded by Mushroom Hour Half Hour in the Magaliesberg mountains, just outside of Johannesburg.

Maskandi, Malombo, the desert Blues and Jazz all figure in Sibusile’s expansive vocabulary, albeit through a magnetic individual filter.

Listen to Thato Mataboge’s music on The Global Experience hosted by Just Mo every Sunday, 2PM-6PM.

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Make sure to tune into tune into YFM on 99.2 or via streaming on, the YFM app or DStv channel 859.

Written by: Y

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