World Watch: Thabang Tabane

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Country: South Africa

Formed in the early 60’s, the Malombo Jazz Men fused the musical traditions of South Africa with improvisational jazz. While originally centered around flute and percussion, the the addition of guitarist Dr. Philip Nchipi Tabane would forever change their direction, transforming Malombo into a breeding ground for great musicians and singers.

Following in the footsteps of his father, Thabang Tabane is continuing and modernizing the malombo style. On his debut album, Matjale, Tabane drives his songs with hand drumming and bass guitar. On the first single “Nyanda Yeni”, guitarist Sibusile Xaba circles around Thabang’s playing with angular notes.

The vibrant, effervescent instrumentation is engaging on tracks like “Richard”, and playfully hypnotic on the opening to “Ke Mmone”, though evolves into a fraught, emotional piece. Then there’s the peppy “Ngwananga”, where guitar lines tip-toe around slapped bass melodies and bouyant drumming. It’s an album that once again proves that music can transcend language barriers and connect in a visceral way. Take a listen to this fascinating audible experience below!

 

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