Nyanda Yeni, the first single of the album, finds Sibusile Xaba’s angular, tweaked guitar and Thabane’s percussive effervescence circling each other; miniature whirling dervishes. In an almost dizzying, looping game of never-ending hide-and-seek, the traditional plea for rain is silk-spun into malombo modernity with Dennis Moanganei Magagula on percussion and Thulani Ntuli on bass guitar. The music video, directed by StraitJacket Tailor, is composed primarily of archival footage taken from apartheid era cinema from South Africa. The images are borrowed from 1950s films and variety shows with some footage for 1970s propaganda films endorsing the notion of ͚separate developments. It takes apart old apartheid-era films and their fallacies of coonish fantasy, and slices and splices them in order to re-order their meanings. In other words, it subverts. Taking us for a loop. Also included in the film are short video clips of the legendary, late Dr. Philip Tabane performing, creating an arch that links father and son in life, love and malombo.
StraitJacket Tailor is a record collector, archivist, and award winning documentary film director/producer.
In isiZulu, there is a saying that goes ͞ingane engakhali ifela embelekweni͟. It is an oft used proverb, one that, pushed to its extreme, is a celebration of self-expression as a means of survival. This solemn maxim finds its dancing feet in malombo drummer Thabang Tabans debut album, Matjale.
Son of the late, legendary Dr Philip Nchipi Tabane and heir to the malombo sound originated and pioneered in the early 1960s, Thabang has been touring the world, playing with his father’s band and other South African luminaries (such as Thandiswa Mazwai, Madala Kunene and Mabi Thobejane) since he was 8 years old.
By virtue of being malombo architect and guitar maestro Philip Tabane’s only begotten son, pedigree alone should have propelled Thabang to the top tier of South Africa’s journeying musicians. But malombo, expressing so much more than music, is no easy cash cow and the effacing Thabane’s stripes have often been earned in the shadows of towering figures in the South African musical landscape. Matjale then, is the unmistakable sound of release, as distinct and soothing as the life-affirming cries of a newborn.
Expanding the parameters of what is essentially an artform patented by his father, Thabang and his cohorts seem unburdened by pedigree, infusing the sound with a modern sensibility. His reverence for the vibrational resonance and drive of the bass guitar, not to mention his explosive bursts of hand drumming, gives the music an undeniable, cathartic exuberance.
The single, Nyanda Yeni is found here.
The album, Matjale, drops digitally, on CD and on vinyl on the 14th of September, 2018.
Artist – Thabang Tabane
Track Name – Nyanda Yeni
Music composed and arranged by Thabang Tabane
Lyrics from Traditional Song
Performed by Thabang Tabane (malombo drums, hlwahlwadi, toys & vocals), Dennis Moanganei Magagula (djembe, hlwahlwadi & toys), Sibusile Xaba (guitar & sounds) and Thulani Ntuli (electric bass guitar)
Produced by Thabang Tabane, Andrew Curnow & Dion Monti Recorded by Andrew Curnow & Nhlanhla Mngadi Mixed by Dion Monti & João Orecchia Mastered by Norman Nitzsche at Calyx Mastering Recorded live at the Tabane household, Mamelodi on 28 August 2016.
Executive Producers and A&R – Lindokuhle Nkosi, Chumisa Ndakisa & Andrew Curnow
Artwork & Cover Design by Mzwandile Buthelezi