South Africa: 'Indaba Is' - a Black Community Sonic Movement


A compilation of new South African improvised music and jazz is testament to the power of creating in a communal spirit that honours the ancestors with new conversations.

This story was first published in New Frame.

Our music is contributive rather than competitive," the great, late pianist Horace Tapscott said, speaking about the Black community arts movement of south Los Angeles. This forms the core sentiment behind Indaba Is, which is curated by artists Thandi Ntuli and Siyabonga Mthembu and brings together some of the brightest minds and talents in the South African music landscape. The eight-track album is scheduled for release at the end of January by London-based label Brownswood Recordings.

Indaba Is forms part of a series of compilations providing overviews of the jazz scenes in various cities. Previous releases by Brownswood Recordings include We Out Here (2018) in London and Sunny Side Up (2019) in Melbourne, Australia. Importantly, the album centres South African improvised music - and jazz - in the context of ancestral knowledge passed down through generations.

25 June 2020: The Brother Moves On with Thandi Ntuli, with whom they perform Umthandazo Wamagenge on the upcoming album Indaba Is. (Photo by Tseliso Monaheng)

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