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Saturday, August 25, 2012


(Ndikho Xaba)

The music of Ndikho Xaba will be featured in the launch of his CD Sunsets: An Anthology of Creative Music 1970 – 2006 on August 28 at the UKZN Centre for Jazz.

Special guest artist will be guitarist Madala Kunene. The band line-up features Sazi Dlamini (guitars/percussion); Neil Gonsalves (piano); Ildo Nandja (bass); Paki Peloeole (drums); Salim Washington (saxophone) and Nomusa Xaba (MC, poetry, percussion).

Now 78 years old, Ndikho Xaba is veteran artist on the jazz and new music scenes. He is a Dorkay House Legend and 2011 eThekwini Living Legend awardee.

Sunsets is a retrospective collection of some of the music he made in the context of both an apartheid-ridden South Africa and the post-1994 building of the new democracy. A multi-instrumentalist and craftsman; he specialized in playing piano, didgeridoo, mbira and a variety of other self-crafted instruments; many of which are played on this CD.

The last son of a KZN Methodist minister and school teacher, Ndikho was forced to flee the country in 1964 because he and his family were being interrogated and detained by the Special Branch who were looking for information about his political activities. Always remaining loyal to the ideals of the ANC, Ndikho spent 34 years in exile (US, Canada, Tanzania) continuing his musical contributions before returning to his beloved South Africa in 1998. Some of that time was spent in Chicago, the home of the world renowned AACM (Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians). It's Cold in America and Song of the Frogs, feature historic musicians from that genre - Douglas Ewart, Oscar Brown III and Hamid Drake - all giants in their own right.

Some tracks foreground Xaba, other showcase his skill as an imaginative crafter of textures behind solos and the spoken word of his wife Nomusa. His music has been described as iconoclastic, historic, imaginative and asserting a distinctively South African character. The tracks are varied and of interest to many different genres of music lovers whether they favour jazz, mbaqanga, avante garde or spoken word.

The opening track is entitled In Praise of Women and honours the often-overlooked role of women in society. There is happy, dance music, as in the track Highlife which is a tribute to Ghana's first president, Kwame Nkrumah. An ecological warning of the dangers of global pollution in Song of the Frogs. A love song in tribute to his wife of 42 years, Nomusa. And an invocation to the ancestors of his clan Shwabada.

The launch takes place on August 28 at 18h00 at the UKZN Centre for Jazz and Popular Music, Howard College (Main Entrance: Shepstone Building – level 2). Admission is free. For more information contact Nomusa Xaba on 083 974 3788 or email: or visit