Paying Homage To The Musical Ancestors



On his opening show Standard Bank Young Artist Award winner for Jazz (2015), Nduduzo Makhathini, states that his performance is dedicated to Abbey Lincoln and Busi Mhlongo. The piano virtuoso warmed up the crowd with syncopated rhythmic tunes, accompanied by  Karl Martin Almqvist on the sax, Martin Sjostedt on bass, Omagugu Makhathini on vocals, Feya Faku on trumpet and Ayanda Sikade on drums.  

As the music progressed one really got a sense of the vast musical knowledge by the band, even more so, because of sharing a stage with the legendary Feya Faku. Songs played were timeless, reflecting the souls to who the music was dedicated. Omagugu came in during the set, mesmerizing the crowd with her broad range of vocal ability.

Eye contact between Makhathini and Sikade reflected the electrifying musical connection they share. One also sensed that the two Swedish guys couldn’t keep up with the South African musicians,  but the presence of bra Feya set as a reminder that this band most definitely deserved respect. The music was what my uncle would described as grootmens musiek, because of the maturity expressed in the in their sound.


On the second performance of Makhathini, which I yearned to watch again, one saw a complete change of accompaniment in the band members. The yearning  I felt, was caused by something that the first performance lacked or rather the lack of my own pallete. To this my uncle would attest to saying, ‘jy is nog te jonk my laaitie, vir hierdie tipe musiek’ and to this I would agree as the second show caught me off guard, because the music was, kwaai as they’d say in Cape Town. The band was composed of Kesivan Naidoo on drums, Sakhile Simane on trumpet, Justin Bellairs on turner sax, Mark Fransman on alto and Romy Brauteseth on bass.


This time the performance was dedicated to Bheki Mseleku and McCoy Tyner both pianist and the first song titled ‘Echoes Of You’ set the tone for the night. In this performance Makhithini dedicating songs to his mother and wife, in the audience watching from mezzanine sitting area. I was taken on a journey which made me recall the Shosholoza train travelling from Johannesburg to Durban. The band belted out deep rhythmic tunes showing their mastery in the instruments and to top it all they were all in unison with bodily gestures allowing us the audience to travel to outer worlds and importantly listen to the ground.