Charismatic guitar savant Sibusile Xaba reframes maskandi and the avant-garde into his humanist manifesto on his second album NGIWU SHWABADA.
The 12-song LP follows his stunning 2017 debut double album project Opened Letter to Adoniah and Unlearning. Recorded in one continuous take at Studio Pigalle in Paris, in May last year, NGIWU SHWABADA features his long-time musical collaborator Kholofelo ‘Naftali’ Mphago also on vocals and tenor saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings on the 18-minute closing track ‘Phefumula’.
Speaking about the philosophy behind Ngiwu Shwabada (I am of Shwabada — a spiritual lineage)he explains: “The record is a dedication to my ancestors for all the love, blessings and guidance they continue to share. These songs are conversations I have had with them, transmitted into songs to be shared with mankind. The elements of the record are waters & the great feminine spirit.”
NGIWU SHWABADA features an impressive collection of guitar-driven compositions that hopscotch through Maskandi, malombo, desert blues and jazz without ever losing its thread.
From the striking guitar patterns on the opening track ‘Intro’, he sets the stage for the vibrant audio journey that follows, including ‘Elihle’, ‘Mvelo’, ‘Uyahlupha’, ‘Phefumula’ and the title track.
Just like his debut offering I’m drawn to this record by the raw emotion and expressive musicality, which pervades throughout the whole album. Essential listening.