Preview: Shabaka and the Ancestors – Jazz Cafe (31st March 2017)


Shabaka and the Ancestors bring their devotional free-jazz to London Jazz Café for one night only on the 31st March. The group play songs inspired by their African musical forefathers to re-visualise contemporary jazz through the voice of their masters. Band leader Shabaka Hutchings will be taking the stage with his native South African band, which collaborated for the first time to record their album Wisdom of Elders last year. This is a rare chance to see the rising saxophonist Hutchings playing live with this outfit. Having grown up in Barbados surrounded by song, he is gaining a huge reputation on the UK scene for his work with Sons of Kemet and Sun Ra Arkestra.

This is a collective who aren’t afraid to break away from convention. Liberated by a lack of formality, you can expect to be surrounded by the clarity of their raw emotions. This will be like jumping into a fast stream, passing ever-changing dense riversides, with no idea where the water will finally land you.  If the set reflects their latest album, you will hear strong elements of traditional African music such as Ugandan Amadinda influences alongside folk ritualistic beats as well as occasional Caribbean calypso rhythms.

This is an important band for those interested in the history and culture of African music, as it mixes talented adventurous musicians with the long-living ideas passed down through musical heritage. Hutchings enjoyed several trips to South Africa last year, including a stay with legendary drummer Louis Moholo in his Xhosa Township before recording their album. Some might say he is not only part jazz musician but part ethnomusicologist and part spiritualist; a unique mixture not to be missed.

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