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Wednesday, May 25, 2022

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Nduduzo Makhathini shines a spotlight on ‘ubuntu’ on world tour

South African jazz musician Nduduzo Makhathini, who is on tour in the United States promoting his new album, ‘In the Spirit of Ntu’. He will perform first at Dizzy’s Club, Jazz at Lincoln Centre, in New York City. Picture: Supplied

South African jazz musician Nduduzo Makhathini, who is on tour in the United States promoting his new album, ‘In the Spirit of Ntu’. He will perform first at Dizzy’s Club, Jazz at Lincoln Centre, in New York City. Picture: Supplied

Published May 8, 2022

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South African jazz musician Nduduzo Makhathini has dropped “Amathongo,” the second single off his most anticipated new album, “In the Spirit of Ntu”.

“In the Spirit of Ntu” is Makhathini’s tenth studio album, set to release on May 27.

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It is also his second album to be released with Blue Note Records, in partnership with Universal Music Group Africa, and the very first release on the newly formed imprint Blue Note Africa.

Commenting on the album, Makathini said: “Nguni people or even Bantu tribes take dreams seriously.

“This is of course due to their Ntu cosmology that views the world in a triangle: the living, the living-dead (ancestors) and the ones not yet born.

“Thus dreams and rituals become a site for parallel existence in all three planes all at once. A great Zulu shaman Credo Mutwa explains ubothongo (deep sleep) as the moment of being one with the Star Gods.

‘'‘Amathongo’ is thus an acknowledgement of the Star Gods that see the future. It is a deep surrender and agreement (ukuvuma) with the greater wholeness of being.”

Makhathini is currently on tour in the US promoting his album, performing first at Dizzy’s Club at Jazz at Lincoln Centre in New York City.

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Below are some of the highlights of his recent of performance of “Amathongo” at the Stanford University, in California.

Makhathini draws on his background in Zulu traditions and intellectual curiosities to inform his engaging articulations.

“I'm grappling with these cosmological ideas as a way of situating jazz in our context.

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“I put out Modes of Communication: Letters from the Underworlds using the letter as a metaphor for the sounds coming from the underworlds. Previously, I had released Listening to the Ground which encored into this idea of listening as knowing.

"’In the Spirit of Ntu’ is living in that paradigm of listening to the things that emerge from the ground. Ntu is an ancient African philosophy from which the idea of ubuntu stems.

“Ubuntu says: ‘I am because you are’. It is a deep invocation of collectiveness.”

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Makhathini is performing alongside his band, which is made up of young South African musicians, including saxophonist Linda Sikhakhane, trumpeter Robin Fassie Kock, vibraphonist Dylan Tabisher, bassist Stephen de Souza, percussionist Gontse Makhene and drummer Dane Paris.

The band includes special guests vocalists Omagugu and Anna Widauer, and American saxophonist Jaleel Shaw.

As part of his world tour Makhathini is set to perform at international festivals in Netherlands, Italy and France.

Below are dates for Makhathini’s world tour.

May 30 – Spoleto Festival, Charleston, SC

June 3 – Blue Room, Kansas City, MO

June 4 – Blue Room, Kansas City, MO

June 7 – Take Two at Public Records, Brooklyn, NY

June 9 – Narrows Center for the Arts, Fall River, MA

June 11 – Vermont Jazz Center, Brattleboro, VT

July 8 – North Sea Jazz Festival, Rotterdam, Netherlands

July 12 – Jazz à Vienne, Vienne, France

July 15 – Nice Jazz Festival, Nice, France

July 16 – Albinea Jazz Festival, Albinea, Italy

August 6 – Ystad Sweden Jazz Festival, Ystad, Sweden.

“Amathongo,” is available on all digital platforms.

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