Musa Mashiane

IMG-20200216-WA0003.jpg
14min3902

The infatuation this generation has with spirituality is unlike anything we’ve seen before. Be it heeding the calling yok’thwasa, the obsession with astrology or numerology- the youngins need their chakras activated. So it’s more imperative to have spiritually astute artists like Sibusile Xaba now, than any other time. Much like in the 1960s and ’70s when the world was politically charged; the role of a Fela Kuthi and a Bob Marley was quite significant during that period.

“Ku balulekile to connect with the Creator. For me that’s the ultimate. Even ukuthwasa and the vibe that’s in the air right now, it’s a sign that people are trying to find themselves,” says Xaba.

For him, people are tracing back steps of who they are, beyond religion, faith or belief but to a time when spirituality was the way of living. “…it’s before things were documented or before the human race was separated into nations, there was a way of living which didn’t necessarily have a set process of connecting to the Creator. There wasn’t a need to go to church and connect with a middle man, be it Jesus Christ or Muhammad or anyone, to get closer to Umdali. We were one with the Creator. The disconnection and confusion came about when the mind was activated; that you must believe or have faith in something, and no longer your will. It’s now a process justified by names that mould it,” the artist from KwaZulu-Natal says.

HEALING THE PEOPLE: Artist Sibusile Xaba on stage with Neftali on the right. Photo by Sip The Snapper
HEALING THE PEOPLE: Artist Sibusile Xaba on stage with Naftali on the right. Photo by Sip The Snapper

Xaba is pleased with this generation’s insistence on connecting to the Creator and believes this will help remove divisions brought by tribes, nations and race. “The Zulu nation will say they are the greatest in the South, in Mali they’ll also says they are the greatest, in Egypt, in Ethiopia they’ll say the same thing…so there’s something amiss here…and even when you come to spirituality, you find that some people think they are superior or more gifted than others but the Creator gave us all gifts and they’re all the same. You have the gift to heal self because you’re connected to the Creator. Whether it’s telepathy, prophesy all those things. Now they just have words, but before it was the way,” the artists says.

Alone in a Braamfontein bookstore, The Commune, Sibusile Xaba and I sit post his intimate performance at The Forge just a few minutes ago. The performance was to promote his new album Ngiwu Shwabada which was released the day before, on Valentine’s Day.

He looks a normal civilian now with his locks down, wearing chino pants and a simple black T-shirt and a pair of sneakers- as oppose to minutes ago on stage when he had ankle shakers above his mbatata sandals, with his lower body covered only by cloth and had a dashiki on, dreads tied back, with guitar in hand. It’s akin to seeing Superman without his suite and cape, uClark Kent nje. But there’s a difference. Sibusile Xaba doesn’t have a moniker to hide behind and despite the apparel, he remains Sibusile Xaba with the same message as that fella on stage. His underlying message? 1Luv.

Artist Sibusile Xaba at The Forge in Joburg. Photo by Sip The Snapper
Artist Sibusile Xaba at The Forge in Joburg. Photo by Sip The Snapper

“…let’s practice uku thandana, uku bambana, ukuxhasana, it’ll go a long way. I know you’re thinking ‘ai lo mjita udlala isiginci, maku nguye ngabo one love, one love…but no, it’s the power we have inside, we have forgotten what we have within and if we were to take that out, the world would transform,” says Xaba, calmly sharing his philosophy with the audience between his performance.

The one love phrase is a simple one, but it’s the ultimate truth in that we’re all creation made by the Creator- it is truth that he stands on, which helps cut through bullshit that polarizes humanity. Despite the assortment of energies in his audience, the effect of Sibusile’s music is the same, it’s calming. “Ah we’re just messengers mfowethu, it’s not us, and we’re just here to share what we hear, with a pure heart,” he humbly says. Sibusile shared the stage with Naftali, who he says contributed to his current album.

It’s puzzling that he only has two projects, the first one being Open Letter to Adoniah which came to him through dreams.  “It was just so natural and so peaceful you know…eDNA yayo didn’t have any negativity, so I just welcomed it.”

He speaks casually about how music from his previous album came about. “Kodwa why is it a thing, because we dream always. I think for creatives that happens a lot, even for you as a writer I’m sure things happen subliminally or things might feel like déjà vu or a vision. For me it was quite normal, the only thing I didn’t understand was that it happened izintsuku z’landelana.”

Ngiwu Shwabada is a continuation of the same modus operandi. “I was telling usista daar ku Jazzuary ukuthi now that I practice this [receiving music through dreams] I get different dreams saying different things and it’s not like now yonke into eng’zwayo ngi zoyenza ingoma, you understand. Le ye ngoma iyazisho. It’s like someone whispers into my ear.”

UNDER THE SPOTLIGHT: Sibusile Xaba at The Forge in Joburg. Photo by Sip The Snapper
UNDER THE SPOTLIGHT: Sibusile Xaba at The Forge in Joburg. Photo by Sip The Snapper

He tells me he’s delved deeper in this project, than he did with the 2017 Open Letter to Adoniah. “I understand ukuthi you have to connect to the universe and listen. By being still you can listen and hear things that the polluted ear wouldn’t necessarily hear.”

The sophomore 12 track album was recorded last year in Paris, France. It’s a beautiful body of work that takes one to so many places, all at once. The last track on the album is an 18 minute collaboration with Shabaka Hutchings, titled Phefumla. Sibusile’s scatting on the track is like a conversation between him and Hutchings’s saxophone. There’s also a song paying homage to his mentor, Madala Kunene on the album. “Ai mfwethu I was so scared to play that song,” he tells me cracking in laughter. “..I played it for him and he’s like ‘hai, yaz mina ang’yizwa le ngoma’ and he’s so honest about it,” says Xaba, of Kunene’s response to Tribute to Bafo.

Sibusile is part of a growing community of black creatives who share ideas, who seem to be conscious of those who came before them and who understand the importance of unity among black creatives, from all around the world. The likes of Thandi Ntuli, Shabaka and the Ancestors, Thabang Tabane, Musa Mashiane, Nduduzo Makhatini and plenty others.  “There’s a serious community of Africans across the globe and it’s beautiful bra wami. Kats are so united man, stretching themselves, working together and sharing contacts. It’s not perfect, but it’s better than being selfish and keeping everything to yourself. It’s powerful.”

It must be that 1Luv spreading its roots.

Download and listen to Ngiwu Shwabada here.

Musa-Mashiane-1280x853.jpg
5min1410

BEING one of the last performers last month at the Moshito Music conference has worked to Musa Mashiane’s favour, as that showing landed him a gig in Mauritius, where he performs tonight.

“They[Mauritius Music Expo organisers] discovered me at Moshito, I was the second last act on the day and everyone was blown away. They were so impressed, since then we’ve kept in touch and they had already told me they were gonna have the expo this weekend” says Mashiane exclusively speaking to Tha Bravado from Mauritius about how he landed the gig to represent Southern African countries at the music expo.

You can imagine, an expo with international guests, a line-up had already put together by last month, but Mashiane has forced the organisers to make adjustments for him. “They asked if I’d be keen to come because they are so in love with my music.”

Taking place for the second year, the Mauritius Music Expo (MOMIX)’s aim is to facilitate an exchange of culture and knowledge between local and international musicians, producers, festival organisers and media through conferences, showcases performances and workshops. Mashiane joins a diverse line-up which features France’s Pierre Nesta and local Ziwala among others.

Mashiane landed yesterday, and apart from tonight’s performance he will also take part in a street festival tomorrow while Sunday he’ll be in studio to collaborate with two artists, Mauritian Eric Triton and India’s Lakshman Das Baul. “They are also on the line-up, but I met them e Moshito, we spoke about doing a song together so Sunday that’s what we’re gonna be doing. I’m coming back on Tuesday and before I leave, ngi ngene e studio and maybe do one song.”

Situated 2,000 kilometres off the southeast coast of Africa, Mauritius is one of the continent’s most beautiful countries and the musician from Mpumalanga has enjoyed how he has been received so far on the island. “Hopefully on Monday I get a chance to relax, because the hotel we’re sleeping in is quite beautiful. There’s a beach inside the hotel, but I haven’t been to the beach because I’ve been quite busy. Hopefully I can go there and wash-off all the bad luck,” quips Mashiane.

Since his return is midweek, this rules out his performance at this Sunday’s Action Painting event at 4ROOM. Action Painting is a monthly event which takes place at 4ROOM gallery in Tembisa each month. This weekend’s line-up features vocalist Towela and band, Trio.

Musa Mashiane performing at 4ROOM. By Katlego K Tshuma

Mashiane is one of the organisers together with MK and Bongani Xego. “I won’t be able to attend this weekend but everything is in order. I so wish I was there but I’m having fun here because I’m still representing this side. So it’s a win-win.”

DSCF3408-1280x1920.jpg
10min1600

We’re in no militant warfare, but people are going through the most. But it’s our individual and yet common struggles, which foster these infinite bonds. Like British journalist Max Hastings once said, the only redemptive feature of war is the brotherhood which it forges.

Meet MK, Musa Mashiane and Bongani Xego.  Three brothers connected by their shared fondness of Pan Africanism, art, music and entrepreneurship. But their connection comes to actuality through the Action Painting in Music events. Mashiane the musician, MK the artist and Xego the man behind organic skin care product, RA-ABA.

“For me, what we’re doing now is rather a feeling because we felt each other. For some reason, I feel like MK is me in another body, because all of his dreams and everything else  is the same thing as mine. Even with King Musa, it’s the same thing. There’s a brotherhood es’nga yazi nathi, it’s very deep,” says Xego.

“It’s because we have a common bond and not only that, but we have the ability to enhance each other’s characters uyang’thola. Because a one man army, is no movement,” MK says.

They are a trio of light spoken characters, but the spliff going around the four of us, eases us into conversation. We’re at 4ROOM, busking in the sun-basically a bunch of bearded hippies deep in off kilter discussions emva kwendlu ye four room.  But the place will be unrecognizable this coming Sunday, because of the Action Painting in Music event. Which will feature Adelle Nqeto, Touchline, Mo’Soul and others. The event includes a kid’s creative station, art exhibition and a tour of Tembisa.

King Don Thobela on stage at last month’s Action Painting in Music. He’ll be performing this coming Sunday By Katlego K Tshuma

4ROOM has been in existence for about eight years now, situated in Ethafeni section in Tembisa, 4ROOM Creatives Village is the umbrella company to which includes the house itself as a gallery, a magazine, art education and events (Art Lifestyle) among other things. MK runs and operates the place by himself with a small team. “We haven’t marketed ourselves as a traditional gallery to the world, because we know ukuthi our traditional standards are not the standards of what a traditional (Western) gallery looks like.”

“We started last year around May or June, with (artist) Nkateko Balyoi. We had a private show on June 16, but I think we had two or three shows before that. After that show, Nkateko moved out of the group to do other things,” says MK , detailing the history of Action Painting.  After Baloyi’s departure, the two went on a few months’ hiatus from the project, until later in the year. “We started pushing again late last year, that’s when Thandazani Ndlovu became part of it.”

Mashiane, a seasoned musician, only started coming to 4ROOM last year, but rapidly grew a connection to the place and to MK. Mashiane suggested to MK the concept of “merging the music and the visual art together. Something which, we could invite people to come and watch. Not just an exhibition, but a space where they can experience an artist painting. Starting on a blank canvass and complete in front of the audience.”

They’ve organised four instalments of Action Painting in Music this year, this coming Sunday will be their fifth. Because of the rareness of such a presentation of visual art and music, their product has been demanded and received with warmth in the various places which they’ve graced. Earlier this year they were in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga.

They also went to Grahamstown, for the National Arts Festival. “It was like a learning experience. People received us well, professionally even, because we based ourselves in a space where there were a lot of people and we were delivering. People were appreciative-they had never seen it before, getting both experiences as one.”

Musa Mashiane performing at 4ROOM. By Katlego K Tshuma

They say the difference between Nelspruit and the Arts Festival, is that the former was more of a gig because they were expected. “I would say Grahamstown was more of a pop up. They had the Standard Bank showcase stage, of which we did that and everyone was like, shit!” Mashiane says.

Xego says later on that evening, they took a walk to a couple of pubs and restaurants and at one of them, they asked the manager if they could play at the spot. The place is called Major Fraser’s. “That guy gave us a platform and we did about four nights. It became our resident space,” says Mashiane.

They have similar life goals as Pinky and the Bain. “The end goal is very far, but it’s to take the village international. So this is just a rehearsal for that.  But maybe in the next five years we can say we have an end goal,” says Xego.

“What I know is that s’phusha e black excellence. It’s a legacy for our children’s, children’s children,” says Mashiane. While MK has a more somber, and life enriching end goal. “It is something huge and we don’t know what it looks like. It’s to make sure the black man grows bigger than themselves and their fears and learn about their abilities.”

Artists MK. By Katlego K Tshuma

They are planning a final rehearsal of their world takeover, in December, the last Action Painting in Music of the year, at a secret location. “It’ll include some of the people from our previous events. It’s something to look forward to.”

Musa-Mashiane-1280x853.jpg
6min3372

ART took centre stage at 4ROOM as Sun Xa Experiment was forced to leave because of an emergency, right before their performance.

Billed as the headline act for this past Sunday’s Action Painting at 4ROOM in Tembisa, band Sun Xa Experiment couldn’t get on stage due to one of the band members’ kids being sick. But regardless of that mishap, those who graced the stage gave the audience its money’s worth with their performances.

Thing about 4ROOM is that it allows artists intimacy with their audience and each artist that went on felt like they were singing for you, right in your living room. The sound was crisp with no glitches while the stage and lights set-up would make a stranger doubt that they’re indeed in someone’s four room backyard.

Momemtos band performed well, but one can’t help but feel cheated when guys do cover tracks throughout their set. I’ve been to countless shows at 4ROOM but this past Sunday stands out. There were kids running around the yard, creatives networking and old friends unwinding over great music.

Unwinding at 4ROOM. By Katlego K Tshuma

Armed with his guitar, Musa Mashiane’s highly spirited performances could well be the night’s highlight as it moved people to sit still and absorb the energy he was sharing with his listeners. The artist who hails from Mpumalanga performed twice, his last performance was accompanied by artists Thandazani Ndlovu and MK-their growing collaboration that brings together music and visual art.

Musa Mashiane performing at 4ROOM. By Katlego K Tshuma
The Host: Artists MK. By Katlego K Tshuma

With Mashiane belting out Uku khanya, Ndlovu tells me what inspired his painting that he did during Mashiane’s performance. “I was painting uMdu. But it’s quite abstract. The way he’s dressed…and he’s a free person who doesn’t seem concerned by what people might think of him. I like people like that.”

Killing the mic at 4ROOM. By Katlego K Tshuma

The muse, Mdu Hlangu was pleased with how he was depicted. “It captures the essence of who I am. I love it…I’m sure I’m gonna buy it. If no one beats me to it, this one’s mine.”

“No one told me they were gonna paint me. I hear people say it looks like me…it’s a good thing because I don’t have a mirror in the house,” says Hlangu.

Stationed on a chair, Indlovukazi’s performance added to the night’s intimate mood.Rapper Vortex, who I hadn’t seen on stage in a while, got heads nodding to his Boom Bap sounds. Before and after his performance, Killa Kane was on the decks doing what only Kane does best and that is play great soulful music.


About us

We’ll Not Change The World Ourselves. But We’ll Spark The Minds That Do.
Read More

CONTACT US




Newsletter





    I'm not a robot
    View our Privacy Policy