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Afrobeat @ Peppi Guggenheim

Siselabonga returns with a new EP titled In Stone. This time around, South African singer-songwriter Nongoma took control of the mic and the group swerved into a kaleidoscopic melange of acoustic and electronic instrumentation. The rhythmic foundation is West African all around, but elements of hip hop, soul, afrobeats, and electro-pop weave in and out of the tapestry. Vibrant, sensual, and transcendent, by analogy, the end effect has the splashy assertiveness of big-format canvases of painter Kudzanai-Violet Hwami.

With the exception of ‘Dumazile,‘ which was written by Nongoma’s parents, Nongoma took the lead in regards to songwriting. What we hear on the EP is a result of extensive jam sessions. These sessions were as much about downloading the spirit as they were about finding the right colors for the Final arrangements. Once the group had a thick layer of paint down, Fabio hired producer Louis Cesar Ewande who chipped away at it carefully. The mission was to allow the voice to shine unimpeded and leave ample room for the beats to thunder and clap. The multiple layers of percussion heard through-out the album were laid down by Fabio Meier.

Etienne M’Bappe guested at the studio and thickened up the arrangements with warm, bouncy bass lines. ‘In Stone’ is a complex and layered affair. It’s also a very intimate body of work. Nongoma says that she was aiming for “something healing, uplifting, introspective, yet fun.” She continues, “I want people to be able to dance to a serious topic, but still allow it to resonate deeply in their spirit.” On ‘Ngimelele,’ she addresses the challenges of being in a long distance relationship, but being unable to travel. ‘In Stone,’ on the other hand, speaks to the power of the ancestors and their ability to transmit teachings across space-time – messages that we receive via recollective memory – that help us to reconnect with our Higher Selves.

‘Dumazile’ deals with personal tragedy. It‘s a letter written to a family member who lost a battle with AIDS. Whether it‘s in your mind, your body or both, when you hear this music, you will definitely be touched.

Siselabonga* is a collaborative platform and creative vehicle brought to life by Swiss percussionist Fabio Meier.

It was created with the intent to facilitate deep dialogue and intense sonic exchanges with other musicians, visual artists, and performers. By design, everything about the project is in flux: who takes the creative lead, the band configuration, and where the project decides to „pitch its tent“ at any given point in time. Outside of creating that rich, kaleidoscopic, body-moving music that Siselabonga is known for, this liquid framework that it works with acts as a catalyst for discussions that we all need to be having, but often don’t!

Some of the Siselabonga collaborators and family include: Nongoma Ndlovu, Fabio Meier and Louis Cesar Ewande.

*Siselabonga is a word created from the mash up of si, c’est bon (French for ‘that’s good’) and siyabonga (Zulu for ‘thank you’).

  • Nongoma Ndlovu – Vocals & Keys
  • Fabio Meier – Percussion

Free entry – it is suggested to give some money if you like the band.

Note: The Peppi is a smoking bar. Admission from 18 years.

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