Articles by Seton Hawkins

INTERVIEWS

Claude Cozens: Reimagining Rhythm

Read "Claude Cozens: Reimagining Rhythm" reviewed by Seton Hawkins

The Cape Jazz sound of South Africa is known to international audiences primarily thanks to the music of pianist Abdullah Ibrahim. However, the music and traditions of Cape Town and the Western Cape run much deeper, reflecting an extraordinary, sometimes contradictory, and exceedingly complex set of cultures and traditions reflected in the area. Within this environment the musician and composer Claude Cozens grew up, first gaining acclaim as a top-call drummer in Cape Town, ultimately forming his own extraordinary trio, ...

INTERVIEWS

Sam Tshabalala: Returning Home

Read "Sam Tshabalala: Returning Home" reviewed by Seton Hawkins

The late 1970s saw a surge of extraordinary musical creativity in South Africa. Driven in part by a changing political climate reflecting the youth-led Soweto uprising of 1976, a younger generation of South African artists harnessed the arts to give voice to a new chapter in the anti-apartheid struggle. Indeed, rising ensembles like Movement in the City, Sakhile, and The Beaters all embodied this post-1976 ethos, both in their messages and in their cross-genre vision for music. Within ...

INTERVIEWS

Carlo Mombelli: Angels and Demons

Read "Carlo Mombelli: Angels and Demons" reviewed by Seton Hawkins

One of music's criminally underrated geniuses, South African electric bassist and composer Carlo Mombelli has carved out a most extraordinary performing and writing career in music. Throughout his four decades as a performer, Mombelli has forged one of the most distinctive electric bass approaches in Jazz, established himself as South Africa's most exceptional composer, and has nurtured and developed an inspiring creative improvising and composing scene in Johannesburg. With last year's release of his latest album Angels and ...

INTERVIEWS

Aaron Rimbui: Nairobi to New York City

Read "Aaron Rimbui: Nairobi to New York City" reviewed by Seton Hawkins

Kenya is noted for an extraordinary array of musical offerings yet its jazz scene has historically been quite slim. However, Nairobi-born pianist Aaron Rimbui may change that dynamic. Drawing on the musical traditions of Kenya and East Africa, Rimbui has established a singular and absolutely arresting approach to jazz piano. With several solo records under his belt and a recent move to New York City, Rimbui seems poised to emerge as one of the leading figures ...

INTERVIEWS

Ronan Skillen: Telepathic Euphoria

Read "Ronan Skillen: Telepathic Euphoria" reviewed by Seton Hawkins

When one thinks of South African jazz, the didgeridoo and the tabla don't immediately jump to mind. Nevertheless, multi-instrumentalist, composer, and engineer Ronan Skillen has made them vital additions to a range of South African ensembles. While acclaimed for his work in the genre-smashing South African ensemble Babu, Skillen has engaged in a wide range of highly influential projects in South Africa and abroad, from the meditative collaboration with Dave Ledbetter, Deep South, to the electronica-infused ...

RADIO

Jazz of the New South Africa, Part Two

Read "Jazz of the New South Africa, Part Two" reviewed by Seton Hawkins

South Africa celebrated its first democratic elections in April 1994, entering a new phase of its history. During that decade, an incredible new array of Jazz artists emerged in the country, exploring Jazz's role in the New South Africa. Playlist Hilton Schilder “Email to the Ancestors" from No Turning Back (Mountain Records) 1:11 Tribe “New Tricks" from Our Language (Ready Rolled) 4:54 Carlo Mombelli and the Prisoners of the Strange “Ethical Sam's Cookery School" from I Stared ...

RADIO

Jazz of the New South Africa, Part 1

Read "Jazz of the New South Africa, Part 1" reviewed by Seton Hawkins

South Africa celebrated its first democratic elections in April 1994, entering a new phase of its history. During that decade, an incredible new array of Jazz artists emerged in the country, exploring Jazz's role in the New South Africa. Playlist Bheki Mseleku “Closer to the Source" from Celebration (World Circuit) 2:03 Paul Hanmer “Meeting of the Women" from Trains to Taung (Sheer Sound) 9:00 Moses Taiwa Molelekwa “Genes and Spirits" from Genes and Spirits (MELT2000) 14:06 McCoy ...

RADIO

Those Who Remained Behind, Part 2

Read "Those Who Remained Behind, Part 2" reviewed by Seton Hawkins

Many Jazz artists leave South Africa for exile in the 1960s and 1970s, but many remain behind, facing horrifying working conditions and oppression. In these two episodes, we'll explore their music and their efforts to resist apartheid within South Africa. Playlist Tete Mbambisa “Stay Cool" from Black Heroes (As-Shams Records) 1:58 Pat Matshikiza “Tshona" from Tshona! (EMI Records) 11:36 The Beaters “Harari" from Harari (As-Shams Records) 24:34 Movement in the City “Lament" from Afrika Underground (Counterpoint Records) ...

RADIO

Those Who Remained Behind, Part 1

Read "Those Who Remained Behind, Part 1" reviewed by Seton Hawkins

Many Jazz artists leave South Africa for exile in the 1960s and 1970s, but many remain behind, facing horrifying working conditions and oppression. In these two episodes, we'll explore their music and their efforts to resist apartheid within South Africa. Playlist Chris McGregor and the Castle Lager Big Band “Now" from Jazz/The African Sound (Jazzman Records) 1:59 Mahotella Queens “Umkhovu" from Next Stop...Soweto (Strut Records) 9:40 Amakhosi “Easy Way" from The Best of Accordion and Sax Jives (Gallo ...

RADIO

Jazz in Exile, Part Two

Read "Jazz in Exile, Part Two" reviewed by Seton Hawkins

South Africa's Jazz enters a period of exile following the Sharpeville Massacre. In Part Two of Jazz in Exile, we'll examine more closely the artists who leave South Africa for Europe, learn about their stories, and hear their music. Playlist Blue Notes “Ntyilo Ntyilo" from Blue Notes for Johnny (Ogun Records) 01:49 Brotherhood of Breath “Mra" from Brotherhood of Breath (Repertoire Records) 09:45 Johnny Dyani “Radebe" from Witchdoctor's Son (Steeplechase Records) 16:15 Louis Moholo-Moholo “Ithi Gqi" from Spirits Rejoice! (Ogun ...

RADIO

Jazz in Exile, Part One

Read "Jazz in Exile, Part One" reviewed by Seton Hawkins

South Africa's Jazz enters a period of exile following the Sharpeville Massacre. Artists like Hugh Masekela, Miriam Makeba and many more leave the country in order to be able to continue performing their music. Playlist Miriam Makeba “Pata Pata" from Mama Africa: The Very Best of Miriam Makeba (Manteca) 2:24 Miriam Makeba “Ndodemnyama Verwoerd" from Africa (BMG) 5:19 Gwigwi Mrwebi “Nyusamkhaya" from Kwela (Honest Jons) 10:09 Hugh Masekela “U, Dwi" from Grrr (Verve Music) 13:28 Hugh Masekela ...

RADIO

King Kong to Sharpeville

Read "King Kong to Sharpeville" reviewed by Seton Hawkins

Part two of an eight-part series exploring the past and present of South Africa's Jazz scene. This episode looks at the late 1950s in South Africa's Jazz, leading up to the early 1960s and the fallout of the Sharpeville Massacre. Playlist Cast of King Kong “Sad Times, Bad Times" from King Kong: Original Cast (Gallo Music Publishers) 01:55 Miriam Makeba “Back of the Moon" from King Kong: Original Cast (Gallo Music Publishers) 05:54 Kippie Moeketsi and the ...


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