The underground sounds of Africa


The underground sounds of Africa

After only recently learning of South African musicians such as Nduduzo Makhathini, FRED DE VRIES says we inhabit a dense forest of music that many of us haven't even known about, let alone explored.

SOMETIMES, life can feel like dozing in the eye of a hurricane, not noticing the violent turbulence around you. And I’m not talking about politics (although I must say that the EFF protest didn’t even cause a ripple in our sleepy seaside town in the Deep South) but about music.

The other day I received an e-mail from a Dutch music friend who runs a small magazine called Platenblad. “My best album of 2022 is the brilliant and addictive In The Spirit of Ntu by the South African pianist Nduduzo Makhathini. How well known is that man in his own country?" he wrote.

“Hmm," I wrote back, “to be honest I have never heard of Makhathini," adding a shame-faced emoji. But when I asked my music-loving friends here, most of them also shook their head. Nduduzo who?..

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