Sikhakhane’s relationship to sound has always been linked to his Nguni traditions and this project is a further exploration on that, an investigation on cultural concepts that would serve as a map on his sonic journey. Iladi is an indigenous Nguni ritual that is performed for various reasons, most often as a bridge of communication between the living and the living dead (ancestors).
This work seeks to acknowledge all gifts and guidance, and it is also a meditation for reaching a heightened level of spiritual awareness through sound. This meditation will be presented in two movements at the National Arts Festival featuring sought after improvisers that fully demonstrate the shape of jazz in South Africa.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Saxophonist Linda Sikhakhane began his musical journey at the Siyakhula Music Centre in Umlazi and has now become a veteran of international performance, playing with musicians such as Sibongile Khumalo, Nduduzo Makhathini, Gregory Porter, Thandiswa Mazwai and Rodney Kendrick and performing around the globe, including the US, Norway, Brazil, Germany, the UK and France. As winner of the SAMRO Overseas Scholarship he studied at The New School in New York, where he now has extensive musical connections and opportunities. He is completing a Masters degree at the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo and has collaborated regularly with musicians around Europe and, of course, with a host of top South African musicians.
On his debut album Two Sides, One Mirror (2017), Sikhakhane brought together a band of fellow musical mavericks from the improvised jazz scene to produce songs of deep spiritual yearning – a mood and style that continued into his second album, An Open Dialogue (2020), which was recorded live in New York in the same year that Apple Music named him Artist of the Month for November. An Open Dialogue was also nominated for Best Jazz Album at the South African Music Awards.
Sikhakhane’s third album, Isambulo, was released earlier this year. It has been described as “a fluid and deep exploration of jazz, seamlessly blended with tradition” – and, indeed, he is committed both to exploring and extending South Africa’s amazing jazz heritage. As he reminds us, this is best achieved through collaboration.