“I personally think that our jazz would be even stronger if it had even deeper connections to our African cultures”
I am Nduduzo Makhathini, from Umgungundlovu in KwaZulu Natal, the Zulu tribe. I studied music from my community back home, my family, my dreams and from all natural music of the birds, trees and streams. At the age of seventeen I enrolled at the now UKZN music department to study jazz piano. I later learned that this was linked with my gift of ubungoma (healing). I have been living my life learning to be more deliberate about these connections in my work.
Do we see Nduduzo experimenting with other genres besides Jazz?
I have always experimented with other genres outside jazz. Outside being a jazz pianist, I am also a music producer and songwriter. I have composed and co-composed music for Joyous Celebration, Thembisile Ntaka, Mbuso Khoza, Revolution and other musicians in alternative genres. I have always worked with a lot of musicians in other genres such the late Lebo Mathosa, Arthur Mofokate, Mthunzi Namba, Theo Kgosinkwe and others. As far as my own work is concern I explore with indigenous influences but base everything in improvised music which is not necessarily jazz, I guess this has to do with the calling and a quest for healing through music.
As a pianist how much personality do you bring forward in your work?
I guess there is personality involved in my work, though not entirely since most of the work is dedicated to ancestry. Part of what I am interested and involved in is echoing the voices of my ancestors so I have to ensure that their voices cut through in my work.
One of your favorite South African artist currently?
I love Omagugu’s work. I am inspired by the amount of honesty involved in her singing but also her uniqueness is something our country needs.
“The future is bright, though a bit of support from the national arts and culture structures, venues and festival would really help”
Your current view on our local jazz scene, would you say is it recieving much light it deserves?
South Africa has a very exciting jazz scene currently. In the past five years we have been seeing a huge influx of young musicians and what is even more interesting is what these musicians are trying to articulate through their music and how it connects with the current day politics in this country. Furthermore, the movement has since grown attracting younger audiences and artists from other disciples such as writers, photographers, poets, painters are all making significant contributions to the movement. The future is bright though a bit of support from the national arts and culture structures, venues and festival would really help.
Would you say is it essential to study Jazz or it entirely depends on research and practice nowadays?
It is important to study jazz whether in an institution, I am not sure. I still believe in studying with the great masters. Moreover, I personally think that our jazz would be even stronger if it had even deeper connections to our African cultures.
What inspired the beautiful releases, Sketches of tomorrow your debut album(2014) and Ikhambi being your latest album(2017)?
Well, Sketches of Tomorrow, the album was simply inspired by fatherhood, what it means. The album also looked into ways of projecting legacies for future generations. I have recorded seven other albums since the current one being Ikhambi, this one focuses on exploring the healing properties of sound and what it means to be a healer within the context of being a jazz artist.
Release: Nduduzo Makathini – Ikhambi