Keleketla! is an expansive collaborative project, reaching outward from Johannesburg to London, Lagos, L.A. and West Papua, “Keleketla!” started as a musical meeting ground between Ninja Tune cofounders Coldcut and a cadre of South African musicians (introduced by the charity In Place Of War), including the raw, South African-accented jazz styles of Sibusile Xaba, and rapper Yugen Blakrok (Black Panther OST). From those initial sessions, the record grew to encompass a wider web of musical luminaries, including Afrobeat architects, the late pioneer Tony Allen and Dele Sosimi, legendary L.A. spoken word pioneers The Watts Prophets, and West Papuan activist Benny Wenda.
The album collaborators are as follows:
South Africa sessions:
Yugen Blakrok, Nono Nkoane, Thabang Tabane, Tubatsi Moloi, Gally Ngoveni, Sibusile Xaba, Soundz of the South Collective, DJ Mabheko
Tony Allen, Shabaka Hutchings, Dele Sosimi, Ed ‘Tenderlonious’ Cawthorne, Tamar Osborn, Miles James, Joe Armon-Jones, Afla Sackey, Benny Wenda, The Lani Singers, Eska Mtungwazi, Jungle Drummer, DeeJay Random
Additionally, The Watts Prophets (Los Angeles) and Antibalas (New York) have contributed to the album.
The final product is a future-facing assemblage of influences, drawing connections between different points in a jazz-tipped, soulfully-minded spectrum; it builds outwards, from the solid musical foundations of those first sessions, featuring the likes of Thabang Tabane, esteemed percussionist and son of the legendary Phillip Tabane. On the one hand, there are gqom beats, interlaced with activist chants and and Tony Allen’s live Afrobeat drums; on the other, there are warm, lyrical meditations, aided by horns and keys. The name “Keleketla” means “response”, as in “call-and-response”, a title which speaks to the project’s aim: to build out a shared musical ground, traced across different recording sessions, continents apart.
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