“Of the many jewels left scattered across the world by South Africa’s jazz diaspora, Ndikho Xaba and the Natives, the single album recorded by Ndikho Xaba in the US, is among the most lucent. A mesmerising blend of heavy spirituality and politicised avant-garde jazz seasoned with gutbucket soul, Ndikho Xaba and the Natives is arguably the most complete and complex South African jazz LP recorded in the US, making profound sonic and ideological links between the struggle against apartheid and the situation of African Americans in the era of Black Power. It is a critical document in the history of transatlantic black solidarity and in the jazz culture of the South Africa exiles, and until now its rarity has served to obscure both its beauty and its historical significance. With this reissue, Matsuli Music brings it back into print for the first time since its original release in 1971.” This how the liner notes written by archivist and music historian Francis Gooding starts. And I won’t be able to find better words to make you want to listen to that fantastic record now re-issued by the great Matsuli Music. If you don’t know yet that London based record label, well, you should give a look to their releases since there are some quite good ones! By good ones I mean essential ones, supreme music! But so, the track we’ve decided to present to you today is “Nomusa”, song co-written by Ndikho and his wife for whom the song is named.
In 1969, he followed Hugh Masekela - recently divorced of Miriam Makeba - in LA but quickly moved to San Francisco, centre of the late 1960s counter culture. There, he quickly became involved in black politics at the Malcom X Unity House. It was there the he would meet his wife and long-life companion, Nomusa.
Born Patricia Packard, Ndikho helped her to change her name for Nomusa (“the mother of kindness”). It was her that would introduce Ndikho to saxophonist James ‘Plunky’ Branch, with whom he founded Ndikho and the Natives.
Now run to grab a copy of that gem before too late! You'll get a beautiful re-mastered sound in a gatefold sleeve containing unseen photographs and concert bills from Ndikho Xaba’s personal archive together with a personal recollection from Plunky Branch and extensive sleeve-notes written by Francis Gooding.
TO BUY THE LP:
Special thanks to Matt Temple and Chris Albertyn for allowing us to post that track and for sending us that exclusive picture fron Ndikho and Nomusa Xaba!