Wednesday, August 02, 2006


Madala & Mabi - Guitar and Drums

I got to know Mabi Gabriel Thobejane in 2002 when Lenny was assisting Robert & MELT put together a HUGE project for the Arts Alive Festival in Johannesburg that year.

Robert created the international jazz band PedXulu, comprising a core of Pedi, Xhosa & Zulu musicians collaborating with trumpeter Byron Wallen from the U.K. and vocalist & percussionist Rikki Randimbiarson Madagascar.

All the artists arrived in Cape Town for rehearsals two weeks before the gig, and we were at the sessions every day with Mama Lenny cooking and providing food for all 18 people. It's a very rewarding experience to see a bunch of musicians creating together, taunting eachother to coax that something special out of each talent, and how it finally all comes together. You get to know one another during this time.

Mabi was one of the main characters; always smiling and laughing, making jokes, and most of all giving us private performances of excellence on the drums and percussion. And by the time we drove to Jo'burg in convoy, Jasper, who was then only 2, wasn't frightened of Mabi's raspy voice and impish nature.

As I have mentioned before, Mabi continues to be a world force with his collaboration with Ben from Juno Reactor - and that is especially important with their live shows.

Mabi appears in the video below, with spiritual guitarist Madala Kunene, at their performance at the Fort Festival Village Foundation, and the inter-play between the two is awesome. 'Talking' guitar to 'talking' drums, from whispers to joyous shouts of celebration! The two of them take you on a journey.

Another highlight from MELT 2000's Acoustic Africa DVD (MZADV002), and of course on the books of Peak. But also friends of the family.

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