ABAVUKI are a powerful African Jazz outfit from Langa, Cape Town and have been playing their infectious afro-beat marimba grooves since 2001. The eight members in the group, all multi-instrumentalists, are influenced by kwaito, samba, jazz and traditional rhythms, which they translate within a modern format, using marimbas, percussion and brass instruments.
The Xhosa name “abavuki” means ‘Wake up, early birds!’ and this attitude is palpable in Abavuki’s high-energy, uplifting music that not only reflects their youth, but their optimistic outlook on life and their approach to music-making.
Their vibrant reinterpretation of marimba music, with overlaid brass instruments, is a funky addition to the genre, and resounds because it is testimony to the resilience of South Africans and the redemption the country has found in music in its path to reconciliation.
graduated from UCT last year, after studying African Music. He plays marimba and drums, does back-up vocals and dances. His favourite music style is kwaito. Sabu and Kim played at the World’s Children’s Prize awards in Sweden for two years running and have just returned from Mexico.
Mzwamadoda (Guz) Matsila
Trombone, Marimbas and vocals.
plays the trombone, trumpet, drums and steel pans. He arranges most of the music that the group plays. At home, he listens to Jazz. Thando and Mzwamadoda recently returned from a trip to Brazil where they performed with another marimba band from Mandalay.
Marimbas and Drums
Plays marimbas and drums and has been playing music since he was 8. He loves jazz and house music. He spent 3 months in Italy courtesy of the Benneton Fabrica programme where he recorded a solo album entitled “Sababamba”. He recently travelled to Oman with the Ibuyamo Ensemble which also included Kim and Sabu.
Mkhokheli (Kim) Masala
Marimbas and Drums
Masala has a highly developed sense of rhythm and plays marimbas and drums. He has been playing since the age of seven and composes much of Abavuki’s music. Bongani and Kim have toured Holland with Lungiswa Plaatjies. Kim returns to Holland and France every year with Dizu Plaatjies’ band.
Drums, bass marimba and the recorder
Sakabula was instrumental in getting this group of young men together and hopes to pass on his knowledge of traditional rhythms and dances to the next generation. Miyo plays drums, bass marimba and the recorder, sings and dances
Trombone, drums and vocals.
Plays the trombone, steel pans and sings. His inspiration comes from the many great musicians who originated from Langa, his choice of music includes kwaito and R&B. He was recently featured on “What’s your Story” on SABC 2. Thulani often joins Ndima as a DJ.
Andile (Ndima) Makubalo
Trumpet and Percussion
Makubalo was introduced to classical music at a young age and became a fan of Mozart. When the Cape Town Symphony started an outreach program to teach young people to play brass instruments he jumped at the opportunity to join. He plays the trumpet and is a DJ. He recently DJ’ed in the UK at a fundraiser for Margaret House orphanage and the African Wildlife conference in Jhb.
Trumpet and vocals
Has performed in Brazil and the Seychelles. He plays the trumpet and steel pans and sang with his school choir. His choice of music includes Jazz and traditional African.