Pianist Nduduzo Makhathini Releases New Single “Izinkonjana” | LISTEN! Announces New European & U.S. Tour Dates for 2024



Nduduzo Makhathini has shared “Izinkonjana,” the second single to be revealed from the South African pianist, composer, and healer’s forthcoming third Blue Note album uNomkhubulwane out June 7. The enchanting ballad is imbued with the gospelish elegance of such South African greats as Abdullah Ibrahim, and features Makhathini’s trio with bassist Zwelakhe-Duma Bell le Pere and drummer Francisco Mela. The trio will be touring extensively this year with upcoming shows across Europe and the U.S. See below for a list of tour dates.

Since making his international debut for Blue Note in 2020 with Modes of Communication: Letters From the Underworlds, Makhathini has earned widespread acclaim for the genuinely spiritual transcendence of his music. For Makhathini, a Zulu healer and educator who has delved deeply into the histories and traditions of his ancestors, improvised music has never been merely about aesthetics or idioms.

uNomkhubulwane travels beyond any existing notion of music-making to offer his most profound vision of creative mysticism yet. Here the pianist seeks inspiration on a wholly metaphysical plane — using sound as a way to commune with, as he puts it, “supernatural voices.” Makhathini’s three-movement suite takes its title from the Zulu name of “God’s only daughter and a manifestation of God’s very creation purpose,” the pianist explains. “She is also believed to be a mythical rain goddess, a regulator of nature, light and fertility.” A shapeshifting force, uNomkhubulwane can manifest in the form of an animal, or a hurricane or a rainbow — the lattermost of which, Makhathini says, symbolizes her “kindness and regulation of balance.”

The project’s three movements are a kind of pathway to embracing the spirit of uNomkhubulwane — three being a number of monumental power and meaning in Africa. “In Yoruba cosmology,” Makhathini says, “number 3 represents balance and harmony [characteristics of uNomkhubulwane]. Much broader African worldviews associate number 3 with endlessness, immortality and ongoing-ness through a triple state of being; before [ancestors], here [the living] and the future [the not-yet-born].” Three is indicated directly in the music of Makhathini’s new suite — in the trio format of the band, in time signatures, in a delightful triplet feel.

The suite emerged out of a “mother song” afforded to Makhathini during the initiation process he underwent to become a healer. There, he was immersed in water in order to encounter uNomkhubulwane, who gifted him this song. “The first movement ‘Libations,’” he says, “deals with collective black memory inside a state of protest against ongoing oppression[s],” adding that “this movement invokes an eternal state of black mourning that has made us lose our ‘voices,’ and even though we still cry, we do not have tears anymore.” The second movement, ‘Water Spirits,’ deals with vital energy and restoration — a proposal of “cleansing and summoning of essence.” The final movement, “Inner Attainment,” focuses on “freedom, hope and grace,” and the striving toward a transcendence that would bring abundance back to our current time and physical plane.

As always, Makhathini’s message is ultimately one of perpetual optimism for his people, and for all people. “Essentially, this offering is an invitation to humanity to cultivate ways of being that yearn for freedom and balance,” he says. “Here I invite you to a new mode of humanism that is oriented towards singing the songs of uNomkhubulwane.”


May 10 – Jazz Sous Les Pommiers – Coutances, France
May 12 – XJAZZ Festival – Berlin, Germany
May 14 – Duc Des Lombards – Paris, France
May 15-16 – KONCERTKIRKEN – Copenhagen, Denmark
May 17 – Moers Jazz Festival – Moers, Germany
Oct. 2 – BASF-Feierabendhaus – Ludwigshafen, Germany
Oct. 5-6 – Karlstorbahnhof Heidelberg e.V. – Heidelberg, Germany
Oct. 7-12 – RWTH Aachen University – Aachen, Germany
Oct. 22 – City Winery Boston – Boston, MA
Oct. 25 – Zankel Hall – New York, NY
Oct. 26 – Exit Zero Jazz Festival – Cape May, NJ
Oct. 27 – SOUTH – Philadelphia, PA
Nov. 1 – Freight & Salvage – Berkeley, CA
Nov. 2 – Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute – Seattle, WA
Nov. 3 – Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society – Half Moon Bay, CA
Nov. 4 – Kuumbwa Jazz Center – Santa Cruz, CA
Nov. 6 – The Loft at UC San Diego – San Diego, CA
Nov. 9 – Hotel Congress – Tucson, AZ
Nov. 10 – Outpost – Albuquerque, NM
Nov. 11 – Dazzle – Denver, CO
Nov. 14 – Blue Llama Jazz Club – Ann Arbor, MI
Nov. 15 – Hancher Auditorium – Iowa City, IA
Nov. 19 – Philharmonie Luxembourg – Luxembourg City, Luxembourg
Nov. 22 – Festival Jazzdor – Strasbourg, France
Nov. 23 – Kolner Philharmonie – Koln, Germany
Nov. 26 – Laeiszhalle – Hamburg, Germany
Nov. 27 – Club Porgy & Bess – Vienna, Austria

Blue Note Records

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