Kabantu are a quintet from Manchester who have been charming and elevating audiences across the UK with their high-octane and percussive live workouts blending roots, jazz & classical music from around the world.
With a stand-out BBC Proms performance at the Royal Albert Hall broadcast on BBC Radio 3 in 2015, the band haven’t stopped touring and making waves across the country having also recorded sessions for BBC Free Thinking Festival, BBC Radio 3’s In Tune and World on 3. The group have performed at prestigious festivals and venues across the UK including Bridgewater Hall, The Sage Gateshead, Spitalfields Festival, Celtic Connections, Musicport, Aldeburgh and Greenbelt. In 2016 Kabantu featured on the cover of Making Music magazine as ‘ones to watch’ for 2016/2017. The group are currently preparing to record their first full-length recording in Manchester.
More about the music
The band’s songbook unravels new marriages of music from around the globe. Vocal harmonies of South Africa coalesce with everything from Celtic reels and Brazilian samba to Balkan folk music and beyond. Kabantu throw away the rulebook to bridge countries and cultures, creating an exuberant and joyful sound.
Mixing world, folk, jazz and classical, Kabantu’s compositions don’t meet purist genre definition. Reigniting traditional songs written over the last century, everybody in Kabantu uses their voice to sing, scat and stutter alongside their instruments, which includes percussion, double bass, cello, violin, guitar and banjo. Kabantu, means ‘of the people’, in a hybrid of Sotho and Zulu from South Africa – the birthplace of cellist and vocalist, Abel. Yet it’s cosmopolitan Manchester and the group’s experiences in the city that is their ultimate inspiration for forming Kabantu. They embrace the inclusivity they feel living in the north’s chief city.
Delia (percussion) and Katie (violin) are BBC Young Musician and BBC Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year finalists. Delia & Abel are both RNCM Gold Medal Winners, the highest platform available to soloists.
With only the Whistle Stop Tour EP recording to their name, Kabantu have managed to rack up over 60 concerts since they begun and have managed to do the unfathomable and delight audiences from across a range of performance spaces and demographics from folk and Celtic festivals and classical concert series to city arts venues and children’s festivals.
Schools, workshops & unusual performances
Kabantu initiate their own workshops to inspire young musicians. Recent projects include improvisation and arrangement workshops with the Whitby Young Musicians and the Sing City project at Brighter Sound (Band on the Wall, Manchester). Aldeburgh Music hosted Kabantu in August 2016 as workshop leaders ahead of their annual carnival.
Kabantu are also part of Yehudi Menuhin’s nationwide initiative Live Music Now (LMN) where their music and awareness mainstream and special needs schools, pupil referral units, hospitals and care homes, playing to those unable to hear music in more conventional settings.
They recently won the ROSL Arts Mixed Ensemble competition: check the article here
Feedback & Quotes
Georgia Mann, Presenter and Producer, BBC Proms for BBC Radio 3
“Such a refreshing group with an exciting future ahead”
Lopa Kothari (BBC Radio 3)
“…one of the most exciting, original, and inventive performances ever seen at the Ribchester Music Festival. Their enthusiasm and energy was so infectious, the audience absolutely lapped it up! Project Jam Sandwich really nailed it!”
Marc Mallam, Ribchester Festival Director
“Their performance and musicianship was fun, magical and captivating which brought about a spontaneous, well deserved standing ovation. Don’t hesitate to book them, you won’t be disappointed”.
Charles Devlin – Director, Ireby Festival