5 minutes with Nduduzo Makhathini

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Nduduzo Makhathini

Soothing and spiritual jazz music is definitely what we need during this lockdown period. Our Features Writer Fundiswa Nkwanyana had a chat with pianist, composer and healer, Nduduzo Makhathini, about his new album titled Modes of Communication: Letters from the Underworlds.

Image: Nduduzo Makhathini IG

My ideal place to create music is in a cottage in my yard. This is where my ancestors feel most comfortable and where I connect with them.  But since it is not possible to do this all the time, I sometimes find quiet spaces where my spiritual frequency will not be disturbed. Before I can create music, I need to make sure that I’m open to receiving messages and inspiration from other worlds. Once I have received, I then start writing and composing.  I tap into a spiritual energy and process.

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I believe you have to totally submit yourself during the creative process. I learnt this important lesson from the late Busi Mhlongo, while we were working on her album titled Amakholwa. I watched her as she completely immersed herself in the creative process by pouring her heart, language, culture, joy and pain into her music. I witnessed her music creation style and I got to understand why her performances felt spiritually elevated. I’m grateful to have learned from this legend and icon.

I’m excited to release my Blue Note Records debut album. I titled it Modes of Communication: Letters from the Underworld. I’ve already released three singles from the album and I’m glad they continue to be well received. The singles are Indawu, Beneath the Earth and Yehlisan’uMoya. These songs are about understanding our ancestral connection. Indawu pays tribute to the spirits of the Nguni people who live in the water. Beneath the Earth is about the existence of other realms and other worlds that we can connect with if we open ourselves up to learning about them. Yehlisan’uMoya is about lowering your spiritual vibration so you can listen and understand messages that are sent to you. On the album I worked with Msaki, Omagugu and many other South African artists and bands. When you look at the artwork of the album, you will notice that it has pyramids and suggestions of pre-colonial times. I chose these because I want it to evoke past connections just by you looking at it.

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I hope this album brings people closer to their own spiritual understanding. I personally feel that our generation has to be very conscious of the music we listen to and understand why that particular genre or song. I believe music is a universal language with strong connections and this is my way of sharing my interpretations with people through music.