Charismatic guitar savant Sibusile Xaba reframes maskandi and the avant garde into his own humanist manifesto. 
KwaZulu-Natal-born guitarist and vocalist Sibusile Xaba has all the makings of an acoustic guitar master. With a vocal style that is part dreamscaping and part ancestral invocation, Xaba divines as opposed to plainly singing. Combined with a guitar style that is rooted in expressive picking, Xaba’s music shatters the confines of genre, taking only the fundamentals from mentors such as Madala Kunene and Dr Philip Tabane and imbuing these with a mythology and improvisational intensity all of his own.

His debut double album – ‘Unlearning’ & ‘Open Letter to Adoniah’ – was released internationally on 4 August 2017 to critical acclaim (see links to reviews below).


2017 saw Sibusile touring through various countries in Africa and Europe, where he performed at a number of prestigious music festivals (e.g. Shambala and Jazz ala Villette), music venues (e.g. Ronnie Scotts) and radio stations (e.g. Worldwide FM & Radio France).

Sibusile will be touring extensively during the course of 2018 promoting his debut release.

Part acoustic guitar visionary, part urban mythologist, Sibusile Xaba’s improvisational style hints at maskandi, while also shrinking the middle passage to connect jazz to its precolonial antecedents.


Notable Quotes

An astonishing debut from a unique talentGuardian ★★★★

This music is extraordinaryGilles Peterson (BBC Radio)

““He meshes his acoustic guitar and intense free-style scats to produce a subversive sonic world that defiantly transcends genre.” Paul Bradshaw (Straight No Chaser #98)

“Xaba’s intricately fingerpicked patterns produce emotional warmth and rich texture, and he brings an abundance of heart and complete spirit commitment as he sings, laughs, declaims and weeps over the tracks” The Wire

Unworldly and haunting…a great tradition stirsThe Observer ★★★★

“This blew me away, punched me in the gut the minute I heard this cut”. Anthony Valadez (KCRW Radio)

“Super deep sounds on this wonderfully addictive album… Don’t miss out… Don’t be late Don’t wait music you need.”Jon More (Coldcut / Co-founder of Ninja Tune)

More Press / Online

 “The guitar genius” City Press

Everything attracts to sound. All I’m doing is channeling. I’m just a vessel Sunday Times

8 out of 10 from Rhythm Passport & Les Oreilles Curieuses

“A dynamic duo blending jazz, Maskandi and Malombo music” Worldwide FM (Live on-air performance)

DANDANO, speaking on Sibusile Xaba and his debut double album release

“A homage to working men and women from the contemporary South African jazz maestro” NOWNESS (Premiere of the Official Music Video for ‘Open Letter to Adoniah’)

Le jeune Sud-Africain virtuose” LIBERATION

Daily French Newspaper, LE MONDE’s weekly selection

“Echos d’Afrique du Sud” Marianne

Nouvelle sensation venue de la province du KwaZulu-Natal” TELERAMA

“Xaba conjures a softly-stated and other-worldly sound” Musica Macondo  (Premiere of ‘Swaziland’)

“Occasionally an album will come along that gets so deeply under the skin that it demands to be obsessed over and gushed over in equal measure” Nothern Sky Magazine

“Two hugely impressive albums”
Twisted Soul  (Album of the week)

“Pretorian music wonder Sibusile Xaba gently gathers a storm of finger-picked guitar and off-kilter jazz percussion rhythms” Dan Digs

Live radio performances on FIP Radio and Radio Nova

Sibusile’s music was included in the ‘best of 2017’ year-end lists for numerous influential international publications and platforms, such as –
Gilles Peterson’s best tracks of 2017 on BBC 6 Radio;
The Guardian;
The Bandcamp Playlist;
Liberation; and
Rhythm Passport.


Music Videos


Official Music Video for “Open Letter to Adoniah”, as premiered by NOWNESS –
Sibusile Xaba performing “Sibongile: A Tribute to the Mother (Reprise)” at the album recording sessions in the Magaliesberg mountains –


Follow Sibusile Xaba Online


Website –

Facebook –

Twitter –

Soundcloud –

Bandcamp –

ItsPersonal w SIBUSILEXABA Poster

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