Charismatic guitar savant Sibusile Xaba reframes maskandi and the avant garde into his own humanist manifesto. 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. The song Tribute to Bafo that features on this new record is an homage to Madala "Bafo" Kunene. Maskandi, malombo, the desert blues and jazz all figure in Sibusile Xaba's expansive vocabulary, albeit through a magnetic individual filter. After the acclaimed release of Open Letter to Adoniah in 2017, Sibusile’s second album Ngiwu Shwabada was recorded in one continuous take at Studio Pigalle in Paris, France, in May 2019. It features his long-time musical companion Naftali on additional vocals.
To close the album, London saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings joins Sibusile for a purely improvised 18 minute musical trip recorded that same day. Phefumula is a journey of still minds, with a focus on the importance and simplicity of breathing.