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Get Familiar With Sun Xa Experiment’s ‘Spiritual Ancestral’ Sound

The South African band's new single 'Bayede' from their upcoming album Umculo Umuthi is a good place to start.

Sun Xa Experiment is a South African group from Soweto. The septet is made up of Buyisiwe Njoko (lead vocals), Tebogo Mkhize (acoustic guitar), Lerato Seitei (electric guitar), Benedict Watte (percussion), Musa Zwane (bass), Siphiwe Mgidi (drums). They describe themselves as a band that "caters a spiritual ancestral sound that tells of stories of who we are as the global community without race, color or nation."

The crew says their music is part of a spiritual journey into self-discovery which connects their listeners to their ancestors, reminding them of who they are and where they are from as human beings.


In an interview with on SABC's Afternoon Express show in 2019, right before performing their latest single "Bayede," Buyisiwe broke down the meaning of the band's name:

"Sun Xa simply means 'the sun is out,' so we thought it's such a long name saying 'The Sun is Out Experiment,' so why not use the "xa"? You know, we must always remember that we are people of the south and South Africa is our home. We must always remember where we come from, hence we always tap back and say our music is ancestral."

"Bayede" runs for close to nine minutes and showcases most of what the band sell themselves as—spiritual vocals punctuated by ululations live in a psychedelic atmosphere of electric guitars and heavy percussion. The band's lyrics are in IsiZulu, SeSotho and English.

The term "bayede" is normally used to address a king or queen in some South African languages. "The single is the fourth song on the album, and it is an acknowledgement of who we are as kings and queens in a form of a greeting," say the band in a press release. "We say 'bayede' to each and every individual to acknowledge their power and ability. And also, to see each individual as a royal highness in their own right and or sense. Life would be a lot simpler and easier if we were able to see and praise one's greatness, no matter where they come from."

Sun Xa Experiment recently headlined the festivals Endless Daze and Smoking Dragon.

"As Sun-Xa Experiment we paint our bodies with paint every time we go on stage," says the band in an email to OkayAfrica. "It symbolizes a mark of a ritual that's about to take place on stage, the painting symbolizes our past lifetimes (ancestors) and the journey that has been walked before us. The painting patterns are different in all performances based on the energy on that day."

If you love music that evokes feeling and emotion in parts of you that you might have forgotten as the continent continues to get westernized, you will definitely love the music of Sun Xa Experiment.

Sun Xa Experiment has evolved, and in the last few years, they stumbled upon their current sound. "Initially we sounded like an avant-garde jazz band," Buyisiwe told the Mail & Guardian in an interview last year. "But then we lost a keyboardist and a saxophonist, which is when I ended up playing the vuvuzela."

The band will release an album in March. The project will be a follow-up to their 2017 two-track EP Ingoma. The album will be called Umculo Umuthi, which means "music is medicine."

Listen to "Bayede," the six-track album's first single, below:

Follow Sun Xa Experiment on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

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Watch the First Episode of Flame’s Documentary Series ‘Welcome To My Life’

Flame takes fans behind the scenes in his new documentary series.

From interviews to smoking sessions, performances, studio sessions and a visit to the hair salon, Flame gives fans a glimpse into his life and adventures.

The South African hip-hop artist and producer shared the first episode of an ongoing documentary series titled Welcome To My Life. The first episode, which he shared today, shows Flame and his affiliates—the likes of Ecco, Mellow and others—going about their business.

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uSanele Releases a New Project ‘uMvelase’ Featuring ASAP Shembe, Windows 2000, Manelisi and Others

Listen to uSanele's new project 'uMvelase.'

South African hip-hop artist uSanele's recently released project is titled uMvelase. "This project," says the artist, "is in honor of my father and family, abakwa Mthembu; all my siblings, extended family and my roots in the heart of KZN, kwaNongoma. It is a calling—if you will—a completion of my journey and all things coming full circle."

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Photo courtesy of CSA Global.

In Conversation with Congolese NBA Player Emmanuel Mudiay: 'I want more African players in the NBA.'

The Utah Jazz player talks about being African in the NBA, supporting basketball in the DRC and how 'everybody knows about Burna Boy'.

Inspired by his basketball-playing older brothers, by second grade, Emmanuel Mudiay already knew that he wanted to play in the American National Basketball Association. Then in 2001 his family, fleeing the war in Democratic Republic of Congo, sought asylum in the United States.

In America, Mudiay saw basketball as a way for him to improve his situation. After impressive high school and college careers, he moved to China to play pro ball. Picked 7th overall in the 2015 NBA draft, the now 23-year-old guard has made a name for himself this season coming off the bench for the Utah Jazz.

Mudiay attests to the sport having changed not only his life but that of his siblings. Basketball gave them all a chance at a good education and the opportunity to dream without conditions. Now he wants to see other talented African players make it too.

We caught up with him to talk about his experience as an African player in the NBA, his hopes for basketball on the African continent and who he and his teammates jam out to in their locker rooms.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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University lecturer and activist Doctor Stella Nyanzi (L) reacts in court as she attends a trial to face charges for cyber-harassment and offensives communication, in Kampala, on April 10, 2017. (Photo by GAEL GRILHOT/AFP via Getty Images)

Jailed Ugandan Activist, Stella Nyanzi, Wins PEN Prize for Freedom of Expression

The outspoken activist, who is currently serving a prison sentence for a poem she wrote about the president's mother's vagina, won for her resistance "in front of a regime that is trying to suppress her."

Stella Nyanzi, the Ugandan academic, activist, and vocal critic of President Yoweri Museveni has been awarded the 2020 Oxfam Novib/PEN International award for freedom of expression, given to writers who "continue to work for freedom of expression in the face of persecution."

Nyanzi is currently serving a 15 month sentence for "cyber harassment" after she published a poem in which she wrote that she wished "the acidic pus flooding Esiteri's (the president's mother) vaginal canal had burn up your unborn fetus. Burn you up as badly as you have corroded all morality and professionalism out of our public institutions in Uganda."

According to the director of PEN International, Carles Torner, her unfiltered outspokenness around the issues facing her country is what earned her the award. "For her, writing is a permanent form of resistance in front of a regime that is trying to suppress her," said Torner at the award ceremony.

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