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21 FEBRUARY 2020 (TORONTO, ON) -- Ahead of their album release on March 13, Shabaka & The Ancestors release their second single “The Coming of the Strange Ones” with an accompanying hypnotic visualizer.


Listen to "The Coming of the Strange Ones" HERE.

Watch the visualizer HERE.

Watch "Go My Heart, Go To Heaven" HERE.


“The Coming of the Strange Ones” is one of the few instrumental tracks on the record, with a pacing groove reminiscent of Shabaka Hutchings’ soca-driven outfit Sons Of Kemet.  Shabaka & the Ancestors stretches out the space for Mthunzi Mvubu to wail on the alto sax, weaving in harmony and rhythm with Shabaka’s tenor sax.


Shabaka wrote poems for each song on this record, and for this single he writes:


"The Coming of the strange ones

They who had seen war and the darkness

They who visioned the future

Speaking in tongues

Dancing in praise"


“Shabaka And the Ancestors [...] is Hutchings’ most overt attempt to express the spiritual concerns of improvisational music of the African Diaspora — specifically, SA’s rich traditional of gospel melody, community outspokenness, and jazz power — in the context of today’s world.”



We Are Sent Here By History is a record mixing African and Afro-Caribbean traditions. Recorded in Cape Town and Johannesburg, South Africa over two years, the LP explores the function of the griot in West African culture. The griot holds the town’s stories and is the living archive of local history. Meanwhile, in Afro-Caribbean culture, the calypsonian is a different sort of griot: They weave socially conscious lyrics within upbeat party songs, reaching more people due to the music’s festive nature.


In turn, We Are Sent Here By History is a jazz-centered trip equally suited for open-air festivals and nightclubs. “This album is an attempt to further this griot tradition within a transatlantic modern-day context,” Shabaka writes in the band’s manifesto.


South African performing artist/vocalist Siyabonga wrote the album’s lyrics based on how the instrumentals made him feel; Shabaka formed a narrative and wrote poems based on lines from his lyrics. The poems are meant to be a gateway for listeners to develop their own narrative, or to think deeper about the themes presented to them by the album.


The lyrics and poems are accessible HERE.


“Ideally, everyone has a different experience according to how they respond to the poetry,” Shabaka says. “In times like these, where we’re seeing the collapse of a lot of institutions that we thought would continue for a very long time, we need to start rethinking what it means to be alive, what it means to support, what the idea of progress means.”



Shabaka Hutchings - Tenor Sax and clarinet

Mthunzi Mvubu - Alto Sax

Siyabonga Mthembu - Vocals

Ariel Zamonsky – Double bass

Gontse Makhene - Percussion

Tumi Mogorosi – Drums

Nduduzo Makhathini (Fender Rhodes), Thandi Ntuli (piano),Mandla Mlangeni (trumpet) on select tracks




  1. They Who Must Die
  2. You’ve Been Called
  3. Go My Heart, Go To Heaven
  4. Behold, The Deceiver
  5. Run, The Darkness Will Pass
  6. The Coming Of The Strange Ones
  7. Beasts Too Spoke of Suffering
  8. We Will Work (On Redefining Manhood)
  9. ‘Til The Freedom Comes Home
  10. Finally, The Man Cried
  11. Teach me How To Be Vulnerable


Full tour itinerary available online HERE.