Doctor Philip Tabane (1934 – 2018)

We give thanks and praise to enigmatic, innovative seer and composer-band leader Doctor Philip Tabane, who passed on,  May 18, 2018.

The Dr was a giant. Immense in his power of inheritance, the fierceness of his autonomy, compassion and will to broaden the livable space. Nobody else had such a gift to encompass so many crossroads, to be so free and singular. Nobody else was as gracious, marvelously exploratory and influential, with branches and roots still expanding.

Since the early 60s he forged a musical path that defied boundaries, channeling the voices of his ancestors, the Malombo spirits of Venda, through rich polyrhythmic African beats and alchemic free jazz improvisation.

Tabane toured internationally, playing with jazz greats like Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock and Charles Mingus, but his home was in South Africa with Malombo. Here, working with an ever-shifting cast of musicians, his Malombo Jazz Makers, the master let loose with intricate improvisation and free-form soloing that trace the linage of gospel, blues and funk back to its African roots.

Malombo is not just music. It’s an individualised spirit force that uses song and dance as a vehicle of expression. It’s Tabane eschewing traditional cord structures as he fashions harmonious sound around the innuendo of his voice. It’s the Doctor, dressed in snakeskin trousers, injecting his Gibson hollow-body with an insatiable sense of discovery, coaxing free form sounds by hitting the strings or sparking otherworldly melodies from feather light plucks. It’s energy music, a potent life force that reignites black consciousness and speaks to the soul while insisting you get up and dance. Malombo music is at once ritual and meditation, celebration and lamment, prayer and vision.

 

As Sello Edwin Galane wrote: “Malombo is essentially a Venda word that means spiritual healing deity. Used as a singular noun in Tshivenda, it is called leombo. In Sepedi, it is called ‘lepopo’. Without going much into the anthropological and etymological extrapolation of the concept, it suffices… to point out that malombo is a known concept and phenomenon common to African healing practice in South Africa.”

Listen to Dr Philip Tabane live at the Pan African Space Station, St Georges Cathedral, Cape Town (2010)

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PASS at La Colonie in Paris Daily Runnings, Sun 17 December

Chimurenga returns to Paris for a 5-day intervention and installation at La Colonie. From December 13 – 17, 2017, we will install a live radio station and a research library, and host talks, screenings and performances that asks ‘Who Killed Kabila?’, as the starting point for an in-depth investigation into power, territory and the creative imagination. 19.00  Murder in Kinshasa Screening: Arnaud Zaitjman‘s Murder in Kinshasa (2011) is the first film dedicated to the assassination of Kabila. Followed by conversation with the director. 22.00 …  ( continue reading

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PASS at La Colonie in Paris Daily Runnings, Sat 16 December

Chimurenga returns to Paris for a 5-day intervention and installation at La Colonie. From December 13 – 17, 2017, we will install a live radio station and a research library, and host talks, screenings and performances that asks ‘Who Killed Kabila?’, as the starting point for an in-depth investigation into power, territory and the creative imagination. 15.00 Artists Franck Leibovici & Julien Seroussi present an audio performance of the material from their Bogoro project – which is a study of the legal process of …  ( continue reading

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PASS at La Colonie in Paris Daily Runnings, Friday 15 December

Chimurenga returns to Paris for a 5-day intervention and installation at La Colonie. From December 13 – 17, 2017, we will install a live radio station and a research library, and host talks, screenings and performances that asks ‘Who Killed Kabila?’, as the starting point for an in-depth investigation into power, territory and the creative imagination. 15.00 Writers Abdourahman Waberi & Antoine Vumilia Muhindo in conversation. During his 10-year stay in Kinshasa’s central prison (accused to have participated in the murder of Kabila), Vumilia …  ( continue reading

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PASS at La Colonie in Paris Daily Runnings

Chimurenga returns to Paris for a 5-day intervention and installation at La Colonie. From December 13 – 17, 2017, we will install a live radio station and a research library, and host talks, screenings and performances that asks ‘Who Killed Kabila?’, as the starting point for an in-depth investigation into power, territory and the creative imagination. Thursday 14 December  16.00 – Journalist Percy Nzomuya examines the involvement of Zimbabwe in the DRC wars, and its impact in the subsequent political crisis in Zimbabwe. 17.00 – Drawing …  ( continue reading

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Who Killed Kabila

The Pan African Space Station/Chimurenga Library at La Colonie, Paris 13 December – 17 December 2018 Chimurenga returns to Paris for a 5-day intervention and installation at La Colonie. From December 13 – 17, 2017, we will install a live radio station and a research library, and host talks, screenings and performances that asks ‘Who Killed Kabila?’, as the starting point for an in-depth investigation into power, territory and the creative imagination. The equation is simple: the length of a …  ( continue reading

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Call It A Difficult Night Book Launch

Call it a difficult night is a story about madness. Using anecdotes, poems, dialogue, and fragments of historical research, it follows a nonlinear path in tracing the life of its young narrator/protagonist. Institutionalised after a ‘final break’, a young woman remembers in sharp detail her disturbing childhood visions, which have become overwhelming by the time she is at high school and university. When she finally gets a diagnosis a doctor explains that she is likely to be either demented or …  ( continue reading

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Circum-Atlantic Conference: The Future of the African Diaspora

“Afrofuturism, arguably the most famous concept of speculative futures of the African diaspora, originated primarily in the USA, and is associated with artists such as Sun Ra, George Clinton and Octavia Butler. Envisaging a future and presenting this impulse was considered a symbol of liberation. How do contemporary artists and intellectuals of the African diaspora in North and South America, as well as Europe, envision their future today?” Listen to this talk on PASS. 30/10/2015. 19hoo-21h00 The circum-atlantic conference will …  ( continue reading

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African Futures: Africa’s Speculative Futures and New Imaginaries

            “What kind of speculative futures do artists from different disciplines imagine? Much thought-provoking work has been produced when artists engage with ideas of the future and how contemporary realities in Africa potentially provide answers to questions yet to come.” On the 29 of October, 2015, PASS will be streaming the panel discussion “Africa’s Speculative Futures and New Imaginaries” that features Jean-Pierre Bekolo (Cameroun) as the keynote speaker, and Sherif Adel (Egypt), Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum …  ( continue reading

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The last week at Tagore’s

Dear friends – as some of you have heard by now, 42 Trill Rd, the building that currently houses Tagore’s and PASS is on de market. While de market does its thing, we’ll pause on September 30 – nuff said pon dis. We invited friends, musicians to help us through this last week. The lineup: Monday 23 September (Coltrane Day) – Mandisi Dyantyis tribute to JC – supported by Bugz Tues 24 September – Texito Langa – Boeta G in …  ( continue reading

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