In association with Concerts SA, jazz trio Kinsmen will present their debut album Window to the Ashram on a national tour from Cape Town to Durban.
On the first weekend of November, Kinsmen will travel to Cape Town performing at Alma Café (Rosebank) and Jazz in the Native Yards (Gugulethu). The following weekend the trio will be in Durban, with scheduled performances at Alliance Française and The Chairman.
Released on June 16 2017, Window to the Ashram is a collection of narratives, poetically woven together with the creative use of space afforded by their trio. The album has been presented at National Arts Festival Fringe (Grahamstown) and continued to sold out performances in Johannesburg and Pretoria at The Orbit, Afrikan Freedom Station, U-The Space and UNISA’s Miriam Makeba Hall.
Kinsmen was founded by Dhruv Sodha (sitar), Shailesh Pillay (tabla) and Muhammad Dawjee (tenor saxophone), all originally from Laudium – an Indian Apartheid Group Area on the Western outskirts of Pretoria. Their work explores the intersection of culture, tradition and modernity through composition and improvised music.
The language of Kinsmen draws on influences including: Indian Classical, Jazz /Avant-garde and South African Jazz. The blend of instrumentation is an innovative leap away from traditional forms of ‘Indian’ music currently promoted and exhibited in South Africa.
“These themes run parallel to our lived experience as (4th generation) South Africans of Indian descent in a country that is intensely undergoing the realisation and unpacking of internalised forms of racism and segregation. Our music expresses a desire for a meaningful creative dialogue with this continent that is mostly inexistent in our community” , says saxophonist and band leader and Muhammad Dawjee .
It is an experimental rebellion through a sonic re-appropriation and reinterpretation of the music of a local predominantly traditionalist Indian culture. Their work inspires possibilities for extensions and re-readings of the role and relevance of cultural identity, its limitations and the meaning of cultural artefacts for people of Indian descent living within the country today.
The debut album of the trio has been praised by the media. Gwen Ansell wrote that “Kinsmen’s album leads the listener on a journey that takes in the lushly romantic, the controlled and meditative (unsung hymn), some remarkably catchy melodic hooks, and intricate rhythms.” While Rebecca Davis said on The Daily Maverick that “their haunting melodies and inventive sounds will stay with you for days.”
Kinsmen’s Window to the Ashram National Tour is supported by Concerts SA through the Music Mobility Fund, a funding mechanism which offers opportunities for South African musicians to undertake live music tours.