Audacious in energy, intent and performance, Shane Cooper & MABUTA can put a thousands-strong outdoor festival at the mercy of every note today, and hypnotize an underground crowd in an intimate basement tomorrow. It is no wonder that they are at the forefront of giving colour and character to the sound of contemporary South Africa – receiving support from Gilles Peterson, Worldwide FM, BBC to name a few. Under Cooper’s leadership – who has performed and recorded with Lionel Loueke and Louis Moholo-Moholo – the band’s second visit to Europe sees the launch of their sophomore album due for release on Dox Records in May 2022.
Taking the lead from their debut album Welcome to This World – which features Sons of Kemet’s Shabaka Hutchings – this second offering is rooted in grooves from all around the African continent. Shane Cooper & MABUTA present audiences with a sound portrait of Africa that is both an uncannily personal, and exhilaratingly social, experience. At every performance the colours, energies, and smells of the continent are palpable – in your skin, in the soles of your feet, in your bones. The six-piece outfit moves through Mali, Nigeria, Ethiopia and the many sounds and influences that make up their native South Africa. Music lovers are forgiven for not knowing if it’s a hot and heavy Afrobeat getdown, a cinematic journey, maskandi, a hip hop bounce, or a slow sway – it’s all of it!
What is certain is that a Shane Cooper & MABUTA show is a moment to bask in the group’s mesmerising brilliance – from Sisonke Xonti’s bold-yet-tender tenor saxophone to Bokani Dyer’s disarmingly lyrical movement on keys, while Cooper’s virtuosic bass commands visceral and joyous release.