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Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa | Established. Jan 01, 2002 | SELF

Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa | SELF
Established on Jan, 2002
Band World Jazz


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African Rhythms (2002)
Live in China (2006)
Africa got Soul (2009)
Decade (2012)




ABAVUKI are a powerful African Jazz outfit from Langa, Cape Town and have been playing their infectious afro-beat marimba grooves since 2001. The eight members in the group, all multi-instrumentalists, are influenced by kwaito, samba, jazz and traditional rhythms, which they translate within a modern format, using marimbas, percussion and brass instruments.

The Xhosa name “abavuki” means ‘Wake up, early birds!’ and this attitude is palpable in Abavuki’s high-energy, uplifting music that not only reflects their youth, but their optimistic outlook on life and their approach to music-making. 

Their vibrant reinterpretation of marimba music, with overlaid brass instruments, is a funky addition to the genre, and resounds because it is testimony to the resilience of South Africans and the redemption the country has found in music in its path to reconciliation.

Born and raised in Langa, Cape Town, they are using their love of music and performance to rise above their circumstances and to help others do the same.

Career Achievement Highlights

  • Performed at the Rainforest World Music Festival, Sarawak, Malaysia 2017

  • Performed at the Voorkamerfest, Darling 2015

  • Completed two-month tour of Europe (June-Aug 2015), where they performed at the following festivals :

    • Ethno Port, Poznan, Poland

    • Respect Festival, Prague, Czech Rep

    • Oerol, Terschelling, the Netherlands

    • Houtfestival, Haarlem, the Netherlands

    • Fusion-Festival, Larz, Germany

    • Afrikafestival, Hertme, the Netherlands

    • Zomer van Antwerpen, Belgium

    • Colours of Ostrava, Czech Rep

    • Okarina Etno Festival, Bled, Slovenia

    • Festival der Kulturen, Augsburg, Germany

    • Folk Holidays, Náměšť nad Oslavou, Czech Rep

    • Bardentreffen, Nürnberg, Germany

  • Selected to perform at Womex2014 and Visa For Music 2014

  • Performed at Rocking the Daisies 2013

  • Part of the “Africa Connect” festival 2013

  • Performed at the World Music festival in Cape Town  2012

  • Resident band for 2 months on the Viking Line ferry between Sweden and Finland - 2010

  • Featured in BBC4 documentary with Midge Ure (ex Ultravox) – 2009

Members & Instrumentation

Abavuki use 3 marimbas (bass, tenor & soprano), a set of congas, a set of bongos, bass drum, djembe, talking drum, trumpet, trombone, mbira and various percussion instruments. The members are:

Siyabulela Jiyana (Sabu): Marimbas, Congas, Djembe, Talking Drum, Mbira, Vocals

Bongani Ngesi: Marimbas, Congas, Djembe, Vocals

Mkokeli Masala (Kim) : Marimbas, Congas, Bongos, Djembe, Vocals

Thulani Mtyi: Trombone, Bass Drum, Percussion, Vocals

Philip Matsila (Gaz): Trombone, Marimbas, Vocals

Andile Makubalo (Ndima): Trumpet, Bass Marimba, Bass Drum, Percussion, Vocals

Thando Sishuba: Trumpet, Bass Drum, Vocals

Vuyani Sakabula (Miyo): Bass Drum, Congas, Djembe, Percussion, Vocals




Band Members