Thandi Ntuli, the multi-part, genre-busting, mad-exciting yoda of da fonq — because we off that genre-labelling biz — is releasing her sophomore album sooner than you can blink. At fifteen cuts deep, Exiled offers we the listeners enough room to fumigate remnants from past impure thoughts before indulging its extensive employ of Thandi’s compositional genius, at once daring and melodic, while again helping assert her as a voice and a presence worthy of our attention. This is an important cultural moment, one of those were-you-there-when-it-happened questions your grandkids and their offspring shall ask in years to come.
Exiled features Thandi’s regular collaborators — the rhythm section of Sphelelo Mazibuko’s drums, Benjamin Jephta’s bass and Keenan Ahrends’ guitars, paired with a horn section featuring the likes of Mthunzi Mvubu, Sisonke Xonti and Linda Sikhakhane — alongside extended family members, the likes of Vuyo Sotashe (“It’s Complicated, Pt. 1”) and Tlale Makhene, whose percussive workmaship on “Abyssinia” lets you know that the Land of Selassie’s just a URL away. Another regular collaborator, Spha Mdlalose — she’s got a slammin’ Sunday mid-morning Jazz Sessions show on Transafrica Radio — features on backing vocals, while Lebo Mashile’s poem on “The Void” is designed with the aim of extracting a WHOA! out of you, forcing you to cancel your plans and just listen. It’s marvellous, really.
Thandi’s coming into her own and taking her rightful stand as a producer. Her work in the past year alone has included contributions on albums from the likes of Sir LSG and Jazuelle, artists more celebrated in the House music community than they are in that shifting, sliding feeling we sometimes want to stifle and label jazz. With this chop she’s knocking it right out the park; barking at all doubters; going up in style.
- Exiled is available to stream on bandcamp