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Thina

by Seba Kaapstad

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about

Cynicism is an easy sell. We’re skeptical of harmony because the news sows division, social media runs on scorn, and tangible reminders of good have become increasingly rare. Yet there are those whispered moments of unity, those artists who effortlessly embody the ideals of fusion –those who allow us to reap the rewards that can only yielded from an embrace of different ideas, cultures, and sounds. This is the genius of Seba Kaapstad.

Seba Kaapstad is a multi-national neo-soul quartet comprised of a South African, a Swazi, and two Germans. They summon the most powerful manifestation of creativity: music that represents an idea. Their Mello Music debut album, Thina, takes its name from the Zulu word for “us.” It is a gorgeous halo of soul, encompassing several continents worth of sound, and obliterating the notion of genre. It is divined by artists whose lineage is riven with trauma and suffering. But like their ancestors, they endured. And only in this futuristic present could they reconcile the perseverance and turmoil of the past, using music to inspire unity and heal.

They conjure beatific grooves that radiate with alluvial soul, celestial jazz, electronic experimentation and the polyrhythmic essence of Africa. It is marrow music, what digs beneath your bones, seeping into your bloodstream and inner visions. You hear flashes of the greats: Badu, Georgia Anne Muldrow, Jill Scott, and the Things Fall Apart-era Roots. You might even hear the ethereal float of Frank Ocean or the glowing bliss of Flying Lotus and Thundercat. But like all stellar quartets, Seba Kaapstad is indivisible and made stronger by the sum of their parts.

If the sonic roots lie in the tessaracts of eternal memory, Seba Kaapstad’s present-day genesis trace to 2013, the year that Sebastian Schuster arrived in Cape Town and immediately fell in the love with its rich cultural tapestry, legendary musical community, and artful chaos. He soon paired with the rest of the band—Zoe Modiga, Philip Scheibel (Pheel), Ndumiso Manana—developing the sort of telepathic chemistry can’t be replicated or really even explained.

You hear this harmonic synthesis all over Thina. Each song is a symphony of its own. Take “Don’t,” which opens with glistening pianos and a head-bobbing slap, then Zoe Modiga unleashes her sky-rattling voice, alternating between near-rapping and time-stopping, levitating multi-octave solos—all the while paraphrasing Shakespeare. And in the last minute, there’s an exquisite string coda that you’d expect to hear at a world-class philharmonic.

There’s "Breathe," which OkayAfrica raved was “a refreshing combination of the crew's different influences…as much of a Friday/Saturday night jam as a Sunday morning one.” It’s a spiritual hymn in search of water and solace, a loose-limbed rhythm that echoes the themes of Fela and the jams of classic Electric Ladyland neo-soul. While the title track alternates between Zulu and English, as Modiga offers inspirational uplift and timeless lyrics about the natural elements.

This is what Seba Kaapstad capture: the notion of the axis mundi, where all points converge, and all tensions dissolve into something that proves that reality can occasionally be suffused with pure beauty. At least for 12 songs at a time.

credits

released May 17, 2019

Mixed by Philip Scheibel and Sebastian Schuster @Pheel Studios Stuttgart
Mastered by: Sascha "Busy“ Bühren @TrueBusyness Berlin

Ndumiso Manana : Group Member, Vocals & Lyrics
Zoe Modiga : Group Member, Vocals & Lyrics:
Sebastian Schuster: Group Member, Keyboards (Piano & Rhodes), Bass (Double Bass, Electric, Bass Synth), Synthies, Composition
Philip Scheibel: Group Member, Programming, Drums, Synthies, Fx

Boris Stankewitz: Guitar ("Don’t", "Dezaster", "Welcome", "Breath", "RFRE“)
Christoph Heckeler: Piano ("Heckman“)
Martin Grünenwald: Live Drums ( "Africa“, "Don’t“, "Breath“)
Daniel Mudrack: Live Drums ("Welcome“)
Thomas Wörle: Live Drums ("RFRE“)
Toni Farris: Bass Synth ("Playground“)
Franziska Schuster: Vocals ("Playground“)
Sophie Schuster : Violine ("Don´t“)
Felix Brade: Violoncello ("Don’t“)

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Track Name: Thina
Mina, Nawe, Thina
Mina nawe sakhiwe ngenhloso
Gaz’lami siphiwe masphathisane
Kujigima amaphupho lude uhambo
Kodwa sizofika (isiqalo, nesiphetho)
Sengizobonga nothando
Abazali, abangani, umndeni, nebusiso
Impilo nempi nazo zonke izimo
Mpefumulo ungcwele
Wasithatha la, sesi le kude
Aware of the perils that will surely come
Is the light and the rays of this deathless sun
We’ve won, we win, we win again
When it rains it pours
Water galore
But lucky enough rainbows are not folklore
And in this journey we do learn to adore and there’s more
Guidance in the quiet places, in the friendly faces
Aslong as we know the greatness is
Mina, Nawe, Thina
Track Name: Africa
I’ve been wondering ‘bout the world we live in now
All we do is fight for truth not yet been found
Who’s wrong or right now,
Bring it to the light somehow
In Africa

Looking ‘round the world now,
Truth is hidden here somehow
In Africa
Hey hey, come on
Hey my mother all alone
Hey my sister go on home
You will never be alone
In Africa

Koko
Ey Ngicel’ukhuphule i-volume lapho
Ey Truth and reconciliation with our minds is a thing now
Is the colour of my skin finally the flight in my wing now
Queens stand up or are you still growing our kids now
Kings stand up or are you sweating in our gardens
Bow down to those uniforms as they try to be uniform to hope on paper
Held back by structure
Funny we were the help that built this architecture
Now we’re scattered like left overs
Mntanakithi siyahlupheka
Ukuphila ukubona, niyavuma? (Siyavuma)

Sizophumelela ngempela it is true now
Although there is complexity and conflicts in view now
Let’s make this land brand new now
Remember what is true now
We are beautiful man, it’s the love for this land
If we were made of bones and sand we gotta understand
That we were made in his image and it’s His plan

Hey hey, come on
Hey my mother all alone
Hey my sister go on home
You will never be alone
In Africa
Track Name: Don't
The world is such a game we play these days
Looking at it all I’m so amazed
Caught up in the fog it’s such a haze
Wanna keep the fire in me ablaze
I don’t know where I’m going
Finding me man I’m hoping
They say the worlds a platform it’s a stage
Let me not be caught up in this cage

Oh don’t lock me in
I’m open to flyin’
Don’t

They say they say the say the say they say
Words comin’ at me everyday
It’s difficult to live at my pace
Find my way within this maze
I don’t know what I’m doing
I’m at that age thought I’m movin’
I’ll get it right I promise
Give me space
I’ll calm this noise and live in peace

Oh don’t lock me in
I’m open to flyin’
Don’t lock me in
Track Name: Dezaster
This is new, the pain of loss is real
No matter who, it still has the first time feel
Life moves on, even though you’re gone, it moves on
Life moves on, without your song
And I think about all the laughs I’ve missed
Think about all the hugs I’ve missed
The precious time I’ve missed
No matter what I’ll miss
I’ll miss you
It’s a disaster but my heart will heal
This is new, hurts like brand new shoes
Sad but true, sometimes we play to loose
Life moves on, even though you’re gone, it moves on
Life moves on, without your song
And I think about all the joys I’ve missed
This very life of mine I’ve missed
The previous time I’ve missed
No matter what I miss, I’ll miss you
It’s a disaster but my heart will heal
So long
Track Name: Welcome
The new beginnings scare us off sometimes
The mysteries are books we hope stay closed
We need the ebb and flow to live through time
World is on our shoulder now
But new beginnings find their way back home
Walls fall down when we release ourselves
Those inhibitions are the devils horns
Worlds our shoulder now
Welcome to this thing called life
Learn to love yourself, Show some pride
But if you’re in pain, don’t be scared to let it show,
Always give repsect, Be kind
Cause that could help someone you never never know
Take your time to think, Try to smile
Some won’t smile back but that happens all the time
Life isn’t easy, It isn’t fair
Live in the moment you’ll find happiness is there
Welcome to this thing called life
Track Name: Breathe
Breathe, slow, in, out.
Think I need some water
(walk slow)
Think I need some water
(I need to take a seconds breather)
Let me take a seat What a bad idea
Walk, step, step, step
Think I need some water
(walk slow)
Think I need some water
(I need to take a seconds breather)
Let me take a seat What a bad idea
Bap bap
Minds a crowded mess I need to take a seconds breather
Track Name: RFRE
Feeling lucky with no cause
(It’s a good morning)
Need to go contemplate by my favorite spot, where my thoughts rest easy
(Let me check my fantasy league)
Read a book about time
(Maybe grab a coffee)
How much difference a second makes
(And chill at the bench)
Where my mind can roam free,
Where my thoughts rest easy
Just chill no thinking,
Just good old blinking
Where my mind can roam free ,
Where my thoughts rest easy
Calm and peace in park
(it’s only 10 thirty)
Watch says 10 thirty oh well, let me feed these ducks
(Let me wash up, put on my sneaks)
(Then make my way over to the park)
Need to deliver these flowers,
(It will be good while it lasts)
Was good while it lasted
Where my mind can roam free,
Where my thoughts rest easy
Just chill no thinking,
Just good old blinking
Where my mind can roam free ,
Where my thoughts rest easy
Roam free rest easy
Where my mind can roam free
Where my thoughts rest easy
Just chill no thinking just...
Track Name: Bye
Yes I see you I’m no fool
But I gotta keep cool
Cause it scares me how beautiful you look
I got some questions I gotta ask but first
I’ll bump my fist against my chest, I’m the best
(I psych myself up, yes)
First question, am I good enough, do I need to change?
Next question, am I tall enough, do I need extra game? Oh
Third question, am I brave enough, can I get your name?
I know I’m strange, but all I wanna say is...
Hello, hey, hi, bye
Who’s that peeking in the distance
Blurry mirage a life wished to live
Be good to see what happens
Better than being stuck in what I think
How’s about a conversation
Beyond the hi’s and how you doing
How’s about the becoming
Bliss bliss in the way were relating
All the the pages still stuck together now
With coffee stains and bent corners
But I swear I’m a good read
From the cover to the blurb
Sonnets and words to feed the mind yes
You’d be filled to the brim yes
Are you willing to dive in dear
But first we gotta say
Hello, hey, hi, bye

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