PedXulu SOUTH AFRICA
PedXulu

PedXulu&(for Pedi Xhosa and Zulu) is the Collective that produces the rhythmic carpet to lift the spirit of dance. Throughout the past two decades I was fortunate to work with the finest drummers and percussionists and I felt very privileged in 2001 to unite the first full PedXulu & Friends tribal gatherings for 2 World Premier collaborations during the North Sea Jazz Festival and the Arts Alive Festival Johannesburg 2002. Robert Trunz

PedXulu is a revolving and changing gathering headed by Pedi veteran Pedi master drummer Mabi 'Gabriel' Thobejane joined by his 23-year-old cousin Thabang Philip Tabane (Malombo), four members of the legendary Xhosa percussion and marimba group Amampondo and Zulu Bernard Mndaweni on bass.


PedXulu is the United South African Tribal Gathering - united to showcase the country's most talented drummers and percussionists forming the rhythmic carpet for the many musical art forms ranging from the jive of Township Jazz to organic club rhythms and songs influenced by the many traditional and sacred tribal sounds of ancestral Africa. Guest performances by Vazimba singer Ricky Randimbiarison (Madagascar), trumpet player Byron Wallen (U.K.) and Ivan Mazuze (Mozambique). See video entitled PedXulu Ped stands for Pedi, a tribe from the Northern Provinces of South Africa. Mabi Thobejane Mabi is a veteran of two of South Africa's most profound musical outfits - Malombo and Sakhile. Mabi's debut solo album Madiba is a reflection of the powerful personal expression he has created through a music career that has continually been at the forefront of a harsh and changing society. Since the release of that album, Mabi has been working on many overseas projects to take traditional music to wider audiences and has thus began making rhythms on the trance circuit with UK based group Juno Reactor. Thabang Philip Tabane Son of famous guitarist Dr. Philip Tabane of Malombo, Thabang started playing drums at the age of 8, whilst once watching his teacher "Mabi" rehearsing with his father. Drums became the first instrument he ever used. Thabang not only appears regularly with Malombo but has also started working with his uncle Mabi Gabriel Thobejane on his debut album due for release in spring 2003. X stands for the Xhosa tribe from the Eastern Cape Amampondo means "people of Mpondo", the fabled land of the Xhosa Kingdom on the Eastern Cape, where most of the group's members grew up together, and singing in church choirs in the township of Langa. Amampondo is represented by Simpiwe Matole, Michael Ludonga, Mandla Lande and Dave "Mxholise" Mayekane (ex Barungwa) who appears on their latest Amampondo album Vuyani. Simpiwe, Michael and Mandla followed Mabi in 1998 by joining UK Electronica band Juno Reactor with whom they since extensively toured both the USA and Japan. The traditional Amampondo group is a percussion and marimba based ensemble that has all the dynamism that has come to represent Africa - the traditional dress, the hand-made instruments, the cyclical rhythms, accapella singing and acrobatic dance movements. The ensembles have toured the globe for two decades and have become ambassadors of their Xhosa culture. Awarded the "Best World Music Performer" at the festival in Quebec City, July 2002. Simpiwe Matole A founding member of the Amampondo, Simpiwe Matole is a marimba maestro but plays mainly Fender Rhodes piano and trumpet with PedXulu. He has also profiled himself as a producer. Raised in Langa Township, outside Cape Town, Simpiwe met fellow Amampondo members whilst singing in the church choir. Forming the unique and hypnotic band in 1979, they have recorded, toured and performed together ever since. Michael 'Nkululeku' Ludonga Michael is at the heart of the rhythm machine playing a mean set of African drums & percussion. Born on 15 November 1962, in Langa, Michael was given the name 'Nkululeku', - 'freedom' - because of 'the end of the war'. He comes from a musical background and played a snare drum with the local Drum Majorettes. However his musical career really began in the church choir where he met other members of Amampondo. Mandla Lande A multi talent playing wooden and metal percussion, djembe and congas. Born on 30 May 1962, in Langa, Mandla means 'power' and is the name given to him because of his strength as a child. He went to school in the township of Langa, Cape Town and, upon leaving, played football for the Young Chiefs team. Mandla's love for music extends to playing marimba and he's also responsible for the acrobatic part of the famous Amampondo show. He also tours regularly with trance act Juno Reactor. Dave "Mxholise" Mayakane Cape Town based Dave Mayakane on guitar and vocals first shared the stage with Amampondo and friends during the Outernational Meltdown serious in 1994 where he met with Moses T Molelekwa, Shaluza Max and Andrew Missingham. A gathering that a year later led to the foundation of the first international Acid Jazz collaboration called Barungwa. Dave joined Amampondo for their Canadian tour of 2002 promoting the album Vuyani in which he features on several tracks. Ulu - stands for the proud tribe of the Zulus from the KwaZulu region of Natal Sibusiso (Bernard) Mdaweni On electric bass joins the group proudly representing the Zulu nation. Bernard is best known for his long standing collaboration with Madala Kunene and Busi Mhlongo. Probably the best bass player currently in South Africa he is extremely flexible and through his various work experiences with other artists from the MELT stable he has shown to be at home with any kind of current music. Bernard is happy to play Jazz with the likes of Sipho Gumede or get down to play some real fat garage or house grooves with UK DJ Mario Cee all in his typical and laid back groovy Zulu style. Bernard performed several concerts with Madala in Scandinavia and during the NANTES, France festival in 1997 also played to acclaim in Holland, France, Switzerland and Norway. He recorded with many artists extensively in both South Africa and the UK. PedXulu With Special Guests Byron Wallen (UK) His trumpet and flugel horn have graced the live and recorded performances of International and local artists like Amampondo, Mabi Thobejane, Chaka Khan & Courtney Pine to name but a few. His debut album Sound Advise was produced by Airto Moreira before and after their adventures in South Africa at the 1994 Outernational Meltdown sessions and was followed in 1999 by the legendary and highly acclaimed album Earth Roots. In 2002 Byron returned to South Africa for his first appearance at the Arts Alive Festival with PedXulu. · Ricky Randimbiarison (Madagascar) Ricky Randimbiarison was born on 23 June, 1964 in a small town in the South East of Madagascar, Vangaindrano, which means 'the place where you buy water'. He grew up in an environment dominated by the feelings of thirst and drought and was brought up listening to tall tales and legends pertaining to water and musical incantations for water. As a child, he first started singing traditional Malagasy songs with his grandmother.
As a student in Antananarivo Ricky learned music from his uncle, a jazz guitarist. He studied the secrets and techniques of the traditional songs of his native region and inspired by this music, in 1984 Ricky returned to the traditional roots of Malagasy music. Ricky's vocalization and polyphonic exercises led him to explore drum techniques and traditional music. He studied the hazolahy drum and began to combine his melodious voice with traditional types of percussion such as amponga or adabo. His forward-looking approach to traditionally-rooted music has been so popular as to have engendered the phenomenon identified by the Malagasy press as 'Rickymania', with Ricky emerging as by far the most popular performer in Madagascar. In 1995, the Swiss band, Patent Ochsner, toured Madagascar and met Ricky. Determined to give Ricky and his band the opportunity to record, they flew the six Malagasy musicians to Switzerland, where they recorded 12 songs. When Airto heard the sixty minutes of music, he noted the similarity of some of the sounds to Brazilian music and offered to help with the production of the album. Ricky Randimbiarison and Airto worked on the tapes of his album Olembelona Rocky (BW113) involving South African  drummer Mabi Thobejane, singer and Uhadi player Mantombi of Amampondo. Later in the year Ricky and Byron Wallen appeared as special guests of Amampondo at the UK WOMAD festival. During his 2002 tour of the USA as a guest of the Smithsonian Institute, Ricky performed with great success at the Kennedy Center in New York. His appearance at the Arts Alive Festival Johannesburg 2002 has been celebrated by the South African press as the surprise and highlight of the festival year. Ivan Mazuze (Mozambique) Currently completing degree in jazz performance at the University of Cape Town Ivan has performed with renowned names like Jimmy Dludlu, Allou April and Barney Rachabane. A winner of the awards in Old Mutual competition in the Jazz composition category 2001 Ivan is also a member of Latin afro jazz band Tucan Tucan with whom he recorded a debut album. Live performance at North Sea Jazz festival in Cape Town with Tucan Tucan 2002, with Jimmy Dludlu in Al Jarreau's concert in Cape Town 2001 and now with PedXulu have brought his unique talent to a wider audience - Ivan is currently regarded as the best kept secret of the Jazz scene in South Africa.