Folk Radio UK
F R E E H A N D
freehand; bountiful, giving, openhanded, bighearted, liberal, handsome
freehanded; a sketch done by eye without the use of anything to guide the hand
A B O U T
"immaculate...a rousing display of fine musicianship"
Celebrating the space where different cultures meet
Astonishingly unique. Unorthodox. Progressive. Original. Acoustic. Contemporary. World. Folk.
Kabantu is a collective from Manchester, each born in a different country, who unravel new marriages of music in a globalised 21st century.
Kabantu means "of the people" - stemming from the South African philosophy of Ubuntu: "I am who I am because of who we all are".
Kabantu is a band of virtuosi wielding an expansive sonic arsenal; originally classically trained, they draw on an intricate palette of colours curated from their own wide listening to collaboratively write original music influenced by folk music from around the globe. The sheer musicianship of each member, an exhilarating collective unexpectedness and an infectious joy on stage is mind blowing, cultivated by a shared immediacy of expression forged by total trust.
They released their eponymous debut album "Of the People" in 2018 winning critical acclaim from the Guardian, Songlines Magazine and FRoots and release their second, entirely original album "Freehand" in 2022 with support from the PRS Foundation and Help Musicians UK.
Kabantu have created large-scale works for BBC Singers, Sinfonia Cymru and the Manchester Camerata, won the £10,000 Royal Over-Seas League Competition, performed in the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall, headlined the English Folk Expo and played most of the UK’s major classical arts festivals (BBC Free Thinking Festival, Deal, Lichfield, Swaledale, Kings Place) and folk festivals (Cambridge, Shrewsbury, Orkney, Shetland, Warwick) and toured internationally to the Luxembourg Philharmonie and Lucerne Festival.
They have also given TedX talks, made interactive theatre shows for Lancaster Arts, featured on CBeebies, collaborated with Black Ballet, run creativity in music courses for the National Youth Orchestra and Aldeburgh Young Musicians and worked for Live Music Now (playing in pupil referral units, oncology wards and special needs schools).
Violin, whistling, vocals Katie Foster
Guitar, vocals Ben Sayah
Double bass, didgeridoo, banjo, vocals Ali McMath
Percussion, vocals Delia Stevens
R E L E A S E S
Of The People (2018)
Georgia Mann, BBC Proms
“first-rate musicians..really exhilarating...a very worthwhile and different approach”
"the playing was exceptional from each member"
"an ambitious global range..all sing as well as they play, switching from scat to powerful harmony"
Robin Denselow, World and Folk Critic, The Guardian
"audacious, in-yer-face eclecticism.. a global experimentalism that is both breathtaking and very refreshing"
"cosmopolitan aural cocktail…further catalysed by magpie-minded invention"
Folk Radio UK
Rioghnach Connolly - Irish singer and flute
Will Pound - harmonica, melodeon
Sura Susso - kora, vocals
Jason Rebello - piano
Hannah James - accordion and clog dance