Shabaka and the Ancestors – We Are Sent Here by History

Saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings has spent the past few years questioning our ideas of what constitutes history and why we shouldn’t just blindly accept the narratives we have been given. From his 2018 release Your Queen Is a Reptile with his band Sons of Kemet, which posited a series of notable women of colour as “alternative queens”, to the psychedelic collapse on his Comet Is Coming albums, Hutchings has been channelling otherworldly jazz futurism to create new musical understandings of our past and collective visions of the future.

On his latest record, We Are Sent Here by History, with his South African-based group The Ancestors, Hutchings’ work on reframing and rewriting experience through the force of his saxophone reaches some of its fullest expression. Written as a continuous “sonic poem” by Hutchings and poet Siyabonga Mthembu, its 11 tracks form an impassioned, if impressionistic, narrative of spoken word poetry and music which demands that we reform our relationship to masculinity, to the earth, and to our treatment of each other.

Read the review in Crack Magazine.

[This piece was published on 13/03/20]