Today, we find ourselves at 33° South 56’ 20.94’’ – 18° East 28’ 10.271’’. In fact, we are sitting at the side of the road at the Tagore’s Club, 42 Trill Road, during a sunny and bland day in Cape Town. At the table is sitting a group of young musicians from Germany and Africa: Sebastian Schuster, Zoe Modiga, and Ndumiso Manana. In this moment, a band project will be born that connect cultures, opens new musical horizons for musicians, and delivers a strong, authentical and diverse jazz album. An album that one would not expect out of the combination of German efficiency and humor, Korean restraint and South African serenity: Seba Kaapstad – Tagore’s.
During the second half of the past century, South Africa was highly shattered because of the apartheid and riots. Until the end of the 1980s, it was almost impossible to experience creativity, art, and culture. Crucial for the rehabilitation of the country and the people was the music. As a universal language, it connected people from various backgrounds. It offered the possibility to communicate on a neutral level, to develop a mutual creative process, to abandon prejudices, and to contribute to an understanding amongst nations. Because of that, Sebastian’s alias Seba Kaapstad project is even more important and intense.
Before his first trip to Cape Town, Seba couldn’t have imagined how much joy he would find out there, how much that country would change his life, and what magic and especially energy would expect him there. The reason for his travel was namely different. One of the biggest musical role models of the musician is the Dutch bassist Heyn van der Geyn, who, among other things, was already on tour with Chet Baker. He lives in the Mother City and Seba wanted to get to know him. After several jam sessions and spending much time with the instrument, the young artist fell in love with the city, the people, and the sense of life. “Cape Town is so charmingly imperfect. I remember a gig with approximately 30 musicians. Without sheets nor plans, we would start playing. There was utter chaos, but I rarely came across such honest music. While playing, there is no quiet, the listener immediately shows emotions when he likes something, or not. Something like this would not exist in Germany”, Seba explains.
Tagore’s musical style is shaped by diverse cultures and styles of the band members. The african influence strongly marked the album. It is an urban mix of Rhythm ‘n’ Blues, Hip-Hop, Soul, and Jazz. Certainly, there is a lot of space left for musical unfolding of every single artist. Especially, Hello, I Fall In Love Too Easily, Flatline, and Autumn, which contain powerful melodies, amazing solis and perfectly matching vocal passages, are definitely earworms. All compositions are penned by the band leader and the singers. Thomas Schmidt recorded the album in the Mastermix Studio in Munich, Christoph Stickel mastered it.
Seba unifies his debut album with the exceptional singer Zoe Modiga from South Africa, which won already several competitions by being only 21 years old. She counts as one of the most promising and most talented artists of the country. Ndumiso Manana from Swaziland, a young and very emotional singer who is about to develop his career in South Africa and beyond borders, joins as well. The piano player is also well known: Gee Hye Lee, native of South Korea, however, in the meantime sedentary in Stuttgart. The Bavarian native but in Cologne living Thomas Wörle supports the band on the drums and the electronics. In addition, the sister of the band leader, Franziska Schuster, is represented as a singer on the album. Certainly, Sebastian Schuster as a bass player and composer plays an important part of the album.
On Seba Kaapstad – Tagore’s, you have musicians playing together who – on the first sight – seem very different, but they share the perception of their music and the different influences. As a result of this, an extraordinary, multifarious and exciting album emerged. It reflects the energy of South Africa and shows that all kinds of borders can be overcome through music. An absolute music tip – even for non-jazzers!