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South African Jazz vocalist and pianist, Thandi Ntuli, is not just a sound but a movement of her own. Soulful, warm and authentically African, Thandi’s music calls Africans from around the world, back home, while also teaching people who do not have roots on the continent, about its people. The Cover spoke with Thandi Ntuli who shared the mission of her music and how it connects us.


Accelerate Tv: What are your sources of inspiration?

Thandti Ntuli: I’m inspired by everything that is life. I take in so much from everything that is happening all around me. Sometimes my life experiences. Art and poetry also have a significant place in what I find influential. And so do photography, film and documentaries.


Accelerate Tv: Why do you think you’re so soulful?

Thandti Ntuli: The short answer is because I grew up in a family that loves all types of music. As long as the music is good, we listened to it and could appreciate it. And just as importantly, it’s because I’m African.


Accelerate Tv: Where is jazz’s place in African music?

Thandti Ntuli: Historically, music made by Africans in the diaspora was taken from Africa. And that’s essentially what jazz is…music that belongs to the descendants of Africans. Jazz as a genre and an art form, directs us back to ourselves. It points us back at each other. It’s a love letter to those of us on the continent. You can tell, by the way it easily fuses with other traditional music and sounds. It reminds us how deep we are, and how much of each other that still needs to be explored.


Accelerate Tv: How does your sound enhance jazz as a genre?

Thandti Ntuli: My sound is inspired by the intent to illustrate what it sounds like to be an African today. The west has always liked more traditional sounds but that doesn’t reflect us or where we

are in our hearts or minds. I hope my music gives a wider palate to what is seen as African and South African music. I hope my music shows how diverse, dynamic and complex we are.


Accelerate Tv: Who on the continent do you hope to work with and why?

Thandti Ntuli: I dream of working with Malian singer, Oumou Sangare. I just love her sound and think that we would really connect through our work.


For Thandi Ntuli’s full interview, download the digital version of the July 2021 edition of The Cover. Here.