D'DAT Kindred Spirits: A Navajo-South African Story
Kindred Spirits “A Navajo – South African Story” is an ambitious and unique Indigenous cross-cultural collaboration between two continents, North America and sub-Saharan Africa. The project was given its platform at the WOMAD (World of Music, Arts and Dance) Festival in South Africa in 2022, when D’DAT travelled to Johannesburg to perform and
Kindred Spirits “A Navajo – South African Story” is an ambitious and unique Indigenous cross-cultural collaboration between two continents, North America and sub-Saharan Africa. The project was given its platform at the WOMAD (World of Music, Arts and Dance) Festival in South Africa in 2022, when D’DAT travelled to Johannesburg to perform and participate in a cultural exchange with South African artists; the conceptualization and sharing of ideas began several months before in a series of interactive zooms between D’DAT and the South African producers Dan Chiorboli and John Lindemann.
Kindred Spirits is anchored by the Diné-led jazz/funk/hip hop trio, D’DAT, of Farmington, New Mexico, comprised of Delbert Anderson (Trumpet), Nicholas Lucero (Drums) and Mike McCluhan (Bass). South African and Southwestern US Indigenous guest artists are prominently featured throughout and include singers and spoken-word artists from many of South Africa’s tribes and languages (isiZulu, Xhosa, isiPedi, Lesotho, isiNdebele, and Setswana). Guest artists include Alex Rose Holiday (Diné), Nelisiwe Mtsweni, Khaya Mnguzulo, Wandile Mbambeni, Spha Mdlalose, Modise Sekgothe and Flex of He & I.
Diné Special Guests Alex Rose Holiday (Diné/Slovakian) grew up on the Navajo Nation, near Shiprock, NM and is of the Tóáheedlíinii (Water Flows Together) clan. She composes songs in her Diné language to inspire all generations of Native people to learn their culture & language. Her ultimate goal is to spark interest in all people to learn about their culture as well as others, to plant the seed & let their curiosity lead them back to their roots. South African Special Guests Nelisiwe (The Songbird) Mtsweni hails from Duduza township in Gauteng and was discovered at an open mic session at Sawubona Music Jam in Soweto. The young singer-songwriter, rapper, poet, actress and motivational speaker sings predominantly in Zulu and isiPedi. Khayalethu Mnguzulo was raised in Orlando East, Soweto and discovered his love for poetry through watching YouTube videos. In 2018 he was challenged to write poems and went on to win an award from the African Print Authors & Poetry Awards for ‘Best Male Poet’ and a ‘Poet of the Year’ Award from Word ‘n Sound 2019.
Wandile Mbambeni hails from the Eastern Cape province of South Africa and is a soulful singer-songwriter/producer, guitarist & film photographer. An activist in his own right Wandile paints the struggle of being a black artist in his music.
Modise Sekgothe is a multi-award winning spoken-word artist, actor, playwright, vocalist and percussionist from Johannesburg. Much of his work reflects on the human condition from an ancestral, spiritual and existential point of view, using personal narratives from his own life and those around him.