Country : South Africa / United States Label : Impulse! Genres and styles : Jazz Year : 2020

We Are Sent Here By History

· by Rupert Bottenberg

The thing about something that can’t continue is that eventually, it doesn’t. Arriving at precisely the right moment, as all manner of crises upend the fraught and fragile order of things, comes the latest from ubiquitous saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings’ South African tangent, a sextet supplemented by occasional guests. No, Hutchings and company aren’t here to tell you it’s all gonna be okay. But neither are they here to howl in despair.

The album’s essence is anchored in the words of vocalist and lyricist Siyabonga Mthembu – singer, orator, part griot and part prophet. He doesn’t bother with a checklist of social and environmental concerns, which should be self-evident to all but the mouth-breathers at this point, but rather heralds the end of the world as we know it – and articulates a few notions about what might come after that, and how best to get there. Of particular importance is the addressing of obsolete patriarchal notions at the album’s end, starting with “We Will Work (On Redefining Manhood)”.

We Are Sent Here By History marks the Ancestors’ graduation from Gilles Peterson’s Brownswood imprint to the venerable Impulse! label, which once upon a time raised the profiles of John and Alice Coltrane, Sun Ra, and Pharaoh Sanders. It’s thus an excellent home for some if not all of Hutchings’ efforts, notably Sons of Kemet and of course his Ancestors material, arguably the most noteworthy amid the current revival of the spiritual jazz movement. 

The Comet is Coming, Hutchings’ London-based electro-jazz-punk freakout, has apocalyptic preoccupations of its own, but they’re irreverent, the End Times as an excuse to cut loose. The music and ideas on We Are Sent Here… are not that at all. It’s raw but nimble, tough but vulnerable, vigorously animated but thankfully uncluttered. It’s also firmly Afrocentric, dignified even at its most out-there, and resolute in its convictions. 

Latest 360 Content

Festival de Lanaudière 2024 | Yoav Levanon, prodigy in recital or with orchestra

Festival de Lanaudière 2024 | Yoav Levanon, prodigy in recital or with orchestra

Nuits d’Afrique 2024 | A Chat With Ibibio Sound Machine  Frontwoman Eno Williams

Nuits d’Afrique 2024 | A Chat With Ibibio Sound Machine Frontwoman Eno Williams

Colin Fisher – Suns of the Heart

Colin Fisher – Suns of the Heart

PAN M 360 at Nuits d’Afrique – Afrovibes Opens the Ball

PAN M 360 at Nuits d’Afrique – Afrovibes Opens the Ball

EP Quintet – Le convoi des oies

EP Quintet – Le convoi des oies

PAN M 360 at Nuits d’Afrique – Pahua : A Latina Tornado

PAN M 360 at Nuits d’Afrique – Pahua : A Latina Tornado

Valérie Ekoumè on tour in Canada : mutual love and jubilant rhythms

Valérie Ekoumè on tour in Canada : mutual love and jubilant rhythms

PAN M 360 at Nuits d’Afrique 2024: Rumba de Bodas, Italian coffee roasting

PAN M 360 at Nuits d’Afrique 2024: Rumba de Bodas, Italian coffee roasting

Christine Jensen Jazz Orchestra – Harbour

Christine Jensen Jazz Orchestra – Harbour

PAN M 360 at Nuits d’Afrique 202 | All United by The Kora

PAN M 360 at Nuits d’Afrique 202 | All United by The Kora

PAN M 360 at Nuits d’Afrique 2024 | Pahua, New Under the Mexican Sun

PAN M 360 at Nuits d’Afrique 2024 | Pahua, New Under the Mexican Sun

Festival de Lanaudière 2024 | Quatuor Diotima in Quebec: musical dialogues from past and present

Festival de Lanaudière 2024 | Quatuor Diotima in Quebec: musical dialogues from past and present

PAN M 360 at Nuits d’Afrique 2024 | Queen Omega, From the Top of Her Throne

PAN M 360 at Nuits d’Afrique 2024 | Queen Omega, From the Top of Her Throne

PAN M 360 at Nuits d’Afrique 2024 | Pahua, New Under the Mexican Sun

PAN M 360 at Nuits d’Afrique 2024 | Pahua, New Under the Mexican Sun

PAN M 360 at Nuits d’Afrique | Youba Adjrad, Algeria’s Great Pop Voice

PAN M 360 at Nuits d’Afrique | Youba Adjrad, Algeria’s Great Pop Voice

The Festival d’Art Vocal de Montréal Opens to the General Public

The Festival d’Art Vocal de Montréal Opens to the General Public

PAN M 360 at Nuits d’Afrique – Luiz Salgado and his “caipira” guitar

PAN M 360 at Nuits d’Afrique – Luiz Salgado and his “caipira” guitar

PAN M 360 at Nuits d’Afrique 2024 | Bombino: human warmth with the beat of the desert

PAN M 360 at Nuits d’Afrique 2024 | Bombino: human warmth with the beat of the desert

PAN M 360 at Nuits d’Afrique 2024 – Def Mama Def, Two Sisters in Art  

PAN M 360 at Nuits d’Afrique 2024 – Def Mama Def, Two Sisters in Art  

PAN M 360 at Nuits d’Afrique 2024 | Queen Omega Extends Her Kingdom to MTL

PAN M 360 at Nuits d’Afrique 2024 | Queen Omega Extends Her Kingdom to MTL

PANM360 at Nuits d’Afrique | Alberto Salgado Turns Balattou Into a Percussive Laboratory

PANM360 at Nuits d’Afrique | Alberto Salgado Turns Balattou Into a Percussive Laboratory

PAN M 360 at Nuits d’Afrique | Guinea in Circus!

PAN M 360 at Nuits d’Afrique | Guinea in Circus!

Domaine Forget 2024 | Cape Verdean breezes in Charlevoix with Lucibela

Domaine Forget 2024 | Cape Verdean breezes in Charlevoix with Lucibela

PAN M 360 at Nuits d’Afrique | Def Mama Def, Women’s Karma

PAN M 360 at Nuits d’Afrique | Def Mama Def, Women’s Karma

Subscribe to our newsletter