Swiss drummer, Dominic Egli has had a long-standing relationship with South Africa. When he first toured the country in 2005 with the band Mats-Up, Egli connected with esteemed South African trumpeter Feya Faku, and the two formed a beautiful music friendship. Faku joined PLURISM in 2013, which was Egli’s existing trio which have since released four albums.They are one of the longest running Swiss-South African bands to exist, even with the difficulty of members living apart.
In May 2023, an intense series of concerts took place all over Switzerland, but this time with a new horn
section for PLURISM consisting of alto saxophonist and flautist Mthunzi Mvubu and tenor saxophonist
Sisonke Xonti, both from South Africa and part of the best young musicians on the jazz scene right now.
The band, having just performed all together for the first time, spent a few days on the road with a tour
that took them across the country, and also recorded new music. Egli explains that the band’s previous album, Azania in Mind, could not be toured due to COVID19. Sitting down to write new music, “the sound and energy of two South African saxophone players came to my mind: Mthunzi and Sisonke. I had listened to their albums and performances, but never played with them.
Then I heard them in Makhanda last year, and it was all clear that those are the horns that I’d like to play
with and that would blend into a nice section. We also got to hang quite a bit, which was as important; to
get an idea of their personalities, if we would get along. Friendship and tust, on and off the stage, are the
very centre of this project, symbolised by Umhlangano or gathering. From this tour and new friendships, comes the new album called Umhlangano which will be released via Unit Records in May 2024. The album features Feya Faku( trumpet & flugelhorn), Mthunzi Mvubu (altosaxophone & flute), Sisonke Xonti (tenor saxophone), Raffaele Bossard (upright bass) and Dominic Egli (drums). Egli says, “We recorded at Maison Matrice in the green Jura mountains, which is a very special place; a kind of an anticapitalist experiment where community is lived on a daily basis. Artists are invited for residencies (paying what they can afford). The living room is the recording studio. This environment was very inspiring.”
The band recorded together in one room, which Egli says. “I think this adds a special mind set which
leads to a kind of rawness in the playing and the recording sound. Everybody was focused on the overall
mood of a tune. We did one, two, max three takes, and if everybody was happy we moved on to the next
song. It was very relaxed but energetic.”
Though many of the compositions were Egli’s, the band worked together and arranged them collectively.
“This time it was important to me to invite the musicians to bring music too. I really wanted to have a more collective spirit. I also changed the band name from ‘Dominic Egli’s Plurism’ to simply ‘Plurism’, looking for the most democratic creation process possible.”
Faku contributed his composition A Pocket Full of Cherries for Mongezi, which is a tribute to trumpeters
Don Cherry and Mongezi Feza. While Children Song is inspired by a record of children songs that Egli
had heard from Chad; Curve-Space Time pays homage to Egli’s teacher bass virtuoso Peter Frei;
iBabathane (butterfly) is based on a poem by a South African poet, while Trumpets for Captain Rackete is
a tribute so Carola Rackete, the Captain of the Sea Watch 3, Carola Rackete, who saved 50 shipwrecked
migrants in the mediterranean sea.
The music made with the band are dynamic, jazz compositions that blend influences from both countries.
There is a palpable chemistry between these band members, despite them living on different sides of the
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