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Thaba is a collaboration between South African singer/songwriter Khusi Seremane and American producer/musician Gabriel Cyr. Tragically in July 2020, while the two were working with Soundway to prepare their debut record, Seremane died after battling health issues for several years, just a few days past his 41st birthday.
Thaba's sound reflects a sonic duality referencing the double pop heritage of Mbaqanga and Bubblegum artists like The Soul Brothers, Paul Ndlovu and Pat Shange, alongside traces of Roxy Music, Grace Jones, Sade, and Talk Talk. The result is a very modern, electronic, layered, introspective and at times jazz-tinged production.
Connected by a shared love of kwaito, 90's R&B, and classic downtempo, Seremane and Cyr collaborated for a decade after meeting online in the halcyon days of Myspace Music. While the pair initially planned for Seremane to guest on a Teleseen track, their ideas evolved into an entire record. Their debut, Eyes Rest Their Feet, was created remotely over several years, with the core recorded during a 2016 studio session in Cape Town.
After returning to New York, Cyr honed these recordings with several Brooklyn-based musicians, calling upon members of Antibalas, Underground System, Midnight Magic, Loboko and others. Eyes Rest Their Feet spans genres as well as geography, touching on elements of soul, reggae, synth-pop and beyond, with lyrical themes that explore loneliness and the challenges of human relationships.
In Cape Town, Seremane was a pharmacist by day and crafted introspective afro-soul by night as Lebadi and a member of the musical collective Tapedeck Circuitry.
Cyr, based in New York, primarily performs under the guise Teleseen focusing on left-field electronic music with global influences, and works as a producer and engineer for other artists.
Seremane’s experience early in his career, working at a public hospital in a Cape Town township put him in a state of constant reflection on the harsh realities of life. He was a music fanatic, a raconteur, and a wordsmith, described repeatedly in eulogies by those around him as elegant, charismatic and enigmatic. However, the occasionally reticent and un-egotistical side of his personality kept his talents fixated to the scene in his Cape Town neighborhood of Woodstock, and to the city at large for many years. Just as the album that the duo had been polishing and honing was being prepared for release to the world, the devastating news of his death reached all of those that loved, respected, and cherished Seremane’s uniqueness.
Shortly before Seremane’s untimely death, Cyr and Seremane were in the process of composing new music.
Eyes Rest Their Feet not only represents the culmination of Seremane’s work as an artist but also a meditation on the transformative power of love and the impermanence of all things.