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Abdullah Ibrahim: Out of (South) Africa

Don Snowden, L.A. Weekly, 6 October 1988

FUNNY THAT you never hear Abdullah Ibrahim's name mentioned in post-Graceland discussions of contemporary South African music. The 54-year-old pianist/composer (who performed as Dollar Brand until he embraced Islam in 1969) plays music that slips into the 4/4 swing of straight-ahead jazz or plugs into the punchy rhythms of mbqanga with equal ease. It's music that is often built around the repetition of stately, deliberate melodies and blues-drenched riffs; music that ignores any distinction between pop and jazz because none existed when Ibrahim was growing up in Cape Town in the late '40s and '50s.

Total word count of piece: 681


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