South African pianist and independent artist, Keenan Meyer, has recently released his debut track “Komani” featuring saxophonist Tshepo Tsotetsi. The track appears on his upcoming debut album titled The Alchemy of Living, a 12-track project, which features fellow artists Sthembiso Bhengu, Keorapetse Kolwane as well as talented South African jazz musician, Zoë Modiga. Impressively, the inimitable Grammy award-winning American producer, Qmillion, is behind the mixing and mastering of this musical offering.
The 25-year-old pianist certainly hits the ground running with this first release. Produced by Banda Banda, “Komani” is a musical journey, quite literally, that begins with what feels like a farewell before one embarks on a long journey. The song then gradually builds to an explosion of sound — replete with percussion, drums, the saxophone, and of course, the piano — as one now excitedly embraces the destination ahead.
There is a distinct feeling of nostalgia in the rich soundscape of “Komani”. Admittedly, one can’t help but feel transported to a place one may not even know but nonetheless, still appreciates. Meyer indeed stands on the shoulders of giants with jazz veteran greats including the late Hugh Masekela and Jonas Gwangwa, pianist and composer, Abdullah Ibrahim, in addition to younger contemporaries such as Modiga and Mandla Mlangeni, among several others.
Describing the inspiration for his debut track, Meyer says:”Komani, or Queenstown as it was formerly known is home to my maternal ancestors – the Redcliffe clan. Traveling to the small Eastern Cape town during the school holidays was one of the many highlights of my childhood. We would travel by bus or the Shosholoza Meyl sleeper train and be greeted by family members waiting for us on our arrival. Back then I didn’t realise how seminal these journeys and visits would be on my own story and to honour the roots of where I come from, Komani is a love song to the maternal love that has raised me.”