By Bukamuso Sebata
Msaki’s EMBO TIME TRAVEL EXPERIMENT, presented as part of the National Arts Festival, is a mesmerising and deeply introspective musical performance. Taking place in the Guy Butler Theatre, this large-scale Standard Bank Young Artist for Music production showcases Msaki’s exploration of personal and collective healing through sound.
The concert is a sonic journey that delves into the realm of the EMBO frequency, an exploration of the calming, soothing, and transcendental effects of sound. Msaki skillfully wields the power of music as a time-travelling device for healing, immersing the audience in a captivating experience. With each note and melody, she weaves a tapestry of emotions that reverberates through the theatre.
Throughout the performance, Msaki’s lyrics resonate with the audience, particularly her repeated refrain, “you can always come home. Home’s where you are.” This sentiment serves as an invitation to delve into introspection, to reconnect with one’s roots and embrace the healing power of home and belonging. The acknowledgment of her ancestors and their significant role in her life also adds a profound spiritual dimension to the concert, transforming it into an intimate conversation with the past.
The concert was not merely a showcase of Msaki’s musical prowess but also a tribute to her lineage. She expresses gratitude to her grandfather and father for passing down the love for music, recognising the gift of her voice as a connection to her ancestral heritage. This acknowledgement of the interplay between music and spirituality further enriches the performance, adding depth and resonance to each song.
Msaki’s embodiment of the EMBO frequency is palpable throughout the concert. Her performance is characterised by its hypnotic, repetitive, and lulling nature, drawing the audience into a state of reflection and contemplation. As she revisits her childhood and early adulthood experiences in Makhanda, she skillfully weaves the threads of her past with her present self, reconfiguring her identity into a cohesive whole.
The Guy Butler Theatre provides a fitting backdrop, allowing the audience to immerse themselves fully in the sonic journey. Msaki’s deliberate choice to withdraw from public performance after the National Arts Festival is evident in the concert’s atmosphere. There is a sense of significance and closure. It feels like witnessing an artist embarking on a new path, taking time and space to nurture the seeds planted during this transformative period.
EMBO TIME TRAVEL EXPERIMENT is a remarkable and intimate experience, one that leaves a lasting impression on its audience. Msaki’s ability to blend music and spirituality in such a harmonious way is truly captivating. Her concert serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of self-reflection, ancestral connection, and the healing potential of sound.