Photo by Gregory Franz
"A Feya Faku gig always has stories: his power as both composer and player lies not only in mastery of his instrument but in offering balm for the soul: not from a place of easy comfort, but from a place of history and hope shared with his listeners."
– Gwen Ansell
Feya Faku is one of South Africa’s legendary jazz musicians and composers, immensely respected for his dedication to Jazz as an evolving art form. His music balances an evocative and delicate sensitivity with his quietly firm confidence, profound human empathy and spiritual connection and an openness for Jazz to express his vision.
From humble beginnings in New Brighton, Port Elizabeth, Faku was one of the first musicians to study Jazz at the University of Natal with Darius Brubeck and has gone on to play with some of the most revered names in the world. In South Africa, he has played with Bheki Mseleku, Abdullah Ibrahim, Barney Rachabane, Makhaya Ntshoko, Thandie Classen, Duke Makasi, Pat Matshikiza and Basel Coetzee. He was the youngest member of Winston ‘Mankunku’ Ngozi’s quintet. He “returned” to university in 2012 when he was Artist in Residence at the opening of the International Jazz School of the University of South Africa.
He has ongoing international partnerships with artists such as Paul van Kemenade in the Netherlands, American drummer Jeff “Siege” Siegel and Swiss drummer, Dominic Egli. In 2016, he toured SA and Switzerland with Egli’s band Plurism, promoting their latest album More Fufu! He also toured the USA with Siegel’s Sextet promoting their album, King of Xhosa. His next project will see Boston-based pianist John Kordalewski arranging some of Feya’s compositions for a performance and recording by the Makhanda Project, a big band featuring several of Boston’s leading jazz musicians.
Feya has a long-standing relationship with Switzerland and has spent time there teaching and performing. He has worked with many Swiss musicians recorded and released the album le Ngoma with his Swiss Quintet. Feya has worked with international musicians such as Dave Young, Gustavo Begalli, Larry Ridley, Colin Vallon, Andy Sherrer, Eric van der Western, Brice Wassy, Malcolm Braff, Samuel Blaser, Frederic Ljungkvist and Paul Hanmer.
He has released a number of his own albums: Hommage, Tacit, The Colours They Bring, Hope and Honour, and the live recorded Feya Faku & the Spirit Jazz Orchestra.
The Feya Faku Spirit Unit is a project close to Feya’s heart and draws from a small evolving group of South African artists that have played together in many configurations over the years. Now featuring Bokani Dyer on piano, Shane Cooper on double bass, Keenan Ahrends on guitar and Ayanda Sikade on drums, the band comes together on a deep level of connection and understanding, with Feya's compositions taking a very open approach to a "destination unknown".
Feya has featured on the following albums:
African Tributes - Darius Brubeck and the Nu Jazz Connection
Art Gecko - Counterculture
Township One More Time – Abdullah Ibrahim
Cape Town Revisited – Abdullah Ibrahim
Best of Abdullah Ibrahim
Home at last – Bheki Mseleku
We Used To Dance – Andile Yenana
Who Lyk Uit - MCoy Mrubata
Molo Africa - Winston Mankunku Ngozi
Before It’s Too Late - Darius Brubeck
Out of the Shack - SA-Swedish Micro Jazz Encounter
Zvinoshamisa - Paul Van Kemenade Quintet
Mexi Cosy - Paul Van Kemenade Quintet