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Shabaka Hutchings

Shabaka Hutchings is the musical director for We Out Here, and contributes album entry ‘Black Skin, Black Masks’.

Spanning from London's jazz-oriented mainstays to its experimental fringes, he's just as often found leading improvised, ruminative expeditions as he is on riotous festival stages. He was born in London, and moved to Barbados from the age of six to 16. He’s won a MOBO, the Paul Hamlyn Composer Award and multiple awards from Jazz FM. Beyond his three current primary projects, he’s played with the likes of the Sun Ra Arkestra, Floating Points and Mulatu Astatke. His band for We Out Here is drawn from musicians of a similar ilk: longtime, regular players bridging the different iterations of London’s jazz-influenced universe.

The first of those three main projects is Shabaka and the Ancestors, whose 2016 debut Wisdom of Elders was born of his connections to South Africa and some of its best jazz musicians. Recorded across just one day in Johannesburg, it’s a deep, explorative record buoyed by an instinctive sense of groove. The Comet Is Coming are a trio – playing (for the most part) saxophone, synths and drums – who chart the space between free-flowing improv and rave-dripped energy. Their Death To The Planet EP, released earlier in 2017, was their follow-up to the Mercury-nominated Channel The Spirits. And Sons of Kemet, a quartet of saxophone, tuba and two drummers, draw from the musical mutations of the Caribbean diaspora. Their electric energy has marked them out as one of the UK’s most exciting live acts. Following their 2015 album Lest We Forget What We Came Here To Do, they’re set to release new material in 2018.