Zaki Ibrahim

Based: Cape Town

Globally distinguished singer Zaki Ibrahim is a conceptual genius. Even before the completion of her most recent release Every Opposite, she was already fleshing out the accompanying theatre production and short film – rearranging its details scene by scene.

The stage show for Every Opposite draws on Zaki’s multi-dimensional talents as storyteller, performing artist, director, choreographer, fashion icon and individually talented vocalist. For her, visuals must be as expressive as the music is. In this case, the visionary fusion of artistic disciplines is aimed at transporting the listener to the centre of the “semi-fictional”, apocalyptic world that her new collection of music evokes.

Zaki, a South African citizen, was born in Vancouver, Canada, and grew up both in Canada’s left coast as well as South Africa’s Western Cape. Her mother, an English teacher and poet, blessed her with mastery of language and a gift for imagination. Her father, an exiled, eccentric, freedom-fighting South African, banged out rhythms on her baby chest to lull her to sleep as a child. Hence her confident sense of rhythm and flair for magical spontaneity. “The first lessons I learn’t about music were from drumming” she remembers. “And you think drumming when you doing it. Then it becomes something else”.

In 2005 Zaki, as part of the District Six Music collective joined the African Way Tour with K’Naan, Tumi and the Volume and DJ Nana. She performed at the Black Lily Film and Music Festival in 2008, opened shows for Erykah Badu, Saul Williams, Mos Def and appeared at 2010’s Cape Town International Jazz Festival.

With Every Opposite, Zaki has further distilled her wide-ranging palette into a potent singular strain. She can reel off a list of icons like Michael Jackson, Prince, Lionel Richie, Sade, Stevie Wonder, Miriam Makeba, Bobby McFerrin, Zap Mama, Radiohead, Madlib and J.Dilla counting them as inspiration. Her uniqueness, however, is in her ability to meld those fragments into a cohesive sound…



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