Abel Selaocoe – Where is Home (Hae Ke Kae)

We all have friends that spend far too much time on TikTok. For me, she’s one of my best friends in the world, but she sends me interesting videos when they are music-related, so I don’t give her any shit. Well, one day she sent me a video of a dude beatboxing while playing the cello and I was blown away.

I immediately searched his name, found his album, and pre-ordered it. The Chinese government officer monitoring that particular TikTok video successfully separated me from my money.

China 1 – Jeremy 0

But it was an amazing sound, so I had to own it on vinyl.

When Where is Home (Hae Ke Kae) finally showed up, I was excited to spin it.

And I was promptly disappointed.

The music isn’t bad, it’s just not what I was expecting. Side A of this album is beautiful.

It is reverent. It is chamber music. It is beautiful, classy church music with a hint of backwoods country soul. I am no expert in classical music and sound, but some of the cello work reminds me of how a bluegrass country fiddle is played. While parts of this record are soft and gentle with gradual builds that move through you other parts feature tribal beats paired with the strings. It is stunning.

When those sounds are combined with the unique South African lyrics, chanting, and throat-singing, it is unlike anything else. But, still not what I was expecting. And then, there’s the other side of the record.

The flip side of this album starts off the same and then it moves into more of what I was looking for. Side B has the sounds that I wish filled the entire record.

There is beatboxing combined with the strings and throat singing. It is so damn unique and mindblowing awesome.

Maybe a full album of that would be too much, I don’t know.

I am fascinated by the similarities to the Mongolian folk metal band The Hu. The cello on this album sounds very similar to the traditional morin khuur played by The Hu.

When Where is Home (Hae Ke Kae) jams, it fucking jams. But there is very little of it on this album. Most of this record sounds what I imagine fancy church music from the Serengeti sounds like.

My favorite track: Qhawe/Hero


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