Abel Selaocoe & The Bantu Ensemble


To Include:

Abel Selaocoe:
Ibuyile I’Africa (Africa is Back)
Ka Bohaleng (On the Sharp Side)
Zawose (for Hukwe Zawose)
Lerato (Love)
Ancestral Affirmations

Giovanni Benedetto Platti Cello Sonata No 7 in D major
J S Bach Sarabande from Cello Suite No 3 in C major BWV 1009
J S Bach Sarabande from Cello Suite No 5 in C minor BWV 1011

Abel Selaocoe cello and vocals
Fred Thomas piano
Alan Keary bass
Mohamadou (Dudu) Kouate African percussion

The RNCM is committed to reducing its carbon footprint. We’re proud of what we’ve achieved so far but know we need to do more as we work to create a more sustainable world. One way we can make a huge difference is to minimise the number of printed programmes and free sheets we produce each season.

This is why we’ve decided to move away from mass produced, single use print for most of our events, offering an online programme of up-to-date information instead. Additionally, many of our concerts now include a personal introduction by members of staff and students, which gives insight into the repertoire performed as well as an opportunity to get to know our community a little more.   

Where printed programmes are still required, such as RNCM Opera performances and end of term showcases, content is thoughtfully produced using limited resources. An online option is also available for those wishing to support our mission.

We always welcome feedback from our audience members and would like to thank everyone who has supported our mission so far.



Abel Selaocoe

South African cellist Abel Selaocoe is redefining the parameters of the cello. He moves seamlessly across a plethora of genres and styles, from collaborations with world musicians and beatboxers, to concerto performances and solo classical recitals. Abel combines virtuosic performance with improvisation, singing and body percussion, and has a special interest in curating recital programmes that highlight the links between Western and non-Western musical traditions, with view to helping classical music reach a more diverse audience.

In 2016, Abel formed Chesaba – a trio specializing in music from the African continent, including many of his own compositions. He enjoys close collaborations with musicians from a medley of genres, including Bernhard Schimpelsberger, Tim Garland, Seckou Keita, Giovanni Sollima, Famoudou Don Moye and Gwilym Simcock. He has a close partnership with Manchester Collective, with whom he devised the hugely successful Sirocco programme which has been enjoyed both live and digitally by audiences since 2019. In 2020/21, Abel performed at Kings Place, Norfolk & Norwich and Ryedale Festivals, and performed with ensembles including BBC Concert Orchestra at the EFG London Jazz Festival, Manchester Collective and Britten Sinfonia.

Abel made his solo BBC Proms debut in August 2021, curating a programme with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Chesaba and Gnawa Ensemble. Other highlights of the 2021/22 season include a tour with Manchester Collective and Chesaba of their new collaboration, The Oracle; debuts with St Paul Chamber Orchestra and at Stanford Live; and performances both solo and with Chesaba throughout the UK and Europe.

Abel Selaocoe is an exclusive recording artist with Warner Classics and his debut album Where is Home? (Hae Ke Kae) on the subject of home and refuge will be released on Friday 23 September 2022.

Abel completed his International Artist Diploma at the Royal Northern College of Music in July 2018. Alongside his numerous awards and recognition throughout the industry, in May 2021, Abel was announced as an inaugural Power Up Music Creator participant in PRS Foundation’s new initiative to address anti-Black racism and racial disparities in the music sector.

Alan Keary

Alan Keary is a multi-instrumentalist and producer, with a strong musical heritage, writing and producing music from the age of fourteen. Now based in Manchester and performing under the alias Shunya, his sound is an amalgamation of influences, ranging from his early musical background of classical fused folk violin and cello playing to the sounds of Manchester’s electronic music scene. He has collaborated with DJ Yoda, arranged music for the BBC Proms, released a remix on Blue Note Records and currently tours with Chesaba – a collective blending improvisations with music from across Africa.

Fred Thomas

The English musician, Fred Thomas, studied piano and composition at the Royal Academy of Music in London, graduating with Bachelor of Music degree in 2009.

Fred Thomas is one of London’s most sought-after multi-instrumentalists and composer/arranger/producers. A member of the F-IRE Collective, he recently embarked on a trilogy of J.S. Bach recordings to be released on ECM, The Silent Howl and Odradek Records. His first is a trio with Aisha Orazbayeva and Lucy Railton that plays Thomas’s transcriptions of J.S. Bach’s Chorale Preludes, the scores of which are published by Edition Wilhelm Hansen. His second, ‘Electrofeit‘, is a solo organ record and featured the multi-tracking of fugues inspired by the work of historian Hayden White.

Other projects include The Beguilers, a sextet that interprets Fred Thomas’s song settings of poetry; his Polyphonic Jazz Band, a quintet with Martin Speake that explores improvised polyphony; a trio with Maurizio Ravalico and actor Gary Cooper that pits improvised music for prepared piano and percussion against prose-poems; an ongoing recording of contemporary interpretations of the medieval Chantilly Codex; a duo with his violinist father Peter Thomas; and a Richard Wagner tribute band with jazz pianist Liam Noble.

Fred Thomas has appeared or collaborated with a wide variety of artists, including Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Jordi Savall, Jarvis Cocker, Ethan Iverson, Tamara Stefanovich, Basquiat Strings, Kadialy Kouyate, Leo Abrahams, Lisa Knapp, Mor Karbasi, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Elysian Quartet, Jason Yarde, Julian Siegel, Alice Zawadzki, Jiri Slavik, Zac Gvi, Pete Flood, The Magic Lantern, Seb Rochford, Oren Marshall and Olivia Chaney, as well as record labels Harmonica Mundi and Realworld. He has worked at The National Theatre and has toured worldwide with Filter Theatre and as musical director with Shakespeare’s Globe.

Fred Thomas teaches at Trinity Laban and as a producer has recorded albums for many artists in Europe. His most recent compositions, for voice, string quartet and percussion, were commissioned by BitterSuite and Phaedra Ensemble and are being performed internationally and at the Royal Opera House, London. He currently lives in London, England.

Mohamadou Dudu Kouate

Dudu was born in Senegal in 1963 by a family of griots, known for being the conservators of the African cultural and musical tradition. After his humanistic studies in his country he left for Europe. He lives in Bergamo where he has been teaching African percussions for many years. From 2017 he collaborates on a permanent basis with the Art Ensemble of Chicago with Roscoe Mitchell and Don Moye

He holds seminars on the history of traditional African instruments trying to trace the territorial boundaries of the populations and disseminating the African cultural tradition through tales of musical fairy tales.

Dudu is a multi-instrumentalist musician and plays in many different musical groups. He plays Afro-jazz, modern, traditional and contemporary music. The constant search for sound (sound of elements), always pushes him towards new and interesting experiences in the world of music.
He is a recognized validator of traditional instruments and especially percussion, he manages to find their insertion within diversified musical contexts.

In 2018 he released the album “Africation” in which Dudù plays the role assigned to him by tradition and makes him re-live in a modern and multicultural way: the songs are mainly sung in his mother tongue, Wolof, with some reference to Bambarà phrases in French and Italian and express an intense emotional charge also thanks to the use of new and original sounds. Says the Senegalese artist “I was born a percussionist but over time I have also explored other string and wind instruments. This album is born from a need to start from myself, it is a kind of introspective journey that opens a new phase of my life “.
In addition to the texts of the individual tracks, what strikes Africation is the fact of being shaped on a symphony of instruments, a polyphony that creates magical and re-evocative atmospheres: from the berber lute (xalam) to the kanjira, from the djembè to the traditional African wind instruments and to the didgeridoo that symbolically kidnap the listener bringing him into an unexplored and involving dimension.