Thandi Ntuli with Carlos Niño | Rainbow Revisited

Liner Notes by Thandi Ntuli: I travelled to Los Angeles and the USA for the first time in 2019. Although I had not met Carlos in person, we connected via Instagram where he saw a video of me playing a piano motif (titled ‘The One’ in this sequence) that he really liked and expressed a wish to record. This was around 2017. We tried a few times to get me over to Los Angeles, but the timing was always off. Through a performance organised by a creative collective called The Nonsemble at The Ford Theatre we finally got the opportunity to meet, play together and subsequently go into studio to record some improvisations as he guided the recording process.

Having been aware of some of his work – in particular his collaborative projects as Carlos Niño & Friends, as well as with his friend and long-time collaborator, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson – I knew that, with Carlos as producer, the artistic direction of the album would likely take me to a place I’d never considered going. A fact that had me both curious and terrified (as one tends to be when stepping into the unknown) Lol!

Initially keen to record the song that he had seen/heard me play on Instagram, our performance a few days before the session drew him to the song Rainbow off my sophomore album, Exiled (2018). On that zen-like California afternoon in Andy Kravitz’s cozy studio in Venice Beach, he encouraged me to play around with various iterations of Rainbow. “Try it this way”, “How about adding that?”, “Can you breathe into the mic?”, “What if you focus on the last section?”, and many other explorations that eventually went through a few cuts, edits, yays and nays to become this body of work. Rainbow Revisited was birthed through that session, another session a couple of days later, and a series of many small synchronicities that led up to that moment.


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