!Xhole Kae - THIS LAND 
"while there are many attempts at such collaborations, a lot of them feel super commercial/planned where this project feels like such a great marriage between completely organic meets sound design/production"

!Xhole Kae-THIS LAND

The basis of this album is the wonderful traditional music of the San.

The hunter-gatherer ancestors of the San have lived in Southern Africa since the origins of modern humans.

The archaeology traces San clearly back 10 000 years , and their ancestors back 150 000 - 200 000 years.

The San have greater genetic diversity than any other peoples on earth - this means that they retain the diversity from the earliest times that other peoples have lost.

This indicates that they are linked to the earliest peoples and then did not move or mix as much as other peoples.

Their traditional music is therefore unique- as it holds elements of the oldest songs ever made on our planet .

On Heritage Day sept 2019 we recorded the ladies of the choir !Xanu !Xe singing and doing handclaps at the festival weekend at the San center !Khwattu near Cape Town .

One month later one of the members of the choir, Marlene Makina , laid down a lot of raw vocals recorded on my portable studio equipment.

The rest of the production has been done in 5 different studios in Norway and South Africa

Most of the songs Marlene sings in her native San language , are traditional tunes she learned from her mother- a lot of the lyrics describing how the San lost their land in Botswana and Namibia, and were forced to move to different parts of South Africa .

      !Xhole Kae-This Land   


  • trumpeter/composer Arne Hiorth 
  • San vocalist Marlene Makina 
  • the wonderful choir !Xanu !Xe from Platfontein
  • magical bassplayer Shaun Johannes
  • world famous guitar/soundscaper Eivind Aarset 
  • human timekeeper Ottar Nesje on percussion   
  • the genius maestro Kjetil Bjerkestrand on keys
  • Sepanya Mahlangu and Oddrun Eikli on backing vocals

Programming, keyboards , percussion , mixing and production  

by Arne Hiorth

Supported by    

NOPA    TONO    CREO    NJF      

Kulturrådet     Tekstforfatterfondet