Cara Stacey is a South African musician, composer and musicologist. She is a pianist and plays southern African musical bows (umrhubhe, uhadi, makhoyane). She holds a doctorate in African music, specifically looking at the makhoyane musical bow from eSwatini (University of Cape Town/SOAS). During her PhD, she was an NRF Freestanding Doctoral scholar, a Commonwealth Split-Site scholar, and the recipient of funding from the Oppenheimer Memorial Trust and the University of Cape Town. Cara holds a Masters in Musicology (Edinburgh), and a MMus in Performance from SOAS (London). Cara studied various African instruments (makhoyane, mbira, uhadi, umrhubhe and budongo) with Dizu Plaatjies, Khokhiwe Mphila, Bhemani Magagula, Tinashe Chidanyika, Modou Diouf, and Andrew Cooke.
Beyond her solo performance work, Cara collaborates with visual artist Mzwandile Buthelezi and jazz guitarist Keenan Ahrends in a project titled 'The Texture of Silence'. In 2020, she founded the ARUM group with numerous prominent southern African musicians across genres. She works with percussionist and drummer Sarathy Korwar in the project Pergola and is a member of the Night Light Collective, and Gold Fox. Her debut album 'Things that grow' features Shabaka Hutchings, Seb Rochford, Ruth Goller, and Crewdson (released in September 2015, Kit Records). Her album, 'Ceder', is of her duo project with Peruvian flutist and composer Camilo Ángeles (2018) and her collaborative album 'Like the Grass' (with Galina Juritz, Beat Keller and Antonia Ravens) was released by Kit Records in July 2020. Her latest album is the product of new compositional work with the trio 'The Texture of Silence'. This album is titled 'As in the Sun, so in the Rain' and was self-released in 2021.
Cara has performed across southern Africa, in the United Kingdom, Brazil, Peru, the USA and Switzerland with the likes of Shabaka Hutchings, Sarathy Korwar, Dan Leavers, Galina Juritz, Natalie Mason, Beat Keller, Matchume Zango, Jason Singh and Juliana Venter.
Cara is the founder of the Betwixt concert series with cellist Nicola du Toit. She sits on the executive committee for the South African Society for Research in Music and is the International Council for Traditional Music country liaison office for the kingdom of eSwatini. She is the host of a monthly radio show of diverse African musics, Khashane, on the UK-based online radio station 'The Neon Hospice'. Cara is currently a Senior Lecturer in African Music at North-West University (South Africa). She is based between Johannesburg and Mbabane.
Photo credit : Pierre Burger, James Drew (Daylight Music)