Live Stream Premiere of "Gabriel's Odyssey" by the Kukutana Ensemble, Cape Town, 30-31 Oct 2021

Matteo Salvadore's picture
"Gabriel’s Odyssey"
A Musical Narrative of Slavery, Conversion, Persecution and Resilience from a 16th-Century Indian Ocean World

The Re-Centring AfroAsia Project (University of Cape Town) will be hosting a new major musical performance, "Gabriel’s Odyssey", by the Kukutana Ensemble to be premièred on 30 October 2021 in Cape Town.

"Gabriel’s Odyssey" tells the 16th-century story of Gabriel, a Beta Israel Ethiopian Jew, who was abducted as a young child and sold into slavery in the Arab world, and his woeful wanderings between faiths, love, resilience, and persecution in Asia to his final encounter with the Inquisition in Goa. Told through the Kaavad storytelling tradition and imaginary and sumptuous soundscapes, visuals and voices of an early modern Indian Ocean world, Gabriel’s life represents a universal story of oppression, migration and refashioning like the experiences of countless other early modern Africans. His story, based on the earliest surviving autobiography of a 16th-century Ethiopian slave as historically reconstructed by Matteo Salvadore, challenges new ways of thinking about the past and creates a long lost sonic landscape that allows dialogue and interplay between distinct AfroAsian musical and visual traditions.

The Kukutana Ensemble (founded by Dr. Janie Cole) comprises a remarkable array of master musicians, composers, artists and writers from South Africa and India, with guests from Ethiopia and Tanzania, who worked together through the waves of the pandemic.

Seats are in short supply, so it is more than urgent to book. Two performances on 30 and 31 October 2021 will be livestreamed, but only the show on 30 October will be open for tickets. For details and bookings, please email:

Livestream links:

Saturday 30 October, GMT 3:30 pm (EST 9:30 am):

Sunday 31 October, GMT 4:30 pm (EST 10:30 am):