The Ancient Agents

Ancient Agents are touring South Africa for two weeks. With influences from Africa, India and Scandinavia, the quartet combines traditional rhythms and contemporary harmonies to produce a richly textured acoustic world beat that crosses genres, borders and time signatures.

They bridge grooves from north India and the Middle East with Afro beats and polyrhythms – ancient sounds telling a modern tale.

This international collaboration brings together four multi-instrumentalists – an innovative lead guitarist, a melody-driven bassist and two intuitive, dexterous percussionists whose instruments range from Arabic to Indian and North African.

Each band member brings with him a distinct sound, an impressive performance history and international experience.

Riq, frame drum and cajon

An admirer of John McLaughlin and John Schofield, Reza Khota’s (SA) guitar strings produce a crossover between east and west, with influences of jazz and classical. He has worked with Kesivan Naidoo, Shane Cooper and Buddy Wells, and recently taught master-classes at the University of Toronto.

Fredrik Gille (Sweden) has collected and mastered a variety of percussion instruments from all over the world, with Middle Eastern drumming being his expertise – riq, frame drum, cajon. His sound is influenced by Arabic rhythms and Spanish music. He’s worked with composer Andreas Vollenweider, Algerian vocalist Karima Nayt, Swedish trip folk band Bazar Blå and Flamenco en Route.

Music from Mali to Memphis and Mumbai

One of SA’s busiest session musos, bassist Schalk Joubert (SA) is a product of his cultural heritage. He articulates South African melodies, West African grooves and harmony in the European tradition to produce a cohesive, melodic sound. He has performed, produced and recorded with the likes of David Kramer, Nico Carstens and Michelle Shocked.

Ronan Skillen (Ireland) is inspired by the aesthetic of record label ECM, and music from Mali to Memphis and Mumbai. His flair for improvisation began with the didgeridoo, and his later schooling in Indian classical music and wide palette of textural percussive sounds combine to create a rich soundscape, incorporating tabla and hybrid percussion kit. He has toured with Rodriguez and Johnny Clegg, and performed with Manu Dibango.

Asked about this tour by Ancient Agents, Ronan says: “I am thrilled at the idea of taking this quartet on the road. Audiences are in for a sound they won’t have heard before. Watch out for the Ancient Agents”. The tour is supported by Concerts SA through the Music Mobility Fund and Swedish Arts Council.

When, Where, Cash: 

Yacht Club Knysna Waterfront, Knysna

Thursday 2 Feb – 7.30pm – R150

Book:  071 686 6864,

The Showroom Theatre, Prince Albert, 41 Church St, Western Cape

Friday 3 Feb, 8pm – R100

Book: 023 541 1563,

Blah Blah Bar, 84 Kloof St, Cape Town

Sat 4 Feb, 9pm – R100

Book: 082 349 8849,

Reeler Theatre, Rondebosch Boys’ High School, Canigou Ave, Rondebosch

Sunday 5th February – 7.30pm – R 150 (students R 120)

Book: 021 685 1923 /

Artist Links:


Ronan Skillen: /

Fredrik Gille: /

Schalk Joubert:

Reza Khota: /

Links:, /