(Nyimbo ya Bantu)
The Centre for Jazz and Popular Music at the University of KwaZulu-Natal presents its 28th Jazz Jol tomorrow (November 30) at 18h00.
The annual Jazz Jol, has become something of a legendary year-end celebration for music-lovers, with proceeds going to the Ronnie Madonsela Scholarship that assists disadvantaged jazz students at UKZN with financial aid or support. This year the Jol features student ensemble Nyimbo ya Bantu, the recently launched UKZN Big Band, the UKZN Trebles - a vocal group featuring UKZN Voice students, as well as a selection of students that have featured in the Centre’s showcases throughout the year.
Nyimbo ya Bantu, which means “people's song” in a blend of kiSwahili and isiZulu, is comprised of junior and senior jazz studies students from UKZN’s music discipline within the School of the Arts: Tseleng Mokhatla on flute, Ildo Nandja on double/electric bass and vocals, Nic Pitman on guitar, Zibusiso Makhathini on piano and Riley Giandhari on drums.
The ensemble’s repertoire mixes original compositions influenced by classic jazz, afro jazz and world music, with South African jazz standards and music by local artists from KwaZulu-Natal. At the Jazz Jol they will perform, amongst other pieces, Rachel composed by Pitman; Metamorphosis composed and arranged by Nandja; End Times by Giandhari and Spirit of the Messenger by Makhathini. Audiences can also expect a cover composed by renowned South African pianist Bheki Mseleku. Nyimbo ya Bantu has performed at the Grahamstown Standard Bank Youth Jazz Festival, the Oslo Jazz Festival in Norway as part of the Nordic showcase and performs regularly at the Chairman in Durban.
Directed by Burton Naidoo, the UKZN Big Band which was launched in June this year features a line-up of top talent - pianists Abigail Giddings and Jaedon Daniel, bassist Llewelyn Chetty, drummer Riley Giandhari, trumpeters, Siyanda Zulu, Sanele Qwabe, Phuti Mofokeng, and Talente Mhlongo, guitarist Kaylin Naidoo, Snothile Mkhize on clarinet, alto saxophonists Nwabisa Kheswa, Simone van Niekerk, Tim Lewis and Phumlani Mtiti, Tenor saxophonist Bonginkosi Mkhize and Trombonists Thembinkosi Khumalo, Mokgethisi Nkotsi, Tseleng Makhatla (flute) with special guests Prof Salim Washington (tenor saxophone), Prof Mike Rossi from South African College of Music, University of Cape Town and George Mari (trumpet).
The Band will play a selection of favourites from their repertoire including standards such as Moten Swing by Buster Morten and two songs by living legend Ndikho Xaba arranged by John Kordalewski - Mad Mad and Nomusa.
“We are particularly excited by the band’s selection of music,” says Neil Gonsalves, Director for the Centre for Jazz and Popular Music, “John Kordalewski and Bab’ Ndikho Xaba, the great KZN pianist and struggle stalwart, met in the late 1970’s while Bab’ Ndikho was living in USA Washington DC. It was here that he mentored John. In 2014, John came to see Bab’ Ndikho and spending time at the keyboard together in his house led to the idea of writing arrangements of Baba’s music to preserve his cultural legacy. John wanted to create a unique combination of the “big band” sounds and colours with South African fundamentals that are in Xaba’s compositions. They eventually recorded a few ideas, which John uses as a reference for his arrangements. John worked with the UKZN Big band in September, and is excited to present his arrangements of these works with these talented musicians.”
The Ronnie Madonsela Scholarship also provides bursaries for deserving students and also funds students’ travel visas for overseas trips, as well as national travel and accommodation to the National Youth Jazz Festival in Grahamstown and other educational festivals, workshops and conferences.
The Jazz Jol takes place on November 30 at 18h00 at the Centre for Jazz and Popular Music at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Level 2, Shepstone Building at UKZN Howard College Campus. Tickets R120 (R80 pensioners and R60 students) at the door. For more details contact Thuli Zama on 031 260 3385 or email Zamat1@ukzn.ac.za