national Arts Festival Banner

Saturday, November 19, 2016


(Leah Mari. Pic by Val Adamson)

Singer-pianist Leah Mari (15) will launch her debut solo CD You've Got Time which features her original compositions arranged for piano and voice at the Centre for Jazz & Popular Music (UKZN Howard College Campus) on November 25.

Mari has been composing and performing for as long as she can remember but most memorable will be her 2016 collection of original compositions for this debut recording featuring herself as both pianist and singer. Recorded at Sonic Studios, Durban, she invites music lovers to experience a snapshot of her world through melodies and lyrics written from the heart!

Mari has been playing the piano, singing and composing for as long as she can remember. A Grade 9 learner at Durban Girls’ High School, she is a member of the school choir and actively participates in the school’s arts and culture events. In 2012, she was the winner of the inaugural song writing competition South Africa Siyakhanya organized by Festival in The Hills  – her winning composition, Siyakhanya was orchestrated by Ian Holloway and performed by the KwaZulu-Natal Youth Orchestra, featuring Mari singing with massed choir conducted by Richard Cock, at Makaranga Lodge. 

A few months later she was invited to perform the same song at two concerts at the Playhouse with the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra. One of the youngest participants, she was placed third in the 2012 Gateway To Fame Singing Competition and two years later won the same competition where she performed another original composition entitled You’ve Got Time (2014). She has played keyboard and featured as the singer for the youth band The Faze and in 2013 performed at the Hilton Arts Festival with her sister Ella Mari (drums) and other young performers.

In 2014 Leah and Ella were the Prelude Performers for a Friends of Music concert at the Durban Jewish Centre and Leah performed at the uShaka Staff Awards ceremony at the Dolphin Stadium. She was approached by independent local film maker Charlotte Mbali to write a piece of music for a short film (African Christmas Journey) submitted to the Berlin Youth Film Academy. In 2015 & 2016 she was selected for the Young Performers Programme directed by Themi Venturas at the Sneddon Theatre - she played the female lead characters, Rose, in Soldiers In The City and Maria Elena Santiago (Budd Holly’s wife) in Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story. She also played Rosemary Pilkington in the Glenwood High School musical production How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (2016) and was in the ensemble of the Durban Girls High School annual school play Girls Like That. She has recently been selected for the KZN Youth Choir (2017) under the direction of Gerard du Toit.

Mari will perform selected tracks from You've Got Time at the launch which will take place on November 25 at 18h30 at the Centre for Jazz & Popular Music (UKZN Howard College Campus). Entrance is free and there are a few give-aways to be won with EP purchases (R50) Enquiries