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Wednesday, March 7, 2018


(Stefan Johnsson)

The Centre for Jazz and Popular Music (CJPM) at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) will host Swedish pedagogue musician, composer Stefan Johnsson, South African jazz pianist and UKZN alumnus Melvin Peters together with internationally acclaimed bassist Bob Sinicrope (USA) for their Mandela Centenary Concert.

The event will be held on March 14 at 18h00 at the Jazz Centre on the Howard College Campus.

The visiting musicians will be joined on stage by UKZN jazz students under the tutelage of lecturer Mr Burton Naidoo. All performance pieces will be dedicated to Nelson Mandela.

The concert will also feature a tribute piece titled A Hero of our time, composed by Johnsson in 2004. ‘I have always wanted to visit South Africa and have this piece performed here. When the organisation ‘Star for life’ was visiting Sweden last year I got to know about UKZN through the Swedish leaders.’

‘I was invited in October and started planning this project. Almost 14 years later, my music finally will be premiered on South African ground. Unfortunately, Mr Mandela is not alive to attend my tribute to him, which was a vision I had during the composing work, however it is still a great moment for me presenting this tribute on South African ground,’ explained Johnsson.

His piece is written for Choir soprano, alto, tenor, bass (SATB), horn section, piano, bass, percussion, which will be led by UKZN music students. Poetry included in the composition is by Andrew Motion, Nasibu Mvanukuzi, Kilian Mc Donell and Marianne Williamsen. 

Bob Sinicrope and Melvin Peters first worked together in 1998 when Peters was in the USA on a scholarship at Harvard University. Sinicrope invited him to join his band known as the “World Leaders”. The band performed in Boston at the prestigious school, Milton Academy, where Sinicrope is currently the Director of Jazz Studies. For the performance at UKZN, Sinicrope and Peters will be joined by guest trumpet player Stefan Johnsson as well as Salim Washington and Jeff Robinson, both of whom are horn players who have lectured at UKZN. Bruce Baker, a Durban stalwart, completes the line-up on drums.

According to Melvin Peters, the programme will feature a wide variety of music, ranging from jazz standards to arrangements of well-known tunes by Abdullah Ibrahim. “The audience is in for a wonderful treat with this formidable international band performing music that will definitely nourish your soul. I feel quite privileged to share the stage with musicians of this calibre”. 

The Mandela Centenary Concert takes place at 18h00 on March 14 at the Jazz Centre on the UKZN Howard College Campus. Tickets R80 (R50 pensioners, R25 students with a student card\0. Doors open at 17h30. For more information, contact Thulile Zama on email: or 031 260 3385