national Arts Festival Banner

Monday, May 4, 2020


Newsletter from Neil Gonsalves, Director for the Centre of Jazz and Popular Music (CJPM) at UKZN Durban

I hope that this message finds you safe and well in these uncertain times, with forecasts for unprecedented change. April, which is Jazz Appreciation Month(JAM), is now a thing of the past. Cape Town would have hosted the global International Jazz Day concert on the 30th, and there were a host of workshops and events that were scheduled countrywide that were also cancelled. Instead, we watched the global concert from our homes, with participating artists broadcasting from their homes as well. There were online collaborations, interspersed with performances from previous IJD concerts.

This manner of event has fast replaced in-person concerts, and artists are refining and adapting to this ‘new normal’ very quickly. Social media platforms have also created easier options for artists and their databases to transact. We are now a month into our online trios concerts, and are hugely grateful to our loyal database that have continued to support our artists through this transition. We were able to leverage off of your support to launch the idea, and are now seeing a welcome increase in support, as well as artist submissions from across the country. These are amazing artists who may never have visited the Jazz Centre otherwise, so it does create new opportunity all round.

We had partnered with iSupport Creative Business at the outset, to assist with the administration of this project. The growth within the project obviously increases the administration thereof and we have now secured sponsorship from Casio SA to finance the administration fees. The increase in subscription has also seen a need to streamline the booking process, and we also welcome Webtickets as our point of sale. They offering us a discounted fee of R3.45 per ticket and we felt it prudent to increase our ticket price to R40. This, given that many patrons were donating more than the minimum fee, and that some patrons had thought that the initial of fee of R30 was too low. The Webtickets system will also allow you to donate in excess of R40, and allow you to book for the entire month if you so wish. We hope that you find this acceptable and welcome your comments and suggestions.

As always, please send to Thuli, . Herewith the Webtickets link to our renamed Music Unlocked Sessions:

In other news, you may have heard that Prof Darius Brubeck, founder of the Jazz program and the Centre for Jazz and Popular Music at UKZN, had also been afflicted with the virus, and ended up on a ventilator, fighting for his life in a hospital in the UK. I can now happily report that he is back home and happily reunited with his wife, Cathy for whom the experience had been exacerbated from having to endure it in isolation herself. Darius is now making steady progress on the long road to recovery.

Given this turn of events, the Piano Passion Project, of whom Darius is a member, is presenting a Thanksgiving concert on Wednesday, May 27th as part of the Music Unlocked Sessions. It is an online double concert, and will feature over 20 pianists from here and abroad. The ticket price is R80 and all proceeds from the concert will be donated to the Denis Hurley Centre who are doing sterling work in taking care of Durban’s homeless and destitute, especially during this period of social distance. The media for this event will roll out in the coming days and we call on your gracious support once again.

We so look forward to welcoming you back to the Jazz Centre for the ‘live’ music experience at some point in the future. In the meantime please take care and maintain social distancing.

Neil Gonsalves, Director for the Centre of Jazz and Popular Music (CJPM)