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Wednesday, April 7, 2021


(Neil Gonsalves)

Durban-based composer, pianist and educator, Neil Gonsalves is set to release his new record, Blessings and Blues, on April 6, 2021. The album will be available on all digital platforms.

Blessings and Blues was recorded in December 2019, just before the Covid pandemic, and in a year during which Gonsalves turned 50. It’s a celebratory album reflecting the concomitant social engagements. It’s a colourful depiction of a slice of South African life, at least as it was then. Given the ensuing pandemic, the album now serves as a timely reminder and beacon of hope for a more engaged and fulfilled life.

Blessings and Blues follows his 2020 solo piano recording, Concert for One. Reunited with bassist Ildo Nandja, now resident in the Netherlands, and young drum virtuoso Riley Giandhari, the album features 12 original compositions by Gonsalves.

He says, “I love playing with Ildo and Riley. They are both composers, and even though all the tunes are mine, they bring a compositional aesthetic to their performance that gives our collective efforts an added dimension”. Gonsalves explains further, “I recorded and released Concert for One under lockdown in April last year. It’s an introspective album where I try to reflect on and make sense of the pandemic and consequent social distancing regime, as opposed to this more celebratory album.”

Gonsalves is a South African Jazz/World Beat pianist, composer, bandleader and educator. His music takes its influence from the rich diversity of cultural life that characterizes his homeland, the beautiful seaside city of Durban, in the province of KwaZulu-Natal. Under Prof Darius Brubeck at the University of Natal, his formal jazz training allowed him to be mentored by fellow students Feya Faku and Lex Futshane and created opportunities for an apprenticeship with local jazz stalwarts Sandile Shange, Gerald Sloan and George Mari. There was also the opportunity for intercultural music-making with groups like Indo-Fusion outfit Mosaic, with whom Gonsalves performed at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown for the first time. He has participated at the National Arts Festival many times, primarily as a performer and teacher at the National Youth Jazz festival.

Over the years, Gonsalves has released four albums and featured on many more recordings. Currently, he is a lecturer in jazz studies at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and serves as the director for the Centre for Jazz and Popular Music (CJPM) at the UKZN.

The album will be available on all digital platforms and has yielded two singles that are available digitally already, Southern Migration and Let’s Do It Again.

For more information visit or email Neil directly at