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Monday, November 1, 2021


(Above: Neil Gonsalves Trio

Durban jazz musicians partner to revive live music performances

Concerts SA digital mobility fund recipients, vocalist, Zoe the Seed, pianist, Neil Gonsalves, and duo, N’den partner to bring a series of three live performances to UKZN’s Centre for Jazz and Popular Music, in a resumption of the Centre’s popular Trios concerts.

Their performances are scheduled for November 3, 10 and 17 respectively. The concert series, dubbed Words & Music, features songs, new and old, timeless tales that echo anew in the troubled times we live in.

Jazz vocalist Zoe the Seed opens proceedings on November 3. She is known for her beautiful sound and energy and a voice with the clarity and power of superstars such as Aretha Franklin. On November 10 she combines forces with the erudite trumpet voice of Thabo Sikhakhane as the +2 in pianist Neil Gonsalves’ trio + 2 project. The trio is completed by drummer, Riley Giandhari and bassist, Talent Mbatha. The series closes with Durban duo N’den, led by vocalist Thulile Zama, also known from Heels over Head, and pianist David Smith.

The concerts are also being recorded and will be available for purchase from November 17 via the ticketing platform.


(Right: Zoe the Seed)

Zoe The Seed

Zoe is a jazz vocalist, music educator and performer. Some of the most notable artists she has worked with include Ernest Dawkins, Salim Washington, Themba Mkhize, Alou April, Africa Mkhize, Ernie Smith and Nduduzo Makhathini. She studied at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and obtained her bachelor’s degree in Jazz and popular music. She also holds a certificate in education and is active in teaching private lessons to aspiring vocalists like herself. Zoe The Seed has led her band for six years, performing her music and covers for venues and festivals all over the country.

"I appreciate and acknowledge the strides of women in leadership who have carried out change not only through words but also in their actions, like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Winnie Mandela, Sibongile Mazibuko, Zozibini Tunzi etc., these .women have stood tall by addressing issues that affect people's lives. I also have immense respect for the women who nourished our souls with beautiful sounds and melodies like Dorothy Masuka, Letta Mbuli, Mama Africa and Sibongile Khumalo. We have carried every word, and every sound and this will reflect in my performance,” says Zoe the Seed. Zoe the Seed will be joined by Thabo Sikhakhane on trumpet, Siyalo Zulu on trombone, Zibusiso Makhathini on keys, Dalisu Ndlazi on bass guitar and Sbu Zondi on drums.


Neil Gonsalves Trio

(see pic above)

Neil Gonsalves is a composer, pianist, bandleader and music educator who has toured the world with his music. His latest album, Blessings and Blues is a trio recording that was released in April, 2021. Neil employs a trio+ concept, bringing additional musicians into the ensemble as and when the music requires, which is the case for this concert. Zoe and Thabo are regular associates of the trio and the ensemble last performed together before COVID. So, a celebratory concert with feel-good melodies and grooves, and lyrics that tend to social commentary is in store.


(Left: N’den: Thulile Zama & David Smith)


N’den is a musical duo consisting of vocalist Thulile Zama and pianist David Smith who met in the early 2000s while studying music at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Their humble musical beginning as a duo started with playing gigs in different restaurants and the corporate scene. Smith has always had an undoubted passion for music and was a member of a very successful Jazz/Hip Hop band, Big Idea, that made waves throughout the country.

Zama, distinguished by her dazzling voice, is the lead vocalist of the successful all-female contemporary jazz band Heels Over Head (best contemporary jazz nominees SAMA - 2011) (Yamaha Young Artist winners 2010). This versatile vocalist is well-known in the jazz circuit and a well-loved vocalist in Durban. Her talents have taken her to Hamburg and Berlin, Germany and New Orleans, USA.


These concerts are supported by Concerts SA Digital Mobility Fund. Concerts SA is a live music project that has impacted over 12,000 artists and 900 venues across southern Africa. However, some of the venues have shut down due to the impact of COVID19 and subsequent lockdowns. Aimed at supporting live music, the Digital Mobility Fund finds its roots in the Concerts SA Music Mobility Fund. Initiated in 2013, with funding support for the pilot project from the British Council, the Music Mobility Fund offers opportunities for South African musicians to undertake music tours across southern Africa. Concerts SA opened the call for applications for the 2020 DIGITAL MOBILITY FUND in September 2020 and again in April and October this year to encourage ongoing' movement' in the locked-down music sector.

 he concerts take place at the Centre for Jazz and Popular Music, University of Kwa-Zulu Natal Howard College campus as follows:

November 3– Zoe the Seed

November 10– Neil Gonsalves

November 17– N’den

Doors open at 17h30 with the show starting at 18h00. Tickets R100. Booking is essential on email: