International Musicians at UKZN’s Mandela Centenary Concert
The Centre for Jazz and Popular Music boasted Swedish musician and composer Mr Stefan Johnsson, SA Jazz pianist and UKZN alumnus Mr Melvin Peters and internationally acclaimed bassist Mr Bob Sinicrope of the United States for its Mandela Centenary Concert 14 March.
Visiting musicians were joined on stage by jazz students under the tutelage of lecturer Mr Burton Naidoo. All performance pieces were dedicated to Nelson Mandela.
The concert featured 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,’ said Johnsson. ‘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. 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,’ he said.
His piece is written for choir soprano, alto, tenor, and bass horn sections, piano, bass, and percussion, which was led by UKZN Music students. Poetry included in the composition is by Andrew Motion, Nasibu Mvanukuzi, Kilian Mc Donell and Marianne Williamsen.
Sinicrope and Peters first worked together in 1998 when Peters was on a scholarship at Harvard University in the United States. Sinicrope invited Peters to join his World Leaders band and they performed in Boston at the prestigious school, Milton Academy, where Sinicrope is currently the Director of Jazz Studies.
For the performance at UKZN, they were joined by guest trumpet player Johnsson as well as horn players Salim Washington and Jeff Robinson, who have lectured at UKZN. Drummer Bruce Baker of Durban completes the line-up.
The programme featured a wide variety of music, ranging from jazz standards to arrangements of well-known tunes by Abdullah Ibrahim.
Words: Melissa Mungroo