EPISODE 1: Gauteng Jazz Dynasty
Johannesburg, Joburg, Jozi , eGoli, eMshishi, kwaNdonga ziyaDuma, koJohana was founded in 1886, during the gold rush, and the ‘boomtown’ philosophy has never stopped. Although there may not be much gold left in the ground, Joburgers know gold is in the people’s hearts and that is why we have a saying here: “Vuka ugeze, ubangene.” Wake up wash and get out there. Johannesburg sits at the crossroads for Africa, the African Diaspora, the Middle East, Latin America, India and China. The energy, the cosmopolitan life, the multi-cultural melting pot of people, the thriving commercial hub and creative scene of the city is a powerful point of departure for the music creators. This has lead to the birth of some very important genres from Gauteng including Marabi, Sophiatown shuffle, Kwela, African Jazz, Afro-soul, bubblegum, Kwaito and House.
EPISODE 2: The Gideon Nxumalo story
Gideon Nxumalo is one of the most prolific composers from South Africa. From his Chopi origins to the creation of his famous Jazz Fantasia Orchestra and the countless composition composed whilst working at the SABC, Nxumalo’s contribution to our unique musical genius is still not as widely recognised as it can be. Drawing from the recent documentary by Glen Ubedje Masakoane and supplemented by a visit to the archive of his recordings and the recent work of the Soweto Jazz Orchestra to perform some of these recordings, this episode brings forward the legacy of the great Gideon Nxumalo.
EPISODE 3: Sibongile “MaMngoma” Khumalo –Choral, African Jazz and Opera
This tribute episode not only preserves the legacy of Sibongile Khumalo (24 September 1957 – 28 January 2021) but seeks into her greatest contribution of the furthering of our music through the combination of choral music, jazz and opera. We will seek to include peaks into her legendary career singing classical jazz, opera and traditional, winning multiple awards including Standard Bank and Ikhamanga, and performing at the inauguration of Nelson Mandela in 1994 and the Rugby World Cup Final. And we will seek to find the keys to her vocal abilities that mak the merger of choral music, jazz and opera possible.
EPISODE 4: Jonas Mosa Gwangwa – Remain true to your music heritage
This tribute piece is presented by Dr Same Mdluli of the Standard Bank Art Gallery profiling the life and contributions of Jonas Mosa Gwangwa (19 October 1937] – 23 January 2021) and his career as a South African Jazz musician, songwriter and producer, an important figure in South African jazz for over 40 years.
We will seek archive footage and photographs to showcase some of Gwangwa’s highlights as a trombone player with the Rev. Trevor Huddleston Band, Jazz Epistles, King Kong musical, Union of S,A. with Hugh Masekela and Caiphus Semenya, co-music scorer for the Cry Freedom film, Shakawe band leader in Botswana, Director of ANC’s Amandla Ensemble, and band leader in Joburg.
EPISODE 5: Barney Rachabane – Life is Jazz, Finish en Klaar!
This six decades of South African Jazz history is presented by Octavia Rachabane. She is busy with the autobiography of her father and will share the importance of his life journey to future generations. At age eight, Barney was a Kwela music penny whistle player with the Kwela Kids of Alexandra Township. Also had a stint with Mbaqanga music. For over 50 years, Rachabane played and recorded with almost all African Jazz musicians, exile musicians like Abdullah Ebrahim, Hugh Masekela and Caiphus Semenya. Rachabane played on Paul Simon’s Graceland tour — which lasted 20 years. The last gig was in 2012 in Amsterdam and Barney played tribute concerts up to 2016 in Scotland. We will seek archive footage to intersperse with this episode.
EPISODE 6: A tribute to Hugh Masekela – Trumpet King of African Music
This tribute episode will be presented by Fana Zulu, long time collaborator. He will tell the musical stories and highlights of the great career of Hugh Ramapolo Masekela (4 April 1939 – 23 January 2018). The educational elements will focus on some of Masekela’s well-known anti-apartheid songs such as Soweto Blues and Bring him back Home and his number one US pop hit in 1968 Grazing in the Grass. In 1985 Masekela founded the Botswana International School of Music (BISM), which held its first workshop in Gaborone in that year. Masekela taught the jazz course at the first workshop, and performed at the final concert. The event continues as the annual Botswana Music Camp, giving local musicians of all ages and from all backgrounds the opportunity to play and perform together.
EPISODE 7: The style of Kwela music presented by Kwela Tebza
"E Bops, kom maak gou -- hier kom die kwela kwela van!" - "Hurry up, here comes the police van" Kwela music is often said to represent the South African police van. This was a part of early South African culture as the van was used to terrorise not only shebeen queens, but all Africans. One of the founders of this unique musical sound was Big Voice Jack Lerole. Presented by Kwela Tebza - Kwela Tebza is a South African Kwela musical group of three brothers, Mpho, Tebogo, and Tshepo Lerole. They play penny whistles.
This video’s ambition is to include inserts from Chris du Plessis’s documentary film, The Whistlers, about Kwela music, Johnathan Dorfman’s documentary Back to Alexandra, which chronicles Lerole's US tour with Dave Matthews Band, and his return to South Africa, and Tomas Films’ documentary Big Voice Jack.
EPISODE 8: Lefifi Tladi Jazzoetry is my religion!
Lefifi Tladi is a Jazz poet, philosopher and painter. In 1969 he co-founded the jazz band, Malombo Jazz Messengers, which was later, called Dashiki Malopo, the trance-inducing music of the Bapedi, influenced Dashiki’s compositions. Tladi burst into the national South African political scene during the 1970s through participation in the Black Consciousness Movement’s cultural events. Groups such as MDALI, Batsumi, Malapanetharo, Black Arts Studios, and others around the country participated in the cultural events.
Also he has painted many Jazz images and dedications to his Jazz musician friends. Now based in Sweden Lefifi is working on a new project combining African proverbs and artworks. He is also performing and releasing Jazz poetry CDs with Swedish musicians.In this episode we collaborate with Dr Jane Rucell to profile the ideas and ideologies of a living legend.
EPISODE 1: Gauteng Jazz Dynasty