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: Kwela Kwela Hurry and Move

JKwela music is often said to represent the South African police van, coming from the phrase: "E Bops, kom maak gou -- hier kom die kwela kwela van!" - "Hurry up, here comes the 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 whose legacy has been preserved in a number of dicumentaries including the Tomas Films’ documentary “Gold, tears and Music”. In this episode we will combine archive footage together with the live performance and interview with Kwela era pennywhistlers

King Kong Legacy with Adam Glasser

Adam Glasser hopes that an official organisation, like the UK’s Associated Board Royal Schools of Music [ABRSM] could create a syllabus of South African jazz standards. He says, “sort out the licensing and make the lead sheets available as well as the original versions of the songs available in every primary school, high school and university.” With the harmonica as his instrument he has worked tirelessly to this end holding workshops between UK and SA to teach the magic of South African jazz music.

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.

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.

Khaya Mahlangu : Soweto BeJazzled!

Khaya Mahlangu is the founder of the youth Soweto Jazz Orchestra. His career spans the fulcrum of Soweto Jazz. Born in 1954 he played the bugle in the Boys Scouts and later picked up the trumpet in 1971,under Phineas Molefe Phetho in a program run by Professor Khabi Mngoma. In 1972 he switched to saxophone. In 1975, he joined a band called Harari, led by his uncle, Selby Fikile Ntuli, a keyboard player. In 1976 he joined a resident band of The Pelican. In 1977 he decided to study at the University of Zululand under Professor Khabi Mngoma until 1979. 1980 he joined a prolific band called Spirits Rejoice led by tenor great Duku Makasi. 1981 he founded a band with Sipho Gumede called Sakhile and recorded four albums and a solo album. He was the musical director of “BeJazzled” a Jazz TV program. The profile looks at his career with a view to the future generations he is mentoring through the Soweto Jazz Orchestra.

Johnny Dyani: Jazz Against Apartheid

One of the great proponents of South African Jazz is the late Johnny “Mbizo” Dyani. This bass player, composer and original member of the Blue Notes died in exile in Germany. He was performing at the inaugural “Jazz Against Apartheid” event, an initiative he had founded when he called to the audience, “Think” and then collapsed on stage.

EPISODE 8 A history of music exploitation

Now, to succeed in a music career we need to develop a holistic approach and know-how for every aspect of the industry. The Know-how that sits between knowledge, skills, training and qualification should be adopted to build more functioning creative business in the fragmented and contradictory, yet exciting and fertile place called the music industry.