Born To Be Black – A Celebration of Conscious Soul

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Born To Be Black - A celebration of Conscious Soul. Photographer: Solomon Moremong - Johannesburg.
Born To Be Black – A celebration of Conscious Soul. Photographer: Solomon Moremong – Johannesburg.

Born To Be Black is intended to be a proclamative journey of musical meditation and healing. A journey into the less travelled.

Musical territories where sonic realms are constantly in flux. Ours is a canvas of our imagination where our colours are hues of an ascending melodic line or the crescendo of boisterous horns grooving to the syncopated rhythms of a new song. The assemblage of such diverse musicianship will attract a wide patronage of artists and aficionados.

Born to Be Black is the culmination of an endeavour to bring a journey of musical fireworks from an intergenerational dialogue between the intense piano improvisations of Andile Yenana and the extraordinary dynamic range of South African percussionists Louis Moholo-Moholo, who played a pivotal role in the influential community of South African exiles who transformed the evolution of British jazz from the 60’s and revered American jazz firebrand saxophonist and educator Prof. Salim Washington. All three figures remain massive figures in the South African music landscape – this progressive collaboration of masters is also paired with the audacious and far-reaching musical musings of the Amandla Freedom Ensemble led by young trumpeter Mandla Mlangeni.

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Veteran South African drummer Louis Tebogo Moholo Moholo returned to his homeland in 2005 and will be revisiting the anthemic and freewheeling improvisations that will be delivered during September (Heritage Month) by an exceptional assemblage of young and old at sought after performance venues in South Africa and abroad.

We invite you to join the journey of a unique musical offering between the Amandla Freedom Ensemble, Louis Moholo, Salim Washington and Andile Yenana presented at the following:
– Thursday 1 September 18:00 Newtown Junction
– Friday 2 September 18:00 Luthuli Museum Kwa Dukuza
– Saturday 3 September 23:00 The Chairman Durban
– Wednesday 07 September Wits Great Hall lunchtime Concert
– Thursday 8 – Saturday 10 September De Aar Youth Precinct (Youth advocacy and workshops)
– Friday 16 September 18:00 Stirling High School Auditorium
– Wednesday 21 September Centre for African Studies University of Cape Town featuring Paul van Kamenade (Netherlands)
– Sunday 25 September Soweto Theatre special guest Paul van Kamenade)
– Friday 30 September CCFM (Mozambique)
– Saturday 1 October Gil Vicente (Mozambique)
– Sunday 2 October Rainbow Restaurant

The Amandla Freedom Ensemble have in recent years positioned themselves as a musical tour de force with an original cultural identity and agenda of creating new music that speaks to both young and old. Described by the Jazz Times (USA) as an “urban arts ensemble which wraps elliptical melodies in three-part harmonies, rich with impasto, swinging like broken chandeliers.”

The ensemble has extensively performed within the SADC regions and to date they have participated at the Harare International Festival of Arts in Zimbabwe, the MTNBushfire Festival in Swaziland and subsequent tours in Maputo, Mozambique. The AFE have concluded the extensive run in a culmination of performances at several music festivals such as the Fete de la Muziq and the Standard Bank Jazz Festival in Grahamstown. A successful CD launch and a subsequent nomination for Best Jazz Album has seen a deluge of collaborations and performances with many and diverse artists such as Afrika Mkhize, Herbie Tsoaeli, Mark Fransman and several notable engagements position the ensemble at the forefront in creating an original platform to showcase new and original sounds. The Amandla Freedom Ensemble is steadily capturing the attention of many jazz patrons and new audiences wherever it performs. Born To Be Black draws on an exciting and vibrant group of musicians with an appetite for different genres in a setting primed for all kinds of audiences.

Featured Soloists:
Louis Moholo (drums) Andile Yenana (piano), Prof. Salim Washington (bass clarinet, flute and oboe)

Amandla Freedom Ensemble:
Mandla Mlangeni (trumpet) Nhlanhla Mahlangu, Oscar Rachabane, Sisonke Xonti (saxophones) Gontse Makhene (percussion) Ariel Zamonsky (bass) Tumi Mogorosi (drums)

Born To Be Black: A Celebration of The Conscious Soul is a vision which encompasses the echoes of South African township groove and no-holds-barred freedom alongside the vibrant and mesmerising chants of the drums. In the rich jazz history of old lions making inspired new music with a young ones, ‘Born To Be Black’ is in every way a proclamation of our rich musical history.

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