Free concert to celebrate traditional instruments

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MIA ConcertThree giants of indigenous African music are set to stage a memorable free concert at the Wits Theatre in Johannesburg on 25 November.Multi-award-winning South African musician Dizu Plaatjies, Senegalese Kora maestro Noumoucounda Cissokho and prolific Durban musician Bavikile “MaBhengu” Ngema, will showcase traditional African instruments at the event dubbed “Traditional Instruments Concert”.

The concert is part of the Music In Africa Foundation’s Instrument Building And Repair Project, which aims to foster the professionalism of instrument making and repair in Africa, especially in relation to indigenous instruments. Performances will be preceded by a short panel discussion on traditional music and instruments.

Cape Town-based Dizu Plaatjies is one of the most prolific South African musicians who specialise in traditional African instruments. Over the past three decades he has toured extensively across the globe, winning numerous awards and fans. Dizu is also the founder of the internationally celebrated marimba group, Amampondo, with which he worked for 15 years, releasing seven successful albums.

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Noumoucounda is a stage master in the line of griots in Senegal. He has played all over the world and collaborated with some of the biggest musicians, including Baaba Maal, Youssou N’Dour, Ky-Mani Marley, and more recently Stromae on the hit album, Racine carrée. Noumoucounda comes from a family of talented artists. His father, Banna Cissoko, was a famous kora player and one of the pillars of Senegal’s national orchestra. A master of the stage, Noumoucounda fuses Senegal’s traditional music with modern styles such as reggae and rap.

Bavikile Ngema has made a name for herself as a composer and performer. She specializes on Nguni musical bows (the umakhweyana and umqangala). She also plays harmonica and jaws-harp. Learning to play by watching and imitating her sisters, Bavikile’s uniquely extended umakhweyana playing technique elicits a fourth fundamental note from the single-stringed instrument. Her acute rhythmic, melodic and contrapuntal sensibility lends a palpable, youthful vibrancy to her original compositions and interpretations of traditional Nguni repertoires.

The Music In Africa Foundation’s Instrument Building And Repair workshop will take place in Johannesburg from 18 – 26 November. The aim of the workshop is to train participants to build and repair musical instruments, as well as to monetise the craft. 22 participants from South Africa will exchange with four instrument makers from Kenya, Ethiopia, Ghana and the Central African Republic, under the guidance of four trainers; Luigi Marucchi, Mpho Molikeng, Christian Carver and Bavikile Ngema.

The project is funded by the National Lottery Commission (NLC). Partners include SAMRO Foundation, Wits School of Arts, Goethe-Institut and Siemens Stiftung.

Traditional Instruments Concert
Date: Friday 25 November 2016
Venue: Wits Theatre
Time: 19h30
RSVP: projects@musicinafrica.net by 24 November

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