Liberation Concert celebrates Madiba’s legacy


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Zoe Modiga is one of the stars lined up for The Liberation Concert.
Zoe Modiga is one of the stars lined up for The Liberation Concert.

The Liberation Concert will celebrate Nelson Mandela’s legacy with song during Africa Month at The Joburg Theatre.

The Joburg Theatre, Department of Arts and Culture, National Arts Council and the ConsolatoGeneraleD’Italia – Johannesburg present: Africa Month Celebrations Celebrating Nelson Mandela’s Legacy from 23 May to 8 June 2018 on the Mandela stage.

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When the Organisation of African Unity (AU) was launched 54 years ago, it gave rise to the day that is commemorated as Africa Day, and 100 years ago the world-famous statesman Nelson Mandela was born.

The Liberation Concert at the Joburg Theatre on the Mandela stage on May 25, will for the first time see a fully-fledged South African cultural production involving artists from across the world in a once-off and unique performance, curated especially for Africa Month. Featuring a line-up of artists such as the Grammy award winning Juan de Marcos – architect of the Buena Vista Social Club, Mamelodi’s ‘The Voice’ Vusi Mahlasela, master kora player N’Faly Kouyate, Italian jazz singer Rossella Graziani, vocalist and percussionist Cyril Neville from New Orleans’ esteemed Neville Brothers, guitarist and producer Phil Manzanera of Roxy Music and Pink Floyd fame. Rapper Stilo Magolide whose lyricism and bars capture modern South African life also adds to the bill alongside composer Ernie Smith, singer Pu2ma Tiso and the SAMA nominated jazz vocalist Zoe Modiga.

Italian jazz singer Rossella Graziani will celebrate Mandela's Legacy in The Liberation Concert at Joburg Theatre
Italian jazz singer Rossella Graziani will celebrate Mandela’s Legacy in The Liberation Concert at Joburg Theatre

Celebrating Nelson Mandela’s Legacy during Africa and Youth Month, Joburg City Theatres in partnership with the Department of Arts and Culture and National Arts Council have invited the continent and its diaspora on a trans-African journey that celebrates African musicians and writers. The vision of the African Union is that of “an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the global arena.”

Ms Xoliswa Nduneni-Ngema, Chief Executive Officer at Joburg City Theatres says: “Africa Day is an opportunity for South Africans to reconnect and commit to a better Africa for all’.

Few, if any, of the towering figures of the 20th century have inspired as many people, or as many songs, as Nelson Mandela did in his lifetime. On what would have been his centennial birthday, it is worth pausing to consider not only the legacy and achievements of former South African president Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, but also on the rich musical associations in his life.

Laudable in his deeds, Madiba has long served as both cause and muse for many in the music community. Dating back to the 60s, when he was a political prisoner, right up to the fall of apartheid, he remains among the world’s most admired people, to date his name still prompting many a concert, songs and poems.

One such feat is The Liberation Project, a unique collaboration by a group of seasoned musicians from South Africa, Italy and Cuba who have come together to celebrate through song, liberation struggles from various parts of the world. With the main focus being on a reimagining of protest music from Cuba, Italy and South Africa, the concert also coincides with the launch of an international collaborative album ‘Songs That Made Us Free’ produced by Neill Solomon, Dan Chiorboli and guitarist Phil Manzanera of Roxy Music fame.

Hosted by The Liberation Project as the house band, the concert will also pay tribute and celebrate the lives and music of Ray Phiri and Hugh Masekela who used their voices to campaign against apartheid, thus playing significant roles towards the struggle for freedom in South Africa. Masekela’s ‘Soweto Blues’ and Phiri’s ‘Brothers in Freedom’ can also be found on the record, the latter to which Bra Ray’s vocal and guitar work can be heard and had contributed a few weeks before he passed.

Workshops prior to the concert around Johannesburg will be conducted by these acclaimed musicians in a bid to impart skills and share knowledge with the young.

The Liberation Project Band is made up of Giuseppe Cotumaccio (MD, Keyboards & Vocals), Neill Solomon (Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, and Piano), Tebogo Sedumedi (Vocals & Bass), Dan Chiorboli (Percussion), Peter Djamba (Drums), Tony Cedras (Accordion, Trumpet& Piano), Keeran Eshwarlall (Sufi Vocals, Harmonium & BulBul Tarang), Zoe Modiga (Vocals) & Pu2ma Tiso (Vocals) as well as a horn section led by Dan Selsick. Ernie Smith appears as a special guest on guitar.

The Liberation Concert is conceptualised & produced by The Joburg Theatre, National Arts Council, Consolato Generale D’Italia and Department of Arts & Culture with Roshnie Moonsamy and Dan Chiorboli.

The show starts at 20:00 and tickets cost R150. All ticket queries can be directed to the website or call 0861 670 670.

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