This is the product of a vibrant exchange of musical ideas between musicians from both countries and sees this seemingly audacious pairing as a progressive charting of new musical conversations. Set in the backdrop of the lush savannah contrasted with Gregorian harmony, sounds reminiscent of the Baptist church and Bra Joe at the stokvel; this multifaceted collaboration between the Swiss and South African musicians is set to break new grounds in the pairing of two distinct and yet seemingly dissimilar worlds. The Mill’s debut album, When The Wind Blows: swings wherever the wind blows and is firmly rooted in the tradition of its sound.
On this current excursion, Mandla Mlangeni, the 2019 Standard Bank Young Artist For Jazz curates the band’s first African inspired album “When The Wind Blows”, an offering that is the result of a three-date engagement in one of Joburg’s most happening live music venues. And thus the outcome is the sonic manifestation of an artistic vision that aims to facilitate new creative expression and cultural participation through music.
The album is set to premiere at the 20th Cape Town International Jazz Festival and several other venues in and around Southern Africa; making this a great platform to showcase new and original material by established practitioners of the jazz idiom. All performances have been specially curated towards raising the profile of this unique collaboration and also create a direct link towards the creation and performance of new and exciting work.
Through a series of concerts, spread over the course of ten days, The Mill will begin their tour at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival, The Chairman in Durban, The Culinary Club, Just Badela, Centre Culturo Franco Mozambique, Maputo and The Mbabane Theatre Club, eSwatini. Each performance will cater to the communities and audiences within their scope. Each artist in the program will have an opportunity to present works in various forms. There will be of course variations in presenting the program, as there will be a mixture of solo, full ensemble and experimental works.
“This can be an amazing opportunity for us: to perform for our peers, see what other artists are doing, and be part of an event that takes us beyond our comfort zones as performing musicians and composers. By bringing the best of what the unique collaboration has to offer, this project will both help strengthen our reputation and provide us with an unparalleled experience” notes Mandla Mlangeni, co-founder of the ensemble.
Ticket prices for each show vary and bookings can be made by contacting the venues.
The Mill’s “When The Wind Blows” Album Launch Tour is generously supported Pro Helvetia Johannesburg: which has for some time been investing in transnational collaborations, exchanges and joint projects among organisations and creative practitioners. With support from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). Their investments are focused on projects, networks and platforms that have a shared interest in building a stronger regional creative fabric.
Fri 29 March 2019 CTIJF, Cape Town, www.computicket.co.za
Sat 30 March 2019 The Chairman, Durban (23:00), R150, 079 753 6313
Sun 31 March 2019 SA culinary club, Hobart Square, Bryanston (15:00), R450 (CD included), 082 818 2338
Mon 01 April 2019 Just Badela, Matipa St, Orlando West, Soweto (20:00), R200, 083 425 6283
Fri 05 April 2019 CCFM, Avenida Samora Machel, Maputo, Mozambique (20:30), MT500, +258 21314590
Sat 06 April 2019 The Jazz Gallery, Theatre Club, Mbabane, (19:00), E150, +268 2404 1068
Mandla Mlangeni (Trumpet)
Trumpeter-composer, a bandleader with a host of skills ranging from teaching, performing to arranging and composing in diverse styles of music. Amongst other activities, he is currently involved in composing and performing music with several projects in South Africa and abroad.
Marco Müller (Double Bass)
Born in Freiburg in 1980. At 6 years of age, he started playing the violin. He has pursued his studies at The Academy of Freiburg in 2000. Majoring in double bass. In 2007 He obtains in his diploma of double bass at the Swiss Jazz School in Bern.
Matthias Tschopp (Alto and BaritoneSaxophone)Born 1983 in Zurich, Switzerland, Matthias studied Jazz Pedagogy and Performance at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts. His teachers were among others Nat Su, Steffen Schorn, and Herwig Gradischnig. He studied also several months in Barcelona with Jorge Rossy, Ernesto Aurinac. In New York with Scott Robinson and Chris Cheek. Matthias Tschopp is a member of the Swiss Jazz Orchestra and currently working with ensembles lead by Tim Garland, Marianne Racine, Yves Theiler, Rainer Tempel, and others.
Fabian Willman (BassClarinet and Tenor Saxophone)
From 2011 to 2015 Fabian Willmann studied Jazz-Saxophone with Prof. Domenic Landolf and Prof. Adrian Mears at the music academy of Basel as well as Musicology at the Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg as a scholar of the German National Academic Foundation.
Florian Egli (Soprano and Alto Saxophones)
Born in Trasadingen (Schaffhausen) in 1982 and grew in a musical family. From a very young age, he learnt the piano and recorder. At the age of eleven, he started playing the saxophone. As a teenager, he collected some experience on stage and in the studio with the Band Moondogs.
Yonela Mnana (Piano and Vocals)
The Jazz pianist and scholar is no stranger to South African audiences. Yonela’s love for composing and arranging has been the main force behind the Mill’s debut album. Born blind in the Transkei in 1983, Mnana was to witness the stirrings of his musical destiny at Siloe School in Polokwane where he did most of his formative learning. Eventually enrolling at the University of the Witwatersrand, Yonela Mnana studied classical piano under pianists Marian Friedman and Malcolm Nay before he turned to jazz studies with Professor Christine LUCIA, Dr Nishlyn Ramanna, Mncedisi Kupa.
Siya Makuzeni (Trombone and Vocals)
Siya is a professional South African trombone player, vocalist, lyricist and songwriter who has regularly collaborated with A-list South African musicians such as Marcus Wyatt, Themba Mkhize, McCoy Mrubata, Feya Faku, Frank Opperman, Tlale Makhene, Khaya Mahlangu, Sibongile Khumalo, and many more.
Kesivan Naidoo (Drums)
Few musicians bring the experience of freedom—of living in a world that is open and limitless—as intimately as South African jazz drummer and composer Kesivan Naidoo. His music has been hailed by critics as “majestic playing, mind-blowing listening” and “the birth of a new South African jazz sound”. As one of the first non-white students in a formerly white school, Kesivan grew up in the 1990s surrounded by grunge rockers.
Vuma Levin (Guitar)
Born a South African and raised during the unstable interregnum years of Post-Apartheid South Africa, Guitarist Vuma Ian Levin’s music is an attempt to interrogate conceptions of identity, nation, culture, power and being both globally and in the emergent, post-1994 South African Democratic project. According to The Mail and Guardian, “Vuma Levin is destined to be one of South African jazz’s greatest musicians”. Beginning his studies in jazz at age 18, Vuma received lessons from the South African Jazz guitar legend, Johnny Fourie. He completed a National Diploma at the Tshwane University of Technology going on to be presented with the best Guitarist Award (2008).