Goema Orchestra 2013 :: Meet the Composers

Mac McKenzie is the director of the Cape Town Composers’ Workshop, an incubator for emerging composers of Cape music. Formerly of the Genuines and Goema Captains of Cape Town, McKenzie is a self-taught composer. He stars in the award-winning documentary Mama Goema and is a regular guest in Basel, Switzerland, where he teaches and performs.

Born and raised in Belgrade, Serbia, Ana Strugar moved to Cape Town in 2010. She is a fervent and dedicated performer, composer, arranger and teacher. Strugar gains her inspiration from the fertile landscapes of jazz and classical music as well as the enchanting folklore of her homeland.

Mandla Mlangeni is a young, vibrant graduate of music composition from the University of Cape Town. A trumpeter, composer, bandleader and arranger, Mlangeni is a highly active collaborator and adept at many styles of music. He is also a strong believer in giving back to the community through voluntarily teaching.

A composer and multi-instrumentalist, Maxim Starcke writes for chamber ensembles and orchestra and performs live electro-acoustic improvised music. Interested in the intersection of art, music and performance, Starcke participates in multi-media collaborations and produces Cape soundscape music.

Jazz guitarist Keenan Ahrends is a graduate of the University of Cape Town and the Norwegian Academy of Music. Ahrends is an active teacher, composer and performer and has experienced a variety of international music platforms from touring with the National Youth Jazz Band in Sweden to participating in the Edge of Wrong Festival in Cape Town.

Amos Levin is a Wits University graduate and the Naledi Award-nominated composer of the orchestral musical Sauer Street. He is involved in education and is active in the production of devotional and commercial music. Levin has a deep affinity for orchestral instruments and makes his Goema Orchestra debut this season.

Posted in Events | Tagged | Leave a comment

Goema Orchestra :: Summer Season 2013

The Cape Town Goema Orchestra is happy to announce the dates of its Summer Season 2013 concerts. Orchestra performances are scheduled to take place on the first two Saturdays of November, showcasing a new batch of original compositions by six Cape Town composers. The Summer 2013 series is the Goema Orchestra’s first season to take place at the intimate Chisolm Room at the South African College of Music (University of Cape Town).

Founded on principles of fostering creativity and celebrating diversity, the Goema Orchestra provides an opportunity for emerging and established South African composers to platform their works. Established in 2010 under the auspices of the Cape Town Composers’ Workshop (a Section 21 Not-for-Profit Organisation), the project has gone from from strength to strength in its vision to elevate the profile of homegrown orchestral talents and foster a truly representative South African ouvre. Approaching music with this fresh and bold premise, the Goema Orchestra prides itself on being a classical ensemble that grooves.

While the works of musical director Mac McKenzie are most associated with the orchestra, the project has a much larger vision. Compositions to be played include works of Keenan Ahrends, the youngest of the composers. Mandla Mlangeni, Maxim Starcke and Serbian-born Ana Strugar return with new works for their third appearances while Amos Levin makes his Goema Orchestra debut. Mac McKenzie is scheduled to participate with a piece entitled “Cape Dance Variations.”

The project, now in its fourth year, is placing Cape Town firmly on the map in terms of fresh and inventive artistic and cultural output as a city that produces at least six new original symphonic works annually. The Cape Town Composers’ Workshop is currently planning to take a group of Goema Orchestra composers to Switzerland in early 2015. A Swiss Friendship Orchestra performed works by Mac McKenzie in 2012 and will do three concerts with him next year.

*******************************************************************************

Performances: Saturday 2 November 2013 & Saturday 9 November 2013

Venue: C7 Chisholm Recital Room, South African College of Music

Doors Open: 19h30 | Show Starts: 20h00
General Admission: R100 | Students & Pensioners: R70

Contact Renate McKenzie at the Cape Town Composers’ Workshop for bookings, general enquiries, composers’ bios, photos and further information:
Mobile: +27 (0)72 500 2204
Email: composers.workshop.ct@gmail.com

Posted in Events | Tagged | Leave a comment

Cape Town Celebrates Sathima :: 13, 14 & 16 July 2013

South Africa’s inimitable jazz vocalist and composer Sathima Benjamin returned to Cape Town in 2011 following 34 years in New York. Benjamin and former husband Abdullah Ibrahim moved to the United States with their two children in the wake of the 1976 Soweto Uprisings. Their relocation effectively became exile as the apartheid government revoked their citizenship for participating in cultural work for the liberation movement. This month, Cape Town celebrates Sathima Benjamin’s “homecoming” with series of events that include a live performance, a film screening and lots of great music.

Saturday 13 July 2013 :: African Songbird Relaunched

Recorded in the year preceding her departure from South Africa in 1977, African Songbird was Sathima Benjamin’s debut release and a canvas for her own compositions. Unavailable for over three and a half decades, June 2013 saw the release of Matsuli Music’s reissue of the landmark Afro-jazz long-player on vinyl, CD digipak and digital-download formats. To mark the occasion of the album’s relaunch, Sathima Benjamin & The Hilton Schilder Trio will perform at Tagore’s Jazz Bar on the evening of Saturday 13 July. The performance will be streamed online via Pan African Space Station Radio.

Sunday 14 July 2013 :: Sathima’s Windsong Film Screening

This 2010 film-portrait of jazz vocalist Sathima Benjamin traces her musical journey from Cape Town to New York City via an astonishing morning in a Parisian recording studio with Duke Ellington in 1963. A reflection on displacement, exile, longing and belonging, Sathima’s Windsong premiered at Cape Town’s Encounters International Documentary Film Festival in 2010 (Runner-Up Audience Award). This one-off 6.15pm screening at the Labia-on-Orange on Sunday 14 July sees filmmaker Daniel Yon and Sathima Benjamin in attendance for Q&A.

Tuesday 16 July 2013 :: Future Nostalgia Spins Afro-Jazz Classics

Cape Town’s vinyl enthusiast collective Future Nostalgia dedicates a night to classic South African jazz from African Songbird to Underground in Africa on Tuesday 16 July. Recordings from the As-shams label are sure to abound as Matsuli Music’s Matt Temple takes a guest slot on the decks. Future Nostalgia gatherings are held every Tuesday at the Mahogany Room from 8pm.

Sathima Benjamin & The Hilton Schilder Trio
O’Driscolls, Cape Town (May 2013) | Photos: Calum MacNaughton

Posted in Events | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Derek Gripper :: Jarabi (Toumani Diabaté)

Derek Gripper’s arrangement of Toumani Diabaté’s “Jarabi” at the Long Street Slave Church in Cape Town (May 2012). This performance sees a 21-string kora composition from Mali finding its expression on a six-string classical guitar at the same venue in which Diabaté performed in 2009. Gripper’s work as a “translator” of the West African kora appears on his 2012 album One Night on Earth: Music from the Strings of Mali and is available at New Cape Records on Bandcamp.

Catch Derek Gripper in Gauteng on Sunday 3 February 2013. There’s a “Bach meets Mali” recital at the Brooklyn Theatre at 3pm and the Joburg premier of Music from the Strings of Mali at The Lucky Bean at 8pm. Join the event on Facebook.

Posted in Albums | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Goema Orchestra :: South Atlantic Suite & Guest Composers

The December 2012 edition of the Cape Town Goema Orchestra showcases an expanded version of McKenzie’s “South Atlantic Suite” (which premièred in September 2012) as well as new orchestral works by Ana Strugar, Maxim Starcke, Reza Khota and Keenan Ahrends. December’s line-up also sees the exciting addition of jazz legend Sathima Bea Benjamin.

Continue reading

Posted in Events | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Mama Goema :: Sound on Screen Music Film Festival 2012

Sound on Screen Music Film Festival (SOS)
Johannesburg | The Bioscope | December 2012

The third installment of South Africa’s Sound On Screen Music Film Festival is based in Johannesburg for the first time this year! SOS 2012 takes place at the Bioscope during the first half of December and features Mama Goema on Sunday 2 December at 8pm.

Posted in Film Festivals | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Mama Goema :: UK Première | Scotland African Film Festival 2012

Click: Africa in Motion Scotland African Film Festival

Posted in Film Festivals | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Derek Gripper :: ’56 (Ali “Farka” Touré)

Derek Gripper launched the “digital” version of One Night on Earth: Music from the Strings of Mali at the South African Slave Church Museum in May 2012. Playful yet poignant, the album sees the unprecedented arrangement of 21-string West African kora music on six-string classical guitar, exploring the compositions of Mali’s Toumani Diabaté (who performed at the Slave Church in 2009). The album also features Ali “Farka” Touré’s “’56,” which is derived from a Guinean revolutionary song. From Conakry to Timbuktu to Cape Town, “’56” speaks of music’s ability to shrink time and space, uniting three seemingly disconnected African states and, coincidentally, a period of 56 years, into a single performance. Night on Earth is being released on CD this month and is available from New Cape Records on Bandcamp.

Posted in Albums | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Creative Week :: Open Film Night

Celebrating Creative Week, I did a presentation on “Documenting Cape Town” last night as part of a series of events curated by Lisa Huang & Ovidiu Pacuraru (Food & Chaatter) and hosted by Zavick Botha at Studio 41. Ben Hemson-Struthers of SAcamera was also a key player, introducing some awesome Sony gear (and even giving some of it away). The doc presentation touched on how to assemble a “guerrilla” filmmaking kit from enthusiast-level hardware to produce professional results, dipping into a personal arsenal that includes a Sony Handycam, a field-recorder and a home-made pair of “steady-wings” (pioneered by Leonard Helmrich). The workshop touched on Cape Town works that inspired and informed Mama Goema, including Silver Fez (Lloyd Ross & Rian Malan), Fokofpolisiekar (Bryan Little) and Sea Point Days (Francois Verster). Grab the hyperlinks to view respective film trailers on YouTube.

Posted in Events, Goema Roadshow | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Goema Orchestra :: Agent of Connectivity

For this month’s pair of Cape Town Goema Orchestra performances, I presented an update on Mama Goema and drew attention to the broader activities of the “goema movement.” I touched on the theme of connectivity and the idea of forging an inclusive global sound for the 21st century. I also acknowledged special guests Bongiwe Lusizi of u-Mthwa no Mthwakazi, who saw the show on 8 September, as well as jazz-giant Sathima Benjamin, who attended the 15 September performance. This is how it went:

Continue reading

Posted in Events, Goema Roadshow | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment