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Space is the Place

2009-07-24 08:23
Pan African Space Station
The Pan African Space Station (PASS) is an annual 30-day music intervention on the internet and in venues across greater Cape Town from September 12 to October 12. Now in its second year, PASS continues its cross-cultural and cyber-spatial exploration, bringing together diverse pan-African sounds from ancient grooves to future hip-hop.
PASS Radio, a unique freeform music radio station, returns to launch the station with 30 days of cutting edge music streamed live via the internet. The station features guest DJs, themed shows, live performances and readings, tributes, debates, sound art, speeches, interviews and much, much more. Highlights on this year's broadcast programme include Songs for Biko, a 24-hour praise party for Steve Biko on 12 Sept (Biko Day) and Songs for Bheki, a musical tribute to the late South African philosopher and musician Bheki Mseleku, which closes the live music component on October 4. Visit to view last year’s programming and listen to archived "PASS Casts" including radio mixes, talks and performances by acts at last year's festival.

Between October 1 – 4, 2009, PASS II plays host to genre-busting music outfits from global Africa dedicated to exploring new musical territory. Acclaimed Kora maestro Toumani Diabaté mediates traditions inherited from Mali's ancient Mandé empire through globe trotting jazz, blues and electro frequencies in his first ever South African performance. Expect an equally courageous and spiritual performance from African Queen of Ndebele music, guitarist Nothembi Mkhwebane.

9-piece, Chicago-based jazz troubadours Hypnotic Brass Ensemble remap the street-music tradition that runs from jazz's earliest days through free-jazz, dub and hip-hop into a rowdy, rousing party-music script. A collaboration with South African avant rock icons Blk Jks promises to make this a wild and inventive 12-piece sonic experience! The other big band on the bill is Cameroonian funk-master Franck Biyong and Massak the Afroletric Orchestra who reimagine Afro-Beat via fearless forays into jazz, electronica, soul and hip-hop.

L.A. native Ras G and the Afrikan Space Program bring interstellar beats and dub grooves best described as Sun Ra meets Lee "Scratch" Perry at Zanzibar's legendary Culture Musical Club. And Ghanaian 'afro-punk' Wanlov the Kubulor's "pidgin music" blends gritty Jamaican dub liquidity and socially engaged lyrics into an alternate music history.

The festival also features a series of new collaborations between South African musicians. Multi-talented jazz vocalist and trombone player Siya Makuzeni adds adventurous sonic textures to world-renowned drummer and percussionist Barry van Zyl's southern African sound-rhythm stew, Boboti. Elsewhere, politically engaged, slamming poetic jazz upstarts Udaba are joined by Hymphatic Thabs, a Joburg MC know for his forward-thinking beats and welded-to-the-rhythm lyrical flow.

In addition, the festival will includes a collaborative, experimental chorale work based on the novella War Chorale by pioneering Chilean academic, visionary, writer and revolutionary Fernando Alegría, with composition by acclaimed composer, producer and musician Bheki Khoza. The live music component PASS again takes place in a series of different venues across greater Cape Town, engaging diverse together audiences and provoking new forms of creative expression and social mobilization that that foregrounding history and memory as well as agency and difference. Audiences will travel from St Georges Cathedral, Michaelis/UCT and the Slave Church in the city centre to Guga S'thebe in Langa and All Nations Club in Salt River.

PASS is an initiative of the Africa Centre in partnership with Heliocentrics (Ntone Edjabe and Neo Muyanga). For more information contact: email or PASS Website 

Grammy-winning Malian Kora maestro Toumani Diabaté and psychedelic rock movers 'n shakers Blk Jks spearhead a genre-busting cast of musical Afronauts performing at this year's Pan African Space Station music festival.
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