Striking an indigenous chord

2017-11-05 06:05

Johannesburg - The US embassy chose the sophisticated Orbit Jazz bistro in Braamfontein, Johannesburg, to announce the injection of about R1.2 million for the preservation initiative of indigenous southern African music, which is run by the Southern African Music Rights ­Organisation (Samro).

The parties signed the agreement and got rid of formalities in lightning speed to enable the guests, who were mostly musicians from all genres, to pop champagne with jammers, and entertain guests with jazz and fusion serenades. Award­-winning ­pianist, composer and producer Bokani Dyer was also tapping his foot.

Samro Foundation managing director Andre le Roux said the event symbolised the cultural relations between South Africa and the US. The funds will assist Samro Music Archive’s I AM project to transcribe and document Southern African indigenous music.

He said South Africa had an identity and humanity crisis as there was no rainbow nation or Nelson Mandela to bind its people. But through music, art and culture South Africa could heal itself somehow.

Jessye Lapenn, US embassy chargé d’affaires, said preserving and sharing musical heritage through the partnership with Samro would help strengthen ties between South Africa and the US. The embassy was accessing resources from the Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation, which was established in 2001, for South African music and musicians to benefit.

It was not just musicians that graced the occasion. City Press also noted lecturer in music composition and theory at Wits University Andile Khumalo, who is a co-chair at Jiwa Music, a non-profit organisation dedicated to promoting and archiving African music.

He told City Press that the funding was awarded partly because of Jiwa Music’s contribution. “This is an important initiative that allows us to have literature documenting South African composers. We are going to document all African music irrespective of the genre, not only traditional music.”

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