South African jazz musician Vuma Levin interviewed by CNN
Vuma Levin (Photo: Screengrab, CNN, Supplied)
Johannesburg - CNN’s African Voices, met musician Vuma Levin in Johannesburg, where he is putting his own South African spin on jazz.
In the past African Voices has spoken to other local celebs like Chef Siba Mtongana and musician Black Coffee.
In the interview with Vuma, he speaks about his upbringing, Joburg and loads more.
More about Vuma:
Known across the world as one of the continent’s most prominent jazz musicians, Levin explains how his interest in music began: "Somewhere in the back of my mind I always had this idea that I wanted to be a musician, but I didn't really know what it was all about. When I first started, it I did it because I wasn't a very cool teenager… What ended up happening was when I was 18, I was so pulled to music, the sound of it, and listening to it, I thought, ‘I really want to do this.'"
Eventually Levin would move towards playing jazz guitar, but African Voices hears how his instrument and genre choice was also heavily influenced by his family.
Levin tells CNN about his upbringing:
"My brother played guitar when I was a teenager and he was really somebody I looked up to and idolised. Because of his connection to music, I started playing guitar and figuring small things out for myself… When I started to get a little more seriously into guitar, I started to listen to blues music and I really liked the music of Jimi Hendrix and B.B King…
"There were a lot of times where I would listen to this music and there were certain sections where I would think ‘Wow, what is that harmonic thing that's happening? That's really incredible’."
More about where Vuma met with CNN and why is:
African Voices joins Levin and his band at the Native Yards near Cape Town, a venue which allows people to be exposed to genres they might not normally listen to, such as jazz. Levin tells the programme: "People have a tendency to think of them as sort of violent and volatile. This is just sort of giving a different view of those spaces, and allowing people to access those spaces who wouldn't ordinarily go into those areas. It’s basically trying to break down barriers of race and class."
When asked what he hopes to achieve with his music in the future, Levin explains to CNN:
“If I could boil it down to one fundamental thing, it would be to try and achieve this international standard of excellence, while at the same time drawing from local musical histories and local traditions. So that when people hear this music, they can instantly identify as something that is uniquely a South African cultural artefact.”