The Centre for Jazz and Popular Music at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) will host a performance by The Truth Junkies on Wednesday 11 March 2020.  In a post truth world where a recent Time Magazine cover chillingly asks “Is Truth Dead?” came The Truth Junkies.  Fake news, fake qualifications, deep fakes, and you realize that the only truth that is left to us, is music.  They crave truth, they crave music. They are The Truth Junkies.

With their roots firmly in the electronic combination of South African traditional forms as well as American jazz, the Truth Junkies are exploring a sound that is truly reflective of our country’s jazz.  The melding of the sound of Umakhweyana boy with conventional or else three guitars is also another deviation from the tried and tested. With such strong improvisers in the line-up, the music has to give that platform for those voices to shine.

Marius Botha studied playing fretless bass under Marc Duby and Joe Delew, spent 8 years as a “Utensil” in Syd Kitchen’s band called Syd Kitchen and The Utensils.  In 2016, Marius decided to move to guitar, creativity flowed, news compositions emerged and the need for an outlet became paramount.  He co-produced Madala Kunene’s 1959, recollections of forceful removals (Back in Kitomena) co-wrote and produced Lu Dlamini in the same year.

The Truth Junkies were obvious choices by Marius himself to help him realize the noises of our city, cries of our nation, calling for a rich and tasteful Durban mixed masala. From being a leader of 270-strong choir at Port Natal High School – Durban “I knew music brought me peace ever since”, Marius said.  After studying education at UKZN and through UNISA, Marius worked at Durban’s Coastal Music between 1985 and 1991 where he got inspired to build own guitars and assemble own sound system which is still in good use today. The guitar doctor – guitar building – designs and repairs business was born.  Now he successfully runs The Headroom Studio, a favourite recording and production facility in Durban.

Lu Dlamini has grown into one of South Africa’s premier artists.  Her previous release “Ulimlam”  will in future be a reference work in UNISA’s new course called African Composition, a recognition well deserved.  Apart from the fact that she has quietly become a unique voice as Umakhwenyana player, she has also honed an impressive guitar playing skill.  Once again her beautifully unorthodox style is unique.  Performing with The Truth Junkies has allowed Lu to showcase these faces of Lu Dlamini with strong new material.

Nick Pitman is a guitarist, producer, and music teacher with over 10 years of experience as a recognized musician within the city’s vibrant performance scene.  He has a sharp aptitude for blending and bending genre conventions, as evident in his latest single “Rollercoaster” featuring Nosihe Zulu.  Riley Giandhari was born in Durban, South Africa.  He started playing drums at the age of 3 and was mainly inspired by his father Pravin Giandhari who is also a professional drummer.

At the age of 15, Riley started playing the drums at church and with a few gospel bands.  Although he has considered degrees in other fields of study, he has always been drawn back to music and therefore enrolled to study Jazz at UKZN in 2013. Apart from studying music, he is currently a session drummer who records and performs with various musicians and artists.  Riley has performed with artists such as Hugh Masekela, Neil Gonsalves, Brian Simpson, Mike Del Ferro and Raphael Clarkson.  He also teacher drums at Kearsney College and gives private lessons in drums, keyboard, and music theory.  Riley’s debut album “A Groove for the Nation” was released in 2019 and received positive reviews from critics.

Ntobeko Shandu is from Inanda, North of Durban is a talented young musician whose accompaniment skills belies his age.  Popularly known as Ntobass his bass playing reminds listeners of a young Sipho Gumede with a rootsy melodic sense.  He has played with the likes of saxophonist Mfana Mlambo, and is also a member of Lu Dlamini’s band.  His session skill has graced many records.  The Centre for Jazz and Popular Music is located on Level 2, Shepstone Building at UKZN Howard College Campus. Cover charge is R90 for general admission, R60 for pensioners and R30 for students.  Doors open at 17h30 and the concert starts at 18h00.