Ahead of Africa Day, Centre for Jazz and Popular Music and iSupport Creative Business in association with Casio are presenting 3 African nationalities as part of the 7th online concert taking place on Wednesday 20 May 2020.  This week’s edition will feature Legon Palmwine Band from Ghana, Frank Paco from Mozambique and the Durban based Umkhumbane Jazz Ensemble.  All 3 artists will present the audience with a 20-minute set.

Legon Palmwine Band

This outfit is a young and exciting exponent of the palmwine music tradition and their appearance on the local music scene in the Ghana seem to have revitalized a music tradition that was on the brink of fading.  The band consists of a dynamic and versatile group of young men whose love for music and their cultural heritage has led them to carry on the works of pioneers of palmwine music such as the legendary Koo Nimo.

Legon Palmwine Band brings a contemporary interpretation to a music tradition that is characterized by intricate rhythmic fingerpicking which is fused with indigenous Akan “anansesem” storytelling style, and laced with local Akan vocal harmonies.  This band is well established on the live scene of Accra and has featured on CNN’s inside Africa, as well as participated in the 10th African Cultural Calabash festival in Durban.

They are currently preparing to launch their maiden project, titled “Legon Abrabo” (university life), their first single “Otonkarowa” has captured many audiences both local and international.  The members of the band are Samuel Agyeman Boahen on guitar and vocals; Edwin Akwei Brown on kpanlogo drums (percussion); Seth Kpodo on vocals and frikyiwa (castanet); Albert Owusu Brown on vocals, shakers and premprensiwa; and Eric Sunu Doe on guitar, premprensiwa and vocals.

Drummer Frank Paco

Umkhumbane Jazz Ensemble

This is a group from Durban, formed out of musical influences of ‘Umkhumbane Settlement’, currently known as Cato Manor, on the western part of Durban.  Senior members of the band learned their trade in Umkhumbane and plied their trades in Durban YMCA and ‘eMathilamini’ (Trams Durban Bus Depot), which were the only musical venues available to them in the fifties.

They are set up on marabi music style with strong big band influence.  Their repertoire is dominated by music of the late 50’s mixed with big band selection and UJE members’ compositions.  UJE has decided to rescue this music style before it gets lost.  UJE fans also enjoy original compositions by various musicians of UJE.  The music style of UJE also brings you back to the vibes of Sophiatown and District Six.

UJE participated in a major Jazz Stage of ESSENCE Durban Festival 2016 at The Playhouse Opera Theatre.  The band was also part of the Dim-Dep World Environment Celebration Programme also at The Playhouse Opera Theatre.  They are regularly featured at the annual Hazelmere Dam Jazz Festivals, Ugu Jazz Festivals, Umlazi Jazz Festivals and the Durban July Handicap.  UJE’s special achievement is the release of their debut album “Ezintabeni”, which got nominated for SATMA Awards 2017.  The album was officially launched in Rainbow Restaurant and Jazz Club.

Frank Paco

Well loved Mozambican drummer Frank Paco has worked as a session musician and is featured on more than 60 albums, ten of which won awards.  The first of his solo albums titled “Buyanini” was released in 2014.  Vocalist Zoë Modiga renders a brilliant lyrical performance in the tune “Msukungibambezela”.  A funding he received from Concerts SA made it possible for the debut album to be recorded and released.

Paco’s second album “New Horizons” came out in 2016 where he worked closely with Aki Khan.  He has performed at several prestigious festivals including International Opus Pocus Festival, Copenhagen Jazz Festival, Klosters Music Festival with Virtual Jazz Reality, New Orleans Jazz Festival, North Sea Jazz Festival, Lugano Jazz Fest, Nantes World Music Festival, and Wörsburg Africa Day World Music Festival.

In 2002, Frank was invited to join Sheer All Stars which included McCoy Mrubata, Paul Hanmer, Sipho Gumede and Errol Dyers.  Later Hanmer was replaced by Wessel Van Rensburg and Louis Mhlanga.  The outfit won the South African Music Award (SAMA) for Best Traditional Jazz.  Paco was part of the recording of Jimmy Dludlu’s debut album “Echoes from the Past”, a 1998 release which won the SAMA for Best Male Jazz Artist.  He was also part of Dludlu’s 2005 release titled “Corners of My Soul” which won the Best Jazz Album.

To watch the concert there is a minimum charge of R40 and tickets are available on Webtickets.  The full contribution of the audience will go straight to the artists in an effort to support and sustain South Africa’s beloved musicians during this testing time. Musicians can submit a video that is created especially for the concert, which is likely to be solo performance or very small ensemble in this period of social distance.  You can also submit previously recorded videos that are not widely available on the Internet, and are part of your personal archive.

Get your ticket on www.webtickets.co.za where you can also get a monthly concert pass and donate. Link will be sent at 6pm, audience can watch at their convenience.