Concerts SA digital mobility fund recipients, vocalist Zoe The Seed, pianist Neil Gonsalves, and duo N’den partner to bring a series of three live performances to UKZN’s Centre for Jazz and Popular Music, in a resumption of the Centre’s popular trios concerts.  Their performances are scheduled for Wednesday, November 3rd, 10th and 17th respectively.  The concert series, dubbed Words & Music, features songs, new and old, timeless tales that echo anew in the troubled times we live in.

Jazz vocalist Zoe The Seed opens proceedings on Wednesday, November 3rd.  She is known for her beautiful sound, energy and a voice with the clarity and power of superstars such as Aretha Franklin.  On November 10th she combines forces with the erudite trumpet voice of Thabo Sikhakhane as the +2 in pianist Neil Gonsalves’ trio +2 project.  The trio is completed by drummer Riley Giandhari and bassist Talent Mbatha.  The series closes with Durban duo N’den, led by vocalist Thulile Zama, also known from Heels Over Head and pianist David Smith on the 17th of November.

The concerts are also being recorded and will be available for purchase from 17 November via ticketing platform.

Zoe The Seed. Picture by Simanga Zondo

Zoe The Seed is a jazz vocalist, music educator and performer.  Some of the most notable artists she has worked with include Ernest Dawkins, Salim Washington, Themba Mkhize, Alou April, Africa Mkhize, Ernie Smith and Nduduzo Makhathini.  She studied at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and obtained her bachelor’s degree in Jazz and Popular Music.  She also holds a certificate in education and is active in teaching private lessons to aspiring vocalists like herself.  Zoe The Seed has led her band for six years, performing her music and covers for venues and festivals all over the country.

“I appreciate and acknowledge the strides of women in leadership who have carried out change not only through words but also in their actions, like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Winnie Mandela, Sibongile Mazibuko, Zozibini Tunzi and many others, women have stood tall by addressing issues that affect people’s lives.  I also have immense respect for the women who nourished our souls with beautiful sounds and melodies like Dorothy Masuka, Letta Mbulu, Mama Africa and Sibongile Khumalo.  We have carried every word, and every sound and this will reflect in my performance”, Zoe said.  She will be joined by Thabo Sikhakhane on trumpet, Siyalo Zulu on trombone, Zibusiso Makhathini on keys, Dalisu Ndlazi on bass and Sbu Zondi on drums.

Neil Gonsalves Trio +2

Neil Gonsalves is a composer, pianist, bandleader and music educator who has toured the world with his music.  His latest album “Blessings and Blues” is a trio recording that was released in April 2021.  Neil employs a trio + concept, bringing additional musicians into the ensemble as and when the music requires, which is the case for this concert.  Zoe and Thabo are regular associates of the trio and the ensemble last performed together before the COVID.  So, a celebratory concert with feel-good melodies and grooves, and lyrics that tend to social commentary is in store.

N’den. Picture by Val Adamson

N’den is a musical duo consisting of vocalist Thulile Zama and pianist David Smith.  The duo met in the early 2000s while studying music at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.  Their humble musical beginning as a duo started with playing gigs in different restaurants and the corporate scene.  Smith has always had an undoubted passion for music and was a member of a very successful Jazz/Hip Hop band, Big Idea, that made waves throughout the country.  Zama, distinguished by her dazzling voice is the lead singer of the successful all-female contemporary jazz band Heels Over Head (best contemporary jazz nominees SAMA – 2011) (Yamaha Artist winners 2010).  This versatile vocalist is well-known in the jazz circuit and a well-loved vocalist in Durban.  Her talents have taken her to Hamburg and Berlin, Germany and New Orleans, USA.

These concerts are supported by Concerts SA Digital Mobility Fund.  Concerts SA is a live music project that has impacted over 12 000 artists and 900 venues across southern Africa.  However, some of the venues have shut down due to the impact of Covid19 and subsequent lockdowns.  Aimed at supporting live music, the Digital Mobility Fund finds its roots in the Concerts SA Music Mobility Fund.  Initiated in 2013, with funding support for the pilot project from the British Council, the Music Mobility Fund offers opportunities for South African musicians to undertake music tours across southern Africa.  Concerts SA opened the call for applications for the 2020 Digital Mobility Fund in September 2020 and again in April and October this year to encourage ongoing movement in the locked-down music sector.

The Centre for Jazz and Popular Music is located on Level 2, Sheptone Building at UKZN Howard College Campus.  Doors open at 5:30 pm and shows start at 6pm. Cover charge is R100. To make a booking, please send an email to