Trombonist Kgethi Nkotsi brings lots of sweetness to KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) this weekend as he launches his debut album titled “Maswitsi”. The first concert is on Saturday 18 December at Alliance Française Durban and the second concert is on Sunday at the Luthuli Museum in Groutville.  This is an album jazz enthusiasts have been waiting in anticipation for its release after the Tembisa born trombonist made the announcement.

“Maswitsi” consists of Kgethi’s original compositions.  Maswitsi is a colloquial name for sweets.  His music concentrates in the township lifestyle, township childhood games, humour, children, colours and sweets.  Joining him on stage will be saxophonist Leon Sharnick, bassist Blessing Twala, pianist Zibusiso Makhathini and drummer Sbu Zondi.  Kgethi once said he introduces himself to other musicians not only by his name but through playing the trombone.  “If I just tell them who I am and don’t display my skill, they are likely to forget about me”, he said.

Trombonist Kgethi Nkotsi. Picture by Lindo Mbhele

He started playing the trombone at the age of 16.  Ever since then his first love has been the trombone because of the wah-wah sound it makes (a sound by the trombone when one slurs the note).  Kgethi has never looked back.  He first started playing the instrument at the Moses Taiwa Molelekwa Arts Foundation under the guidance of Jerry Molelekwa, father of the late Moses Molelekwa.  While studying at the foundation, he met American trombonist Delfeayo Marsalis which motivated him to double his efforts at practicing.

A year after he started playing the trombone, he was awarded an opportunity to perform at the Standard Bank Youth Jazz Festival in Makhanda where he also attended several workshops.  In 2016 he moved to Durban to pursue his music career and studied music at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN).  This gave him an exposure to musicians he has always looked up to, and was fortunate to play and jam with them.  These musicians include Salim Washington, Andile Yenana, Khaya Mahlangu, Billy Harper, Stefon Harris, Leon Scharnick.  It was while he was doing his second in music at UKZN when he shared the stage with US trombonist at the Tshwane International Big Band Festival in 2017.

Writer and poet Mbali Malimela

Also featured as part of the concert at Alliance Française is IsiZulu writer and performing poet Mbali Malimela.  As the founder of a poetry brand called Bantu Origin, she has a strong passion for restoring the love and language through poetry.  Mbali has been part of numerous poetry platforms including Poetry Africa (2018) and the Artfluence Festival.  She has had her writings published in the most loved journals including the Sol Plaatjie European Union Anthology and Fundza literacy.  Mbali has more of her work visualized on her YouTube channel.

The Saturday concert at Alliance Française in Durban which is located at 22 Sutton Crescent, Windermere starts at 18h00 and tickets are available on Webtickets for R60.  The Sunday concert at The Luthuli Museum in Groutville starts at 14h00 and its tickets are also available on Webtickets for R40.  Like and follow Kgethi Nkotsi Facebook Page.  Follow him on Instagram @kgethi_nkotsi and @NkotsiKgethi on Twitter.