Fri Oct 24 11:32:18 SAST 2014

For the love of his roots

Nov 26, 2012 | Boitumelo Tlhoaele |

AT an intimate gathering with some journos at the Circa gallery earlier this year, jazz maestro Abdullah Ibrahim unpacked his philosophy on the roots and importance of indigenous African music.

king of the IVORIES: Jazz maestro Abdullah Ibrahim never ceases to dazzle with his fine mastery of all the complexities of South African jazz. Picture by Fredlin Anriaan

He said this music was a major influence on the global jazz genre and described it as "complex".

"I've always said people should be aware of the complexity of the music," he explained as he was giving what could be termed a mini lecture on the dynamics of traditional music.

During the same conversation he spoke about a moment of illumination for him and, more particularly, his New York-based band Ekaya during their visit to Kimberley, to learn about the area's sounds.

He said the band was "blown away".

And now South African audiences can expect to be similarly mesmerised as Ibrahim and his band share their musical ingenuity with us next month .

They will play at the Wits University's Linder Auditorium and the ZK Matthews Hall at Unisa on December 7 and 8, where they will perform tracks from their album Sotho Blue, released in 2010.

The album comprises of beautifully crafted, slow-paced but mostly contemplative melodies.

The texture of these melodies is transfused with Ibrahim's deep appreciation and understanding of South African jazz.

And this will be the first time Ekaya plays in Pretoria.

It will be a significant moment for the band as Ibrahim rightfully considers Pretoria to be the place that gave birth to South African jazz.

A song called Maraba Blue will be played to honour the city's historic townships - Marabastad, Mamelodi and Atteridgeville - which Ibrahim says were "vibrant and informed" back in the 1960s.

Not only is Pretoria the birthplace of SA jazz, it is also one of the main areas around the country that still sustains the music through its many jazz clubs and stokvels - places where music is exchanged and shared over drinks and intellectual interpretation of this art form.

The Tshwane Jazz Collectors is an organisation that has been in existence for more than a decade and plays the role of the glue that holds together all the clubs around the city.

Their aim is to ensure that jazz remains well supported through live music.

Members convene monthly to talk about and listen to their resident jazz band and their favourite tunes, selected by local DJs.

Co-ordinator Thabo Ndhlovana says the organisation has continued to grow over the years and will continue to support SA's jazz legends.

Ibrahim and Ekaya will certainly receive nothing but a warm welcome.

For more information and bookings www.computicket.com

tlhoaeleb@sundayworld.co.za or follow me on Twitter @MsTumiT

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