Durban jazz artist rewarded for talent

2014-09-01 00:00

TALENTED Durban jazz man Prince Bulo has been richly rewarded, both for his talent and his determination to help other young musicians from disadvantaged areas.

Bulo is the winner of the 2014 Samro (South African Music Rights Organisation) overseas scholarships competition in the jazz music category.

He received a R170 000 scholarship to further his music studies abroad.

Asked whether he had thought about what he wanted to do, Bulo said: “I’ve thought about it a lot, but for the kind of things that I do, establishing myself and making contacts, I don’t think it would be good to be away for so long.

“So I’m thinking of doing an online course with Berkeley in the United States and then a series of masterclasses in Sweden, Scotland, maybe even America.”

The talented musician also received the first ever Surendran Reddy Jazz Award for young composers. Reddy was a boundary-crossing South African composer, pianist and teacher who died in 2010.

The Samro Foundation and Reddy’s longtime companion, Heike Asmuss, hope this new award will encourage young composers to break free of the shackles of genre and style to come up with a free, experimental sound of their own.

“It’s the inaugural award, so to be the first recipient, that’s history making,” said Bulo, whose original composition Bass’d in Africa was performed by the Orbit Big Band from the Orbit Jazz Club in Braamfontein at the Samro concert in the Wits Great Hall on Saturday night.

Bulo, who is studying for his masters at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, said he is grateful for the help he received from Samro while he was studying.

He won three subsidiary prizes in the 2008 competition for instrumentalists as a young bass player and the merit award in the 2010 composers’ competition.

“Through the Samro Foundation I was able to study,” he said, “but I feel that not enough musicians from previously disadvantaged communities get the right start in this business.

“That’s why I started my music academy in Pinetown earlier this year. I already have 20 students, who come from the areas north of Durban.”

Bulo, a bass player, has performed with the likes of Andile Yenana, Bokan Dyer, Africa Plus, and has worked as a session musician for award-winners Naima Kay, Zahara and Lloyd Cele.

He’s also recorded and performed with American singer and keyboardist Frank McComb on his album Live in Johannesburg and was part of Marcus Wyatt’s Language 12 band at the Paris Jazz Festival alongside Hugh Masekela.

Asked when fans could expect to hear his debut solo release, Bulo said he was working on it and hoped to release it by the end of 2014.

• arts@witness.co.za

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