A Khoza and Nokwe jam Rainbow stage set for Khoza and Nokwe

2015-08-25 06:00
Singer, actress and guitarist, Tu Nokwe.
Photo: supplied

Singer, actress and guitarist, Tu Nokwe. Photo: supplied

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THE Rainbow Restaurant in Pinetown presents well-known left-handed Upper Highway guitarist Bheki Khoza in concert with singer, actress and guitarist, Tu Nokwe, on Sunday 30 August at 1pm. Tickets cost R80.

“This concert is a long time in the making. Every time Khoza performs at the Rainbow Restaurant one wonders when he will return. Khoza and Nokwe will be joined in concert with Melvin Peters on piano, Mandla Zikalala on bass and Sbu Zondi on drums,” says The Rainbow’s Neil Comfort.

The concert is supported by Concerts SA - a joint South African-Norwegian project housed under the auspices of the Stakeholder Hub within The SAMRO Foundation. It receives financial, administrative and technical support from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, SAMRO and Concerts Norway.

Khoza comes from Umlazi. In 1991 he received a talent award and scholarship to study music in the United States. He returned in 1995 after studying at the University of Hartford, Connecticut, with the great Jackie McLean. While in America, Bheki was resident with Larry Ridley’s Jazz Legacy band playing the whole spectrum of African American music. The band was headed by Ridley, who played with Wes Montgomery, Sonny Rollin, Miles Davis, Horace Silver, Kenny Burell, George Benson, Dexter Gordon, among others. By the time Bheki left America he was already making a name for himself playing clubs like Blue Note, Saint Mark’s Zinno’s and Smalls, a famous club often referred to as and#034;The Mecca of Jazz”, which has jam sessions every night. Khoza also played at the Shamberg auditorium in Harlem. Prior to studying in America, Bheki played with the African jazz pioneers, Abie Cindi, Sipho Gumede, Winston Mankunku Ngozi, Rene McClean, Victor Ntoni, Mike Makhalemele, George Lee, and Barney Rachabane. He has also backed South Africa’s Sibongile Khumalo, Sophie Mgcina, Dolly Rathebe, Abigail Kubheka and Thembi Mtshali. Nokwe is a member of one of South Africa’s most famous musical families, sometimes called the “Jacksons of Africa”. Five of the six family members have made music all their life. Following the release of her 1996 hit album, Inyakanyaka, Nokwe continues to strive as a singer, guitarist, composer and lyricist. Her passion and love for children and community work is the driving force behind her music and has resulted in her latest 13-track album release, African Child, which was two years in the making, 80 percent of which is Nokwe’s own material, intertwined with traditional African standards.

Ilanga Emkhukhwini, written by Nokwe’s uncle, Joshua Mzimela, is a track about suffering however, Nokwe renamed it Ilanga, which means the sun (in the squatter camp), given the album new meaning. Another song Mama Wam is based on the hit song by Doris Day, Que sera.

Letting Go is a special tune for Nokwe because it came to her after the death of Moses Molelekwa and his wife Flo and how it caused sadness, especially for their young child.

Ngane Yakwethu and “African Child/ Bambelela are original works inspired by encouraging the birth of the African Renaissance. Nokwe describes her music as “new age African, spiritual and inward looking with elements of Afro-jazz and funk”. She also finds herself moved by the drum and acoustic sound. All the tracks on the album are named in Zulu and English so that a wider audience are able to connect with the tracks. Nokwe was nominated in the category of Best Female Artist at the SAMAs and has travelled extensively internationally with her band. Many places like America, Europe and England have become her second home. Admission into the Rainbow concert is R80 per person and doors open at 1pm

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