Hugh Masekela endorses new EC music centre

By Drum Digital
11 June 2014

Legendary Jazz singer, Hugh Masekela is testing the grounds at the Eastern Cape Audio Visual Centre (ECAVC) at the University of Fort Hare.

Legendary Jazz singer, Hugh Masekela is testing the grounds at the Eastern Cape Audio Visual Centre (ECAVC) at the University of Fort Hare by using their newly built state-of-the arts recording studio to record music for his artists Phu2uma, Warosi and Suthukazi.

The University of Fort Hare’s music school also known as the Miriam Makeba Centre of Performing Arts received a cash injection of R11-million from the National Lottery while the Department Of Arts and Culture contributed R2.5-million to build their new wing, known as the ECAVC.

The centre is under the directorship of former jazz musician Simon ‘Sy’ Ntuli, with seasoned producer Nduduzo Makhathini working as his right-hand man. Makhathini has produced SAMA nominated artists such as Sisa Sopazi.

Last week the ECAVC launched eight new artists under their record label ECAVC Records, which intends to be a catalyst of exporting new talent from the Eastern Cape to the rest of the world. “We want to follow the model of KZN where artists such as Big Nuz were established because they received support from their government,” says Ntuli.

The Eastern Cape has produced some of South Africa’s finest musicians, the likes of Thandiswa Mazwai, Jaziel Brother, Simphiwe Dana and Zahara, it’s no wonder the launch was much anticipated.

The evening was hosted by Putco Mafani  who hosts an award winning breakfast show on Umhlobo Wenene FM. Mafani kept the audience in stitches throughout the evening.

On stage, Shoe Lace, a group of young black hipsters surprised the audience with their genre of alternative rock music and shared the stage with Afro Pop artist Ntando, while Nosiviwe emerged as a crowd favourite with her rendition of classic South African gospel music.

Mboza, a new kwaito group that began its musical journey performing outside a Boxer superstore, electrified the stage with their high energy performance while afro-soul musician Csana kept the audience on their feet with a song called “Isidudla” with a celebratory feel much like Yvonne Chaka Chaka’s hit song “Umqombothi.”

Other artists that were launched on the night were hip-hop artist Ganzo who aims to tap into South African’s unique brand of vernacular hip-hop coveted by artists such as Pro Kid, Khuli Chana, Teargas and Skwatta Kamp.

Thandokazi who landed herself a recording deal by a chance meeting between herself and Makhathini at their local KFC, fuses a unique blend of Afro soul and indigenous Xhosa music. While two gospel projects by a group named Chosen and soloist, known as Andile also added to the list. - by Ayanda Sitole

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