THE Iza Ngoma group was started by Durban trio Charles Mdakane, Sibusiso Shabalala and Phuti Mofokeng. Fever journalist Phindile Shozi chatted to them about their name and what made them get into jazz. PS: When was Iza Ngoma established? CM: The band was assembled in late 2016, when we were still foundation students at UKZN. What made us gel was a common interest not only in jazz but also in other colours on the music spectrum. PS: Iza Ngoma is a unique name. How did it come about? CM: We realised later that the name is actually a chant which translates into “come music” or “come song”. The name came about when we all reflected on our personal connection and interaction with music, which made us realise we are merely channels through which the music conveys its message to mankind. However, the kind of frequency or vibe conveyed is determined by our level of receptivity, and we do try to be receptive to the most cognisant frequency. The name also functions as an assertion that we submit ourselves to the spirit of music to heal, navigate and preserve us. PS: What made you guys form this group? CM: We started out jamming in the practise rooms and eventually decided to perform on campus and we received a good reception. We didn’t want to form a band initially but the students convinced us to perform on a regular bases and eventually we were Iza Ngoma. PS: What studies do you all do at university? CM: Sbu and I are undergraduates studying jazz, Phuti is also an undergraduate, studying both classical and jazz music. PS: Why jazz out of all the genres? CM: Aside from the fact that it resonates with us as young as we are, out of all the musical styles or genres, jazz is the most complex, most cerebrally engaging, and it has a sense of sonic vocabulary which can translated into emotion at a moment’s notice. Jazz can easily be incorporated in other styles — you hear it in gospel, pop, classic, hip-hop, to name a few. PS: What can be expected from Iza Ngoma? CM: A sonic portrait of a progressive and cognisant civilization dramatised in music, also a lot of African influenced music with thought stimulating lyrical content. PS: What else does Iza Ngoma aspire to be besides musicians? CM: Aspiring academics and educators and eventually progressive pillars of society in whichever way we can. PS: Who composers your music? CM: We all do. Most of the songs flourish out of improvised music and if it resonates we work on it in greater detail and move towards wherever the music takes us. On special occasions one member will come with an idea and we all join in.