Local muso wants to grab his chance

2015-10-27 06:00

Local musician Leo Letsape (right) with Claude Deppa, legendary jazz trumpeter. Letsape is raising funds to attend a skills workshop in London.

Local musician Leo Letsape (right) with Claude Deppa, legendary jazz trumpeter. Letsape is raising funds to attend a skills workshop in London.

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An Ocean View musician is raising funds to grab a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Leo Letsape, the multitalented leader of the eMzantsi Bloka carnival band, has been offered the chance to join an exchange programme in London in November, organised by Kinetika Bloco.

The programme will include a week of workshops involving youth bands and choirs from across the UK, alongside musicians from Nigeria and Ukraine.

This process will culminate in a collaboration called On Mass as part of the EFG London Jazz Festival and feature internationally famous pianist Jamie Cullum.

Letsape hopes the workshops in the UK will arm him with skills to develop local talent.

“I believe what I experience I will bring back and upskill my team,” he says.

Letsape runs workshops for the Ocean View youth.

“I can’t offer them much, but I can offer them freedom of expression. They can be themselves 100% and show that to people who appreciate what they do. It’s a chance for them to see what’s out there beyond Ocean View.”

The carnival band’s UK partners are paying for Leo’s flights, but he needs help in covering his accommodation and living expenses, as well as supporting his two young children while away.

Letsape started playing as a young boy when he joined the navy band with his clarinet. He soon mastered the trumpet and the guitar too.

“You know, when you’re a young boy you just want to try new things,” he says.

Music runs in his family, with Letsape’s grandfather playing in a Christmas band called New Guiding Star.

Letsape “went off track” as a teenager, but was drawn back to music through Arts Vibrations, a non-profit organisation run by Alvin Castro to uplift the youth of Ocean View.

“I started taking music seriously,” Letsape says.

Five years ago, he started the carnival band, which plays “samba with a Cape Town twist” and incorporates elements of his minstrel background.


Visit www.gofundme.com/kp6a78u4 for more information

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