Sax man shares journey in notes

2015-07-07 06:00
Local sax player Donveno Prins shares his story in music at the Baxter this weekend.

Local sax player Donveno Prins shares his story in music at the Baxter this weekend.

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The streets of Elsies River may be better known for its threats of crime and gangsterism but the smooth saxophone sound of Donveno Prins has proved that music can empower.

On Friday and Saturday you will get the chance to discover that journey when he hosts From Elsies to the world at the Baxter Concert Hall to give some insights into his career.

It’s a journey that is still on a positive path but, like so many musicians on the Cape Flats, it started in the church, leading to Christmas bands and eventually touring the world.

“When I was still in school I never in a million years thought that this would be my bread and butter,” he says. “I always loved music and had a passion for it, but it was only when I worked for Shoprite that one day I realised that working in the retail industry was not what I was born to do. I remember clocking out halfway through my shift and I never looked back and here I am today doing the thing that I love so much and the bonus is I’m getting paid for it.”

Clocking out on that fateful day was the best gift that local music was given.

HighlightsJoining Abdullah Ibrahim’s jazz programme led to his ability flourishing, getting chosen to be part of the National Youth Band and touring to many festivals across the world, but since then he has become a staple of the South African music scene.

Best known for his performances in productions such as Intimate nights chapter II, Love, jazz andamp; duets and Music alla Kaap, he’s also worked alongside renowned local artists such as Lloyd Cele, Loyiso Bala, Jimmy Dludlu, Judith Sephuma, PJ Powers and Ladysmith Black Mambazo.

“It’s always been exciting to work with all these musicians but one of the highlights of my career and travels was when I got the opportunity to perform with Jonathan Butler in Kenya, Nigeria, Cape Town and Johannesburg.

“Also recording with Kirk Whalum on his latest Gospel according to jazz chapter 4 with bassist Jonathan Roubain was a phenomenal experience.”

With this show at the Baxter he is inviting audiences to discover his journey in music.

“This show and the process of creating it has been so empowering and fresh to me,” he reflects.

“Many musicians tend to be too comfortable behind their instrument, but this show allows me to showcase not just my musical skills but also my storytelling abilities.

“This show has also kind of forced me to dig a bit deeper into my heritage to find out exactly where I come from and the impact it had on where I’m at now.”

In more recent years, Donveno has settled into the chair of musical director for productions such as Blood brothers, Radio classics, Kat and the kings, and 3 wise men.

Positive musicBut he still wants to play a role in mentoring young people to discover the joy and empowering force of music. Since 2009 he has been part of the Delft Youth Music Academy, training underprivileged youth in the community to read and perform all genres of music.

“Positive music can definitely play a big role in guiding our youth away from negative influences.

“I believe this because it’s God’s creation; it can change any person’s life, be they old or young. I think we need to find different angles to produce it to the kids to keep it fresh and keep them interested in making music and finding their creative niche.”

From Elsies to the world is directed by Alistair Izobell and includes original composed music. It will be performed in English and Afrikaans with some amazing stories that will make for an enjoyable night out.

Tickets are R120 at Computicket on 0861 915 8000, online at or at any Shoprite Checkers store. V

For discounted corporate or block bookings, fundraisers and charities, call Sharon on 021 680 3962 or Carmen on 021 680 3993 during office hours.

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