The Art Of Sunday Rewind : Jazz and community
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The Art Of Sunday Rewind : Jazz and community

19 Oct 2020 MUSIC

By Kagiso Mnisi

Beyond the stage, Jazz is interwoven into community. This is mostly evident in how its appreciators are staunch ‘carriers of the message’ who as custodians possess deep rooted knowledge and passion. On the recent installment of The Art Of Sunday, Brenda Sisane was joined by these torch bearers, namely Mme Julian Ngwenya, Mme Jennifer Mahlangu and Bra Biza Buthelezi. Collectively, these actors belong to an array of Jazz societies in the Tshwane region and are also collectors who embrace the long standing tradition of Diga Dancing.

“For me belonging to a Jazz society is like going to church, there is a sense of worship in it” – Mme Jennifer Mahlangu of Tshwane Veterans Club

“I am now 72 years old but fell in love with Jazz at the age of 16 via artists such as Johnny Hodges, Ray Charles and Mama Ella” – Mme Julia Ngwenya of Mamelodi Veterans Jazz Club

Listen to full conversation here: 


It is therefore no coincidence that the ethos of these communities form part of this year’s Cosmology Festival which is an action research project and artists’ residency featuring leading anthropologist of sound, Steven Feld and his colleagues from Ghana, The Anyaa Arts Kollektif. The musical focus of the residency establishes a proverbial pan-African call and response between Johannesburg and Accra by exploring how jazz has articulated notions of cosmopolitanism in the two African cities and beyond.

Speaking about this stellar cast, head of the Cosmology project, Professor Brett Piper says, “we have to appreciate the appreciator. Their long standing involvement in their communities merits recognition”

Mme Julia Ngwenya’s selection

  1. Linda Kekana (I’m an African) – Kiba
  2. Abdullah Ibrahim (Tintinyana) – Shrimp Boats
  3. Duke Ellington/Johnny Hodges (Back To Back) – Weary Blues
  4. Graham Haynes (The Griot’s Footsteps) – The Griot’s Footsteps
  5. Zim Ngqawana – Madoda Kwenzenjane

The Cosmology Festival takes place from 29 -30 October via the WITS School of Arts. It will hosts a 2 day exploration into Jazz Cosmopolitanisms in Johannesburg, in response to Steven Felds’ book Jazz Cosmopolitanism in Accra, and the associated albums recorded with the Anyaa arts Kollektif.