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Newspaper Articles 2017

Music for Muizenberg: a look into the Muizenberg Jazz Festival

The pianist Bokani Dyer is set to play on Friday at the new Muizenberg Jazz Festival. The festival will take place on Friday and Saturday, 13th and 14th October, at the Masque Theatre on Main Road, Muizenberg.

The ten acts who will play hour-long sets include Jazz Yard Academy, Muriel Marco and her band ND Project, soloist Dyer, Hanepoot Big Band, Bongani Sotshononda and the United Nations of Africa, MSFM quartet, McCoy Mrubata Band, Yvette Norwood-Tiger, Buddy Wells Quartet and the Ramon Alexander Band. There will also be a photography exhibition by Gregory Franz.

Festival organisers Ulla Gosebrink and jazz singer Muriel Marco said the vision of the festival was “to provide a place for the artist and art form to thrive, to thoroughly entertain our audience, and to leave the surrounding community and audience enlightened, engaged and enriched”.

Workshops, organised by the South African Association for Jazz Education, will take place on Saturday morning at the Masque Theatre which seats 165 and “is built and equipped to provide a high-fidelity, uninterrupted listening and viewing experience”, the organisers said.

Award-winning pianist Dyer, 31, who studied jazz at UCT College of Music, said he would be playing original compositions and some South African classics who were his inspiration when he was learning to play.

“Not enough emphasis is placed on local compositions, and I always try to play as much of the pieces as possible. Playing solo on Friday, I have the freedom to go where the mood takes me. I never play one piece the same way again. It will be my interpretation, depending on how I feel. It’s nice that I will have the kind of freedom just to play with a piece of music and interpret it in the moment.

“In that way jazz is very different from classical music, where it is played a set way and you are expected to play or hear it in a certain way all the time.”

Dyer, who grew up between Johannesburg and Botswana, said he was attracted to all types of music and choosing to focus on jazz “made sense” because in jazz all the sounds he really enjoyed were derived from sounds such as soul, R & B and hip-hop.

Dyer’s agent, Nikki Froneman said: “Dyer’s music is appreciated for its creativity and emotional depth, with soulful notes, spiritual tones, sophisticated concepts, and simply presented notions.

“He draws on a multiplicity of influences, from his Southern African cultural heritage through to Bach, Abdullah Ibrahim and Miles Davis, crafting and creating a repertoire based on musical egalitarianism, “a celebration of all music without borders”.

The titles of Dyer’s albums tell the story of his musical identity, Mirrors (2010), Emancipate the Story (2011) and World Music (2015), a freeing up of stories and perspectives and “embracing all types of sound, the whole world of music”.

Dyer said he was looking forward to playing at the Muizenberg Jazz Festival and he wanted nothing more than to “go on a journey” with the audience and for them “to just come with their ears, heart open and we can enjoy the moment together”.

This article was penned by Bronwyn Davids and originally published in the Cape Times.