South African musicians want their voices heard

While the South African variant occupies all conversations today, the country’s musicians are struggling to make their voices heard. Two albums by artists from Johannesburg in South Africa were published at the end of January in France: that of the Soweto group, Urban Village, Stick (No Format), and compilation Indaba Is, which brings together a new generation of musicians from the country’s economic capital.

Urban Village, signed on a French label, was to come to give concerts in France in the spring, including the 1is April at the Café de la Danse in Paris: “We had to cancel them with the closure of your borders, laments Xolani Mtshali, the drummer from Urban Village. We had postponed the release of our album from March 2020 to January 2021 because we thought that only the year 2020 would be complicated for concerts, but I have the impression that 2021 is started to turn out the same way. “

Same observation on the side of the “curators” ofIndaba Is, compilation commissioned by French DJ Gilles Peterson and his Brownswood Recordings label: “We had to record the titles of this disc in 2020 to be ready to play them in jazz festivals in 2021, says Siyabonga Mthembu, designer of the compilation. It won’t be possible. We’re finally going to give a concert at the Johannesburg Theater to be broadcast on the Portland Jazz Festival site on February 26-27. “

Pianist Thandi Ntuli, who mixes her classical training with township jazz and who also worked on the making of the compilation Indaba Is, a dû s’adapter : “I stopped concerts but started writing a lot more, composing for plays, for contemporary artists. “

Siyabonga Mthembu, singer of The Brother Moves On and Shabaka and the Ancestors who play with British saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings, has seen five of his canceled tours: “Two in Europe, two in North America and one in Japan, he counts in front of his computer. I returned from New York three days before Donald Trump closed the borders of the United States. “

No intermittence of the show

In South Africa, the government first instituted strict containment from March 18 to 1is June 2020, then a deconfinement by levels, lowering or lifting the restrictions according to the health situation. “Towards the end of 2020, race Thandi Ntuli, they eased the restrictions and we could play to a limited audience inside the rooms (50 people or 50% of the capacity depending on their size). The sale of alcohol was banned. Too many fights and accidents linked to his excessive consumption cluttered the emergency rooms. It was necessary to relieve the hospital services which had to take care of Covid patients. “

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