The Story of South African Jazz : LIVE

When I wrote … “Jazz is love, jazz is ‘love thy neighbour.’ Jazz is a unifying language. It brings people together and provides the vocabulary to have a great musical dialogue. South African jazz is a transformative gift… It is uBuntu in action.” … I did not know when I would have the opportunity to SHOW it …

The First Sunday of September … The Johannesburg leg takes place live at The Orbit …

The Story of South African Jazz : LIVE brings the “griots” of the South African jazz tradition together with a strong live audience. The Story of South African Jazz : LIVE brings the recently  published volume one to life, and tells the “REAL STORY” and presents the ‘REAL THING.’ In a scripted, narrated and orchestrated live show, the Story of South African Jazz : LIVE brings focus to our musical heritage whether from Cape Town, Durban, PE or Johannesburg.

The musicians who are the life blood of South African jazz are the ones who ensure the true story of this music and what it takes to be a musician is passed on through the generations …Upliftment is achieved through the support of these great musicians, the promotion of their family initiatives and the educational rewards their knowledge preserves.Our primary focus is the celebration of the marvelous community of friends that have supported the musicians throughout the years. It is the audience that we can never do without. The show will extend the authentic oral language of South African jazz into the future generations.

There are many great names that the Story of South African Jazz is built upon and many of these great names have gone onto build vast and or sustainable careers. The Story of South African Jazz : LIVE presents a platform for those who require the platform to showcase their brilliance. The greatest sacrifice in music is education. In jazz education is oral. And without it there would be no jazz. And hence there is no greater maestro than a griot. A musician who has passed the music on to their children. The griot tradition is still alive in the Story of South African Jazz and it is that we wish to pay the strongest of tribute to.

The First Sunday of May, the show went Live at the Rainbow in Pinetown giving platform to the talented NGIDI griot family of KZN …

Man with the golden voice

The star of The Story of South African Jazz Volume One is the little Maestro from Durban, musical father and man with the golden voice, Elias ‘Sdumo Ngidi. Listen on soundcloud to his live version of Mr Bo Jangles in the helter skelter of the Rainbow tavern. He brought the audience to tears. Elias heads up a great jazz insurgence coming out of Durban. Much like Barney, from his pennywhistle roots he has pioneered three generations of music. His son Philani heads up his quartet when he is not performing with the jazz diva backing vocals. And Elias is also joined by the barber shop quartet known as the Baret Boys lead by Thabani Mahlobo. This is a strong show in and of itself. It is a proverbial jazz train coming out of Durban.

The First Sunday of September the show goes live in Johannesburg at the Orbit, giving platform to the Rachabane griot family, with three generations of fantastic music making…

Octavia Rachabane
Octavia Rachabane

A stunning griot family from Soweto, Johannesburg is the Rachabane family. From the little maestro, Barney who started it all with the pennywhistle all stars of Alexandria, there are now three generations of Rachabane’s. A star of the future, a born songstress is his daughter Octavia.

The show is brought together and shot straight from the heart, by narrator : Thami Skosana

Thami Skosana
Thami Skosana

This griot show  is tied together by a scripted delivery by the author Struan Douglas together with playwrite, actor and voice over artist Thami Skosana. With Thami’s exuberant delivery, sincere knowledge and deep and growling vocals is no more or less the sound of South African jazz. listen on soundcloud

 DATE for the NEXT show … Sunday 06/09/2015 : 5PM – 7PM … Live at The Orbit 


AUTHOR : The Story of SA Jazz is written by Struan Douglas. Struan is the founding director of music portal, online since 01/04/2000. Struan has contributed on South African Jazz for a variety of publications since being a columnist for Big Issue magazine 1999 – 2000, Downbeat magazine 1999 and Sawubona 2003. Some of the magazines like Bejazzed and Directions that he contributed for are no longer in publication. He wrote regularly for Independent newspapers countrywide and the Mail and Guardian. He has provided interviews for radio.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s