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Published on July 15th, 2010 | by Pete Beadell


Panjazz International – South Africa 2010

On the first of June 2010, six UK based musicians travelled to Cape Town, South Africa, having been invited to represent Panjazz International in performing at “the Captain’s Dinner” in Johannesburg by the Aaron Mokoena Foundation. The UK musicians rehearsed for three days in Cape Town along with twelve representatives from partner communities in the Western Cape. Performing in Franschhoek, and at ‘Swingers’ Jazz Club in Cape Town before travelling on the ‘Bafana, Bafana’ team coach to Johannesburg, to perform in the main pre-World Cup event, hosted by South African football Captain – Aaron Mokoena.

Panjazz International is part of a UK based charity specialising in music education and  performance. It comprises – Portchester Panyard, the South Africa Panjazz Project and the Panjazz India Project. Panjazz International provides a multi-faceted, intergenerational approach to music in the community, adopting the best practices of  Western and World Music traditions. Our work is based on the premise that Music, like sport, affords a powerful model for developing community cohesion on a local, National and International basis, and may be used to empower a growing number of  underprivileged young people, to effect lasting change in and between communities across the globe.

Rehearsing at Portchester Community School in the UK, a flagship  UNICEF ‘Rights Respecting School’, the charity has been working with partners in South Africa, the UK and India since 2007 on a range of music projects. We currently employ both a singing and percussion/steel pan tutor, together working with over 200 young people each week in Kolkata’s poorest areas. The South Africa partners work with us on a range of singing and steel pan projects, tutored by local musicians from the townships.

The group presented a programme of music, including African songs, World Cup 2010 tunes, South African Jazz standards and Bollywood repertoire, on behalf of the many young people currently denied a voice in societies across the globe. The ethos of Panjazz International is closely aligned to the UN Convention on the Rights of the  Child, and much of our vocal repertoire reflects the articles of the Convention. Our musicians explore the World of Indian ragas, Caribbean Calypso and South African Township Jazz, using a wide range of instruments including Sarod, Cajon, Caribbean Steel Pan, Tabla and South African Marimba – a unique blend of indigenous instruments and styles. At the heart of the Panjazz model lies improvisation.

On this tour, we featured steel pan players from Portchester Panyard – Laura Eade,  Lindsay Jobling, Brandon Draper and Charlotte Seall. Dan Sadler played drums and percussion and Ben Thomas from our jazz project joined us on tenor sax. The South African group included an eleven-year old trumpeter from Gugulethu, vocalists from  Gugulethu, Franschhoek and Dalabuhle, and marimba and steel pan players from Gugulethu, Kylemore and Franschhoek.  The group rehearsed at our accommodation base – ‘Otter’s Bend’ in Franschhoek. On the last night in the Cape Town area, we were invited to perform at ‘Swingers Jazz

Club’, one of Cape Town’s major jazz venues. The group brought the house down  – an incredible occasion for both audience and performers. The following day, having  had very little sleep, we were picked up in Franschhoek by the ‘Bafana, Bafana’ team  coach to make the long journey to Johannesburg. This proved a memorable journey, marked by the appearance of hoards of local children and horns from passing

motorists along the way, all anxious to give their support to the South African World  Cup football bid. Panjazz International would like to thank Mercedes for sponsoring  the journey between Cape Town and Johannesburg,  John and Kate Welch for sponsoring the costs of our accommodation whilst in Johannesburg and Toussaint Clarke for stepping in to tune our pans and getting them ready for this event.  His support as always was much appreciated.’

Monday 07 June 2010 – ‘The Captain’s Dinner’ – Johannesburg, South Africa

Wow! Topping the bill at this event was South African jazz legend Hugh Masakela. The venue was the Vodadome in Johannesburg, and the event attracted celebrities from across the World. Hosted by Aaron Mokoena, musicians from Panjazz  International presented a programme lasting an hour and a half. The group was  extremely well received, and a lot of interest was shown in the work of this unique  project. So what of the future? We have tutors visiting the Western Cape and India during August, and Panjazz International has been invited to showcase in India in October. We will also be returning to South Africa for a major tour in 2011.

“This project can make a difference to the lives of all young people – a powerful model for change” – Duncan Hindle, Director General, Department of Education, South Africa. 

Panjazz International – building Local, National and International communities through music.   

by Pete Beadell   

For further information contact: Sarah Beadell +44 (0) 1329 517860


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