THE BIRTH OF AFRICA PLUS
By: Sinenhlanhla Mthembu and Samukelisiwe Mkhwebane
The University of Kwa-Zulu Natal hosted its first Africa Plus lunch hour concert at the Centre of Jazz on Wednesday.
The trio comprises of jazz maestros, Prince Bulo who is a lecturer at Howard College, Lungelo Ngcobo a pianist, and drummer Sphelelo Mazibuko. Bulo an alumni of the university explained the genesis of the trio’s sound.
“We individually travelled across Africa and lived the African experience and distilled these individual elements and infused them into modern jazz, hence the name Africa Plus,” said Bulo.
The show attracted volumes of people with a different sound appetite, as it wasn’t only about contemporary jazz, but also catered to the pop audience. This was no mere performance but a conversation between the trio and crowd. The trio played as the crowd drowned in the attentiveness, which highlighted Mazibuko’s words: “Silence speaks volumes, it means the audience is listening.”
An excited audience member, Sandile Phakathi, expressed how powerful the band was, “It was just what I expected.” An equally excited Chase Silk, shared the same sentiments as he impersonated the pianist Lungelo Ngcobo.
Who I Am, a piece composed by Ngcobo was amongst the crowds favourite. The reason behind the composition was to encourage and motivate, but most of all – it was a call to all students to be ambitious and to know who they are.
The chemistry between the band members was inevitable as they bounced off each other’s energies.
Truly Africa has renowned talent and plenty to offer beyond its measure. The time for bold and young Africans has come and this trio has paved a way for many to follow.
A Prayer for Africa, one of Africa Plus’ piece, is not just a plea to the African renaissance, but a call for Africa to stand on its brave two feet.