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PREVIEW: South Africa Festival incl Bokani Dyer Trio (9 May, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire)

The Bokani Dyer Trio
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The Royal Birmingham Conservatoire is presenting a one-day celebration of South African music on 9 May 2019. Peter Bacon reports:

The UK’s second city is twinned with South Africa’s largest, and the two have built up strong ties over the years. So it is thoroughly appropriate that the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire has chosen to capitalise on a visit from the South African Bokani Dyer Trio by building a day of performances around the the jazz group’s evening performance in the RBC’s Eastside Jazz Club.

Pianist Bokani Dyer released his fourth album, Neo Native, last year. It features his long-standing touring trio with Sphelelo Mazibuko on drums and Romy Brauteseth on double bass, and the band is about to embark on a short European tour comprising dates in the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland and Belgium in addition to two opening sets at Ronnie Scott’s in London (7 and 8 May) and this Birmingham one. The trio will play at 7.30pm on 9 May. (For more about the Bokani Dyer Trio see Gwen Ansell’s interview.)

Kicking off the proceedings at the RBC on 9 May will be a welcome performance of Let It Be Told, a selection of iconic South African jazz tunes arranged by Julian Argüelles and played by the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire Jazz Orchestra.

Sounding Cities is an ongoing project which links Birmingham and Johannesburg. It started in October 2017 when the RBC hosted a concert of South African saxophone music. Saxophonist Naomi Sullivan and clarinettist Luke Newby have been key activists in Sounding Cities from the start.

Luke explained: “Sounding Cities is a contemporary music duo that uses the language of music to explore the environment in which we live. With a strong belief in collaboration, Sounding Cities works with composers and visual artists to devise performances inspired by responses to our urban surroundings – exploring how we experience contemporary music and how music and art can mirror our fast changing cities.”

Sounding Cities will be performing works exploring the cities of Johannesburg and Birmingham by contemporary composers and artists with a performance at 4.30pm on 9 May.

There will also be contributions on the day from the conservatoire’s String Department and from DJs, and the day will be closed in suitably joyous fashion by RBC’s Township Band.

Tickets for the whole 1pm to 10.15pm mini-festival at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire on 9 May 2019 are just £10.

LINKS: South Africa Festival as Royal Birmingham Conservatoire

Bokani Dyer’s website

Sounding Cities website

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