Legendary Abdullah Ibrahim
to Perform in SA
Staging two concerts in Johannesburg and Pretoria, on the 7th and 8th of December straight from their sold out world tour. Jazz legend Abdullah Ibrahim and his US band Ekaya will treat concert goers to unforgettable music, with a repertoire of best-loved pieces from the critically acclaimed Ekaya CD, ‘Sotho Blue’.
Songs will be brought to life through Ibrahim’s acclaimed collaboration with Ekaya (meaning homeland or hometown) the of jazz greats, all from New York, include Cleave Guyton (alto sax, flute), Keith Loftis, (tenor sax), Tony Kofi, (britone sax), Andrae Murchison (trombone), Noah Jackson, (bass), and Will Terrill (drums). Sotho Blue is a recapitulation of old songs, some over 26 years old. Ibrahim says that the music from Sotho Blue, keeps the exuberant poetry of favourite songs, but are set in a new historical context.
It will be the first time the band play in Pretoria, and jazz pioneer Ibrahim, will dedicate his Maraba Blue song to Marabastad in Pretoria/Tswane, his inspiration behind the composition. Ibrahim says of his experiences/memories of Marabastad in Pretoria: “Marabastad, the birthplace of Jazz in South Africa and the Orient Cinema, are now both demolished, but I still have vivid memories of Marabastad as the most vibrant and informed township.”
He also remembers Jazz loving communities Atteridgeville, and Mamelodi, which he says had traditional links to Kofifi-Sophiatown and the Odin Cinema, the home base for live concerts. “I have a vivid memory of a usual all night Jazz party in Atteridgeville in a small community friendly house, packed to capacity and the people forming a circle around a solitary dancer - a young man dancing his own choreographed creation to the recording of Sonny Rollins' Blue Seven - Solos included,” he says.
Described as one of the most gifted jazz musicians in history, Ibrahim previously known as ‘Dollar Brand’, has enjoyed a career that has lasted over half a century. He has worked with many legends of South African and global jazz and created the soundtracks for many movies including the award-winning Chocolat.
Ekaya started playing South African folk music in 1983, and transferred its hymnic magic into the context of instrument jazz. The first album of the septet was simply called ‘Ekaya’. The saxophonists Carlos Ward, Ricky Ford and Charles Davis were part of the band then. ‘Water From An Ancient Well’ followed two years later with the same band members. Ibrahim says the band members of Ekaya have changed completely since its founding, but not its spirit.
"In each group, there is a continual process of interaction, which takes place in three stages: a few come, a few remain, a few go," according to the master. "Ekaya, native country, has become established as a kind of institution. Its centre is a universal code; regardless of where you go, you remain at home."
The 2012 concerts featuring Abdullah Ibrahim and Ekaya take place:
7 December 2012, at 8pm, at the Linder auditorium, Wits University, education campus, Johannesburg;
8 December 2012, at 8pm, at the ZK Matthews Hall, UNISA, Pretoria.
Tickets for these once-in-a-lifetime concerts are available for R250 from
Computicket at www.computicket.com
Ibrahim and Ekaya will also be running a free 3-hour workshop on a first come first served basis, which will examine improvisation, practice and scale techniques, for aspiring musicians on 9th December at the Laager Theatre, Market Theatre centre in Newtown Johannesburg; sponsored by the Department of Arts & Culture and the National Arts Council of South Africa.
About Abdullah Ibrahim
He has not lost any of his eagle-like sharpness despite being in his mid 70s he embodies living history and emanates an aura of impregnable eternity telling stories with his music. Born Adolphe Johannes Brand in 1934, Cape Town, he worked as a professional musician under the name Dollar Brand starting in 1949.
Despite distrust in the Apartheid regime of his native country, until the beginning of the 60s he performed with Miriam Makeba and founded the first noteworthy jazz band in Africa the Jazz Epistles. International recognition prompted him to move to Europe in 1962, performing in Switzerland and Denmark, discovered by Duke Ellington in 1965.
Ellington took Brand back to New York. He set off on a spiritual path on the side of Ornette Coleman and John Coltrane, which he has not left till today. He never broke off his close connection to Africa, but he also constantly sought alliances in Europe and Asia. Starting from 1968, his closest collaborators included musicians such as Don Cherry, Gato Barbieri and the legendary South African bassist Johnny Dyani.
He converted to Islam in 1968 and took the name Abdullah Ibrahim, which slowly replaced the trademark Dollar Brand over the next decades. The foremost integration figure for African jazz in the 70s and 80s. The abolition of apartheid was also an act of liberation for him. Playing at the inauguration of Nelson Mandela in 1994. He expanded the context of his African roots and American memories into a global experience with the reflective solo album "Senzo".