Singing for 67 Blankets

Centre for Jazz and Popular Music, Tuesday 14th April, 6.00pm


The evening of song includes a programme of opera, classical voice, popular music, jazz, Isicathamiya, Amahubo, solo and ensemble singing. The Durban Girls' High School Vocal Ensemble will join the UKZN performers with a selection of choral pieces. 

This annual concert not only provides a platform to showcase the talented, diverse singers in the School of Arts, and broader community, it also provides an opportunity to make a contribution to the national charity '67 Blankets'. Each singer has donated a ball of wool or knitted a square which will be sewn together to make a blanket for this campaign and will be presented to the charity at the concert - all blankets in this campaign will be displayed at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Nelson Mandela Day before being distributed to various charities across the country. Mozart, Schubert and Puccinni plus Gershwin, Monk and Porter, even Trainor and Beyonce! A donation box for wool/cash will be available at the door. 

Tickets cost R30/R15 (students) and doors open at 5.30pm. 

For further info 031 2603385



Tenth Anniversary of the African Cultural Calabash 

and the First International Council for Traditional Music African Musics Study Group Symposium 

Hosted by the African Music Project, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban South Africa

September 30 – October 3 2015

For the past nine years, the African Music and Dance Program at the University of KwaZulu-Natal has hosted a local folklore event billed as the African Cultural Calabash.  The event includes staging of folklife performances, workshops, and African Cuisine. 

In 2009 the University of KwaZulu-Natal proudly hosted the 40th World Conference of the International Council for Traditional Music.  It was indeed a memorable occasion with a number of events and presentations that showcased the best that KwaZulu-Natal Province has to offer, including an all-night isicathamiya competition, commissioned dance and music works, a plenary session of luminaries in the local traditional music and dance scene, and the memorable keynote address delivered by Professor Andrew Tracey.  It was at the Durban World Conference that delegates met and deliberated on the formation of a special study group whose focus would be African Musics.  The AMSG was formalised by the ICTM Executive Board in 2011.

We welcome contributions on the following topics:

  • Transnational Diasporic cultures
  • Packaging heritage
  • African bows, fiddles, harps, guitars

A selection of papers will be included in a publication

Deadline for Submission of 300 word abstracts is March 31st 2015.  Send proposals to: and include a short biographical note of 100 words.

Program Committee: Patricia Achieng Opondo (Chair), Marie Agatha Ozah, Rose Omolo Ongati, Ana Flavia Miguel, Jorge Castro Ribeiro, Eduardo Luchuge

Local Arrangements Committee: Patricia Achieng Opondo (Chair), Lebogang Sejamoholo, Nhlakanipho Ngcobo, Jose Alberto Chemane, Lindani Phumlomo, Thabile Buthelezi, Thulile Zama



Kathryn Olsen

Music and Social Change in South Africa: Maskanda Past and Present




published by Temple University Press at the end of 2014, looks at contemporary maskanda against the backdrop of South Africa’s history. Working closely with translated song lyrics and musical notation—and applying musical and socio-political analysis to this music and its cultural context—Olsen argues that maskanda offers insight into how the post-apartheid ideal of social transformation is experienced by those who were marginalized for most of the twentieth century.

Drawing on a decade of research, Olsen strives to demystify the Zulu part of contemporary experience in South Africa and to reveal some of the complexities of the social, economic, and political landscape of contemporary South Africa. This book is enhanced by audio-visual material on Temple University Press’s Ethnomusicology Multimedia website.

Dr. Olsen is a Lecturer in Ethnomusicology, Popular Music, and Related Studies at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s School of Arts.




Christopher Ballantine

Marabi Nights: Jazz, 'race' and Society in Early Apartheid South Africa 

The second edition of Christopher Ballantine's classic Marabi nights - Jazz, 'race' and society presents a fascinating view of the marabi jazz tradition in South African popular music to a new generation of music fans and scholars of cultural studies, politics and music. Based on conversations with legendary figures in the world of music as well as a perceptive reading of music, its socio-political history and social meanings, Ballantine's project is one of sensitive and impassioned curatorship. An accompanying CD of recordings from the 1930s and 1940s yields almost forgotten treasures. A selection of archival images gives the narrative further resonance. The second edition contains a new chapter on the Manhattan Brothers and singing groups' adaptation of the American close harmony tradition. Through the prism of popular music, the new edition also goes further in its discussion of gender in the context of forced migrant labour in the 1950s.

Christopher Ballantine is Emeritus LG Joel Professor of Music at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, a Fellow of the University, and an internationally acclaimed researcher and writer on music. His books and articles tend to be cross-cultural and interdisciplinary, and cover a wide range of issues in the fields of musicology, popular music studies, the sociology of music, and ethnomusicology.



UKZN Master of Music student Prince Bulo won the prestigious 2014 SAMRO Overseas Scholarships Competition in the Jazz Music category. He received the lucrative R170 000 award to further his music studies abroad. 

On 30 August 2014, the Wits Great Hall in Braamfontein resounded with vibrant music when the original compositions of the four scholarships finalists were performed during a special Concert Evening. The Orbit Big Band from the Orbit Jazz Club in Braamfontein performed both Jazz Music compositions that were in contention for top honours: April 14 by Kingsley Buitendag – a composer, pianist, bass player and lecturer based in the Eastern Cape – and Bass’d in Africa by Prince Bulo. Both candidates had been merit or runner-up award winners in previous SAMRO Overseas Scholarships Competitions.

Dedicating this, the 53rd SAMRO Overseas Scholarships Competition, to pioneering composers both past and present, SAMRO Foundation managing director André le Roux noted: “The path of the pioneer and the innovative thinker is seldom a smooth one, but as long as we embrace the artists, creators, novel troublemakers, inventors, rebels and revolutionaries in our midst, there is hope for the state of our arts sector.”

Nozuko Teto 

Nozuko Teto, a graduate of our Opera Studio and Choral Academy (OSCA), was the soprano prizewinner of the 2013 “Toti Dal Monte” Competition, held in Treviso, Italy. As prizewinner, she was given the role of Mimì in a production of La Bohème that toured through five Italian cities. The renowned opera critic Max Loppert saw her performance in Ferrara, where the tour ended recently. In an article in OPERA [London] he writes: “What became clear from this performance is that [Nozuko is] a born exponent of the role, bothphysically and with a timbre at once exquisitely velvety and gentle… Particularly in the final two acts she proved herself an authentic and deeply moving Puccini soprano.”


Renowned anthropologist, dancer, singer and songwriter Johnny Clegg had the audience singing along to a traditional Zulu war song when receiving an Honorary Doctorate in Music from the University on 16 April 2013.

Clegg was honoured during the College of Humanities Graduation ceremony for his sensitive and inspiring promotion of South African culture, music and history at home and abroad, and for his success in uniting South Africans and bringing pride and hope to South Africa.

‘The tradition of street music I stumbled upon had been forged over decades of experimentation as the ebb and flow of migration to Johannesburg and Durban exposed the migrants to new ideas and formats,’ he told his audience about his early musical years.

‘I was amazed at the innovative manner in which western instruments were thoroughly Africanised. The guitar developed from a strumming style (ukuvamba) to a highly sophisticated picking style (Ukupika). Whereas the guitar could simply be re-tuned and strings changed around, the concertina had to be physically taken apart and all the buttons changed around in order to play Zulu music,’ said Clegg.

Clegg is known as one of South Africa’s greatest musical exports and has been in the music industry for over 40 years. Sharing his musical journey with the UKZN audience, he said: ‘I often did not know what I was singing, but I had a musical ear and I could pronounce Zulu perfectly in a melody ... This led to some awkward moments where I rendered some very lewd, bawdy and explicit songs with the innocence of a 15-year-old, which made my audience at the hostels laugh until they cried, saying “play it again, play it again!” And I would play it again, happy that they found my performance so intensely moving,’ he said.

With a critical eye on South Africa’s racial imbalances, Clegg has promoted a unique pride in African heritage in a way that reconciles rather than tears apart. At the height of apartheid he made possible what seemed impossible: a celebratory ideological and artistic model for tolerance and human brotherhood, against the backdrop of divisive racial policies.

Clegg’s career includes lecturing Anthropology at the University of the Witwatersrand where he also worked on blending English lyrics and Western melodies with Zulu musical structures. South African music producer Hilton Rosenthal then signed up Clegg and his musical associate and friend, Sipho Mchunu, at a time when there was official prejudice against mixed race groups.

Clegg – who campaigned consistently against the injustices of apartheid and was instrumental in putting the new South Africa on the world map – has performed at all four of Nelson Mandela’s 46664 AIDS Awareness Concerts in South Africa and Norway.

‘If there is a continuity in the work I have done, it is this underlying idea of crossing boundaries and mixing competing approaches. It forms the background and influence in the crossing over of musical forms in most of the music I have composed,’ Clegg said.

This was an attitude and approach to culture, he explained, which finds resonance in Levi-Strauss’ notion of “bricolage” - being a cultural handyman and fixing the changing world with anything at hand. ‘That has given life and meaning to what I do,’ he said.

In addition to a number of international awards and honorary degrees, Clegg’s South African awards include the Four Outstanding South Africans Award in 1990; an honorary doctorate from Wits University in 2007; a SA Music Association nomination for the Best Live DVD in 2008, and the Order of Ikhamanga in 2012 for his ‘excellent contribution to and achievement in the field of bridging African traditional music forms, promoting racial understanding … working for a non-racial society and being an outstanding spokesperson for the release of political prisoners’.

updated 5 February 2015 by Jurgen Brauninger 

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