The Standard Bank arts portfolio has embarked on a journey to bring relief to many South Africans through art and entertainment during the times of COVID -19.
The 21-day countrywide lockdown has seen many go into self-isolation and quarantine, with government regulations being put into place to safe guard citizens from new infections of the coronavirus.
Essential services have been authorised to continue with some industries working from home. But for many other South Africans, this has left them frustrated and often wondering what they will be able to put their minds to, as their pens are down and home has become their new normal.
In the time of physical distancing, the Standard Bank says, ‘Art is a connector and a reminder that we are still whole and united regardless of what the country may face,’ Sponsorship Manager, Dianne Graney.
As such, the portfolio in an effort to keep the nation entertained and offering solace to those at home, will be bringing a series of immersive artistic experiences to the homes of South Africans under the name #SBHomeStudio featuring some of its renowned Standard Bank Young Artists from over the years.
‘Standard Bank has been a proud supporter of the arts for over 35 years and has seen many developments taking place in the industry during this time. This period offers us an opportunity to continue supporting the industry by providing artists in our stable an opportunity to share their craft with the nation regardless of the challenges faced by the country that have devastating economic impact,’ says Group Head Sponsorship, Desiree Pooe.
The new normal has encouraged the portfolio to explore new ways of how it can continue to uplift the arts and entertainment industry whilst also keeping arts enthusiast entertained.
‘We are looking forward to going live this week with what will be a weekly series featuring a few of our previous and current Standard Bank Young Artists, who through our digital platforms, will give live performances and share their stories of their journey from when they won the award to where they are today,’ says Graney.
The artist line-up will include but is not limited to:
Nduduzo Makhathini is a 2015 Standard Bank Young Artists and South African jazz musician from Umgungundlovu, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. In addition to producing albums for his peers (such as Thandiswa Mazwai’s Belede and Tumi Mogorosi’s Project Elo), Makhathini has released eight albums of his own since 2014 when he founded the label Gundu Entertainment in partnership with his wife and vocalist Omagugu Makhathini. Those albums earned him multiple awards and include Sketches of Tomorrow (2014), Mother Tongue (2014), Listening to the Ground (2015), Matunda Ya Kwanza (2015), Icilongo: The African Peace Suite (2016), Inner Dimensions (2016), and Reflections (2016). His 2017 album Ikhambi was the first to be released on Universal Music South Africa and won Best Jazz Album at the South African Music Awards (SAMA) in 2018. His Blue Note debut Modes of Communication: Letters from the Underworlds will be released in 2020
Shane Cooper is a bassist, composer and producer based in Johannesburg, South Africa. He is part of the new wave of South African Jazz artists pushing the music forward, and is also known for his work in the electronic/dance music world, as well as commissioned works for films and theatre. In 2013 he was selected as the Standard Bank Young Artist for Jazz in South Africa. In 2014 Oscillations won the South African Music Award (SAMA) for Best Jazz Album. The projects he is currently involved in are MABUTA, the Kyle Shepherd Trio, the Reza Khota Quartet, Skyjack, a new quartet with Benedikt Reising, Thandi Ntuli and Paul Amereller, as well as his electronic music alias Card On Spokes. In the past he has also performed and/or recorded with artists like Zim Ngqawana, Lionel Loueke, Shabaka Hutchings, Talvin Singh, Feya Faku, Louis Moholo-Moholo, Malcolm Braff, Nils Berg, Soweto Kinch, Afrika Mkhize, Spoek Mathambo, Nonku Phiri, Young Fathers, Ndabo Zulu’s album produced by Derrick Hodge, and Daedelus’ 2019 album released on Flying Lotus’ label Brainfeeder.
Thandi Ntuli was born on the 10th September 1987 in one of South Africa’s largest townships, Soshanguve (Pretoria). She comes from a lineage of rich musical heritage, being the niece of guitarist, pianist and lead vocalist of 70’s pop fusion band Harari (The Beaters), Selby Ntuli. At the tender age of 4, she started taking classical piano lessons under the tutelage of Ada Levkowitz. However, her keen interest for jazz was only kindled later in life, leading her to enrol and complete a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Performance at The University of Cape Town. Since the release of her debut jazz album, The Offering which she released independently, Thandi is fast making an imprint in the local jazz scene with her unique voice. The Offering has received critical acclaim as well as numerous awards and recognition since its release in 2014, namely a MetroFM award nomination for Best Urban Jazz in 2015.
In June 1974, amid forced removals under an oppressive government, something extraordinary was happening in Cape Town’s jazz scene; something that eventually sent shockwaves throughout the world. This was a time when the sweet melodies of one of the most iconic jazz songs reverberated through the harshness of apartheid, shaking it up and making a clarion call for change. This was when Abdullah Ibrahim’s Mannenberg began its journey in contributing towards a nation’s emancipation.Fast-forward almost exactly 18 years, to July 1992, when the grip of apartheid began to slacken and Cape Town became home to another jazz prodigy, this time in the form of Mitchells Plain-born Benjamin Jephta, the winner of the 2017 Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Jazz.The 27-year-old has already made a name for himself as one of South Africa’s premier jazz double bass and electric bass players, having performed at venues and festivals locally since the age of 15.