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South African Jazz Stories – an online video project

SAJE is very excited to release a new online video project entitled ‘South African Jazz Stories’, which came about as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The South African Association for Jazz Education (SAJE) is a non-profit organisation that promotes jazz and jazz education in South Africa through its bi-ennial Jazz Conferences and Jazz Festivals, plus workshops, mentorship, international collaborations and exchanges, live performances, skills and audience development. And now an online jazz video project.
     The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting lockdown has been a particularly brutal period for the performing arts in South Africa. Music and Arts organisations such as SAJE and musicians in particular, had to reinvent themselves to survive, as shows and concerts were postponed or cancelled. Out of this dilemma was born the idea for the SAJE ‘South African Jazz Stories’ online video project. The 15th SAJE Jazz Conference in Pretoria in August was cancelled and so SAJE decided to go online and continue their jazz education project in a completely different format.

     There are 15 SAJE jazz stories in this current project. They are quite diverse and give an interesting perspective on jazz and jazz education in South Africa. Some are how-to videos, while others give advice or tell a story behind a particular composition or an oral history of an iconic South African band. Those participating in this video project include drummer Jonno Sweetman, guitarist Steve Newman, trumpeters Darren English and George Mari, vocalists Estelle Kokot and Natalie Rungan, manager Catherine Brubeck and photographer Siphiwe Mhlambi, among others. Stories come and go, but some hang around – influencing, teaching, inspiring and enlightening. That is our hope.
     SAJE released the first ‘jazz story’ on the SAJE YouTube channel on 1 September and will continue to do so until the end of 2020. The SAJE online video project has been made possible with supporting grants from The SAMRO Foundation and from Business and Arts South Africa (BASA).

     ‘We look forward to presenting the “South African Jazz Stories” project to a larger audience via Creative Feel. And grateful thanks must go to Creative Feel for helping to keep South African performing and visual arts alive and accessible during these strange times we find ourselves in,’ says Diane Rossi of SAJE.

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