Catch Amandla Freedom Ensemble at the Joy of Jazz festival

The Amandla Freedom Ensemble. Picture: Rethabile Phakisi

The Amandla Freedom Ensemble. Picture: Rethabile Phakisi

The group has become a musical tour de force with an agenda to create new music that speaks to both young and old.

The lineup for Joy of Jazz in September this year includes the Amandla Freedom Ensemble (AFE), an urban music collective.

They are dedicated to advancing and preserving South Africa’s musical legacy.

The eight-member ensemble was founded to promote opportunities for everyone to experience live music, participate in artistic dialogue and collaborate with the living legends of SA music, particularly in jazz and indigenous music genres.

AFE holds workshops with composers and arrangers and contributes to the canon of SA’s dynamic musical heritage.

In their work, AFE highlights the compositions of band leader and trumpeter Mandla Mlangeni.

His compositions are performed with dynamism by the band’s core musicians drummer Tumi Mogorosi, bassist Ariel Zamonsky and tenor saxophonists Oscar Rachabane and Nhlanhla Mahlangu.

Adding to the ensemble’s mix are Sisonke Xoni on baritone sax, Gontse Makhene on percussion, Simphiwe Shiburi on drums and Yonela Mnana on piano.

The AFE has, in recent months, become a musical tour de force with an original cultural identity and an agenda to create new music that speaks to both young and old.

Earlier this year, they went on an extended tour of the Southern African Development Community countries. They performed on the fringe of the Harare International Festival of Arts n Zimbabwe, the Bar e Bar in Maputo, Mozambique, the MTN Bushfire Festival in eSwatini (formerly Swaziland) and ended their tour at the National Arts Festival in Makhana (Grahamstown).

The Amandla Freedom Ensemble has been described by America’s JazzTimes as an “urban arts ensemble which wraps elliptical melodies in three-part harmonies, rich with impasto, swinging like broken chandeliers”.

The group has recorded an album titled Born to Be Black: A Celebration of The Conscious Soul.

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