Tuesday, February 06, 2007
Shannon Mowday - South Africa's joy of jazz!
We’ve had a lot of contact with Shannon over the years, having first met her when she was playing with one of Cape Town’s top party bands, Late Final, back in about 1997. Her brother Hylton was also always impressive, but unfortunately South Africa lost him to Australia, and though it has crossed Shannon’s mind to leave to seek her fortune there, she is finding that her roots are keeping her here, and playing a strong part in defining who she is.
She’s a tough cookie. And I have no doubt that she will find a niche in the market that demands her to be herself, because her talent can only fully be appreciated when she is able to create on her own, not just a musician who plays like other artists. She needs to be seen and recognized for her own style – and that’s what has now happened with this award from Standard Bank. Shannon has officially been recognized.
Not that she hasn’t before – judging by the quality of her gigs over the last few months, which include: performing with her group ‘Galumphing’ at the Cape Town Jazzathon (January 2007); as a soloist with top Afrikaans artists at the Huisgenoot Kaapse Jol at the Bellville Velodrome (January 2007); Jazz in the Pines – Norfolk Jazz Festival – Norfolk, Australia (December 2006), at the ‘New Morning’ Jazz Club in Paris with SAFRA – South African-French all female collaboration (September 2006); her band Galumphing appearing at the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz Jazz Festival (August 2006); and performing as conductor of a National High School Big Band for Standard Bank Joy of Jazz (August 2006). She’s been a busy-bee, and got lots of exciting plans ahead for this year.
One of the problems we have as booking agents, who cater to a mainly corporate market, is that we have to deal with our client’s expectations and requirements, who also often have absolutely no idea about what is available or hot & happening at the moment – which is why they would come to us at Peak.
We advise them who we feel will best fit their requirements – but there is still very little experimentation and exploration going on out there; allowing artists to collaborate, mix-and-match styles or just play their own compositions. Clients often prefer the safe option of getting a band that can play the music they know and are comfortable with – thereby missing out on a possible mind-blowing experience. (We’re excited with FCB Impact 361 & Santam for confirming Arno & Gloria’s collaboration – talk about being hip!)
The music that our artists produce in this country is fresh and exciting; it is influenced by far more real human emotion and experience than most of the ‘pop’ artists who live in their little protected worlds in the heart of the 1st world; and is gaining international fans as more and more of them have the means of exporting their sounds.
Shannon hasn’t just taken it lying down. She has appeared at those bill-paying events, such as a day at the J&B Met in searing heat and a battlefield of youngsters in various stages of inebriation; or for the corporate client who thinks that a lapel-mike will be sufficient to amplify Shannon as she is expected to roam between the guests with her sax – but then her class is recognized at gigs like the Lord Mayors Banquet Ball, London with Concord Nkabinde (19-22 March), and watch out for her group Galumphing, featuring 2 Norwegian musicians, at the coming Cape Town International Jazz Festival (30&31 March).
In the meantime – here is an interview made by Red Pepper Production for the Standard Bank Young Jazz Artist award, to introduce you to one of our musical wonders and a name to look out for in future – Shannon Mowday. I will be featuring lots more snippets of the exciting projects Shannon is involved in – as I said – she’s on the ball!
(Pics by Suzy Bernstein for Standard Bank)
07/02/19 UPDATE: Shannon will be appearing on the Basil 'Manenberg' Coetzee stage at the C.T.I.J.F - a nice big venue with a capcity for 3500! See you there!