Thursday, February 15, 2007


Vivid Africa - McCoy & Georgiades Jazz

I first heard of Greg Georgiades, an awesome guitarist & oud player from Johannesburg, a few years back from Robert Trunz of MELT, with his collaboration with one of my firm favourites, Zulu guitarist Madala Kunene. Since then we have had more contact with him and are looking at international gigs for his various ensembles.

Robert had contact last week to say that he is coming down for the Cape Town International Jazz Festival, and he needed me to rip some material from a promotional DVD of Vivid Africa – a really exciting World music ensemble that we have had on our books for awhile. I hadn’t seen them live before the DVD arrived, and was very surprised at how much seeing them live made the music more real.

With it’s very impressive line-up I shouldn’t have been; McCoy Mrubata plays the Saxello, alto & tenor saxophones and the flute; Greg Hadijyorki Georgiades is on Vocals, oud and flamenco guitar; Ashish Joshi is a master of the tabla, the darbuka and dhol; Mlungisi Gegana is on acoustic & electric bass; Wynand van der Walt on Drums & percussion; and finally, but certainly not least, have a listen to the wonderful warm vocals of Siya Makuzani – and she also plays the trombone!

It’s this kind of exciting hybrid jazz that we should hearing more of, as I have also mentioned with Shannon Mowday. Music from South Africa, made by South Africans, reflecting who we are, where we come from, and definitely where we are going.

It is amazing how music brings people together, no matter what their culture, language or race; just the desire to be able to create an energy together using instruments is communication at its simplest. And these artists have a lot to say it seems!

Greg and Ashish have been playing together for many years in the east and north African ensemble Avaaz (together with Priyesh Bhana on bansuri), after which they also collaborated very successfully in the group Strings & Skins. Greg has also played closely with Wynand as part of the Mutant Harmony Trio (with Marc Duby on bass), and two of South Africa’s most well known guitarists Steve Newman and Tony Cox in the Aquarian Quartet.

South African Music Award winner McCoy Mrubata has played with the best of the best; Ringo Madlingozi, the late Sipho Gumede, Errol Dyers and Tucan Tucan’s Frank Paco to name a few. His SAMA’s have come for his 2003 album Face the Music (Best Traditional), and the 2005 album, Icamagu Livumile.

But as can be seen in the video I am featuring below, Siya Makuzeni, from the Eastern Cape, on vocals is a breath of fresh air! Enjoy it!

07/02/19 UPDATE: I just wanted to confirm that Vivid Africa will be appearing at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival. Once the program has been released I will have more info, but I do know they will be appearing on Rosies Stage, which has a capacity of 1500 - so let's fill it Cape Town!

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