The origins of this music project are found firmly rooted in the soil of our African continent, with its richly diverse peoples and ancient history. The concept was given life by the coming together of two of South Africa’s most adventurous yet sensitive composers and musicians: McCoy Mrubata (alto and tenor saxophones, saxello and flute) and Greg Hadjiyorki Georgiades (who plays nylon guitar, oud, bouzouki and fretless resonator guitar).
It was resolved in the spring of 2004 – over a tasty cup of Mac’s home-brewed coffee – that they would start writing material that was, by nature, acoustic and rhythmically powerful enough to support melodies and styles from across Africa.
Many joyful and laughter-filled months later they had carefully assembled enough material for two albums and the time had come to choose 12 pieces that would express the rich diversity of the music of Africa.
Next, a group of fun-filled, capable expressive and sensitive musicians was required to make it all tick and give the music a voice! This was not a difficult task and soon Greg’s close friend and magical tabla player Ashish Joshi was on tabla, darbuka, dhol and djembe.
Another long-time friend and “musical brother”, Wynand van der Walt, joined the group, playing drums and percussion.
Renowned double bassist Mlungisi Gegana, who has worked with Zim Ngqawana, Hotep Idris Galeta and McCoy Mrubata, was a natural choice, with his depth of expression and groove (and yes… he too is a good friend!).
It followed logically that our choice for extra oomph on vocals and trombone would also turn out to be a friend with the most powerful, sensitive and expressive voice, all rolled into a pocket-sized rocket with attitude: Siya Makuzeni, who is also a trombonist.
When one listens to the music produced by this group, one realises that it could only have come from the deep foundations of these friendships, which allow the music created to transcend the mere notes and rhythms and open new avenues of experience.
Wednesday, 4th of October 2006
Venue: Mamelodi Community Centre – Mamelodi