September Jive to celebrate South African music heritage


31 August 2016

The September Jive art exhibition and music seminar series will celebrate Heritage
Month with a tribute to the musical heritage of South Africa. Curated by former Gallo Music archivist Rob Allingham, with support from the Southern African Music Right Organisation (Samro) and the French Institute of South Africa, it will be held at Alliance Francaise in Parkview, Johannesburg, from 1-30 September 2016.

A series of events will provide a platform to meet, discuss and engage with the
undeniable diversity and fertile history of South African music. It will comprise
two art exhibitions, as well as panel discussions and screenings of music documentaries
and music-themed films.

The primary aim of the month-long event is to promote South African musical
heritage to a wider audience, from an academic, historical and visual perspective.

Entrance to the exhibits, discussions and viewings is free throughout the month.


The South African Music Graphics exhibition will present more than 150 of the
country’s most important, unique album sleeve designs, dating back over 100 years.
Curated and selected by some of the country’s most knowledgeable collectors and
art designers, including installation artist Siemon Allen, Allingham, journalist
Caroline Hillary and art academic Molemo Moiloa.

The My Favourite Sounds exhibition is a multimedia, interactive experience
incorporating photography, sound and social media. Some of South Africa’s best
music and media personalities present their favourite South African music. The
exhibition will feature portraits by up-and-coming music photographer Dwayne
Kapula of the various contributors, who include Yvonne Chaka Chaka and Johnny
Clegg. There will also be video interviews about what South African music means to
them and what songs and performers in particular have had an influence on their

The exhibitions will provide a digital platform through the event’s Facebook and
other social media pages, for the general public to join in and contribute their own
favourite local recordings and album art.

Panel discussions

Wednesday, 7 September 18:30

Forbidden sounds: music and censorship in the time of apartheid

Presented by Rhodes University sociology professor Michael Drewett, the talk
will explore apartheid’s music censorship practices, from the banning of
“undesirable” music to keeping the airwaves clear of subversive messages.

Thursday, 15 September 18:30

Past to the present: old sounds to modern ears

The discussion will be on the current re-issues market, from compilations to
original albums, and how its popularity is benefiting undiscovered artists from the
past. The panel will also discuss the successes and challenges faced by four local
specialist music labels in the age of sampling and music copyright.

The panel will be moderated by SAFM’s Richard Nwamba , with contributions
from musicologist Chris Albertyn, Allingham and legendary radio DJ and record
label executive Benjy Mudie.

Thursday, 22 September 18:30

SA cult albums: divine sounds?

This panel discussion will examine the notion of cult underground music and its
place in popular art.

Highlighting the 1968 song Yakhal’ Inkomo by Winston “Mankunku” Ngozi as one of the best examples of a piece of music achieving cult status, the panel will unpack what cult hits mean and how social and political factors work to create a cult classic piece of pop culture.

Moderated by Brenda Sisane from Kaya FM, contributors include music
journalist Percy Mabandu, producer Lloyd Ross and other panellists, to be confirmed
closer to the date.

Wednesday, 28 September 18:30

A brief history of the South African music industry

Presented by music archivist Allingham, this talk will cover a century of
producing, marketing and distributing local music, from the early years to the
greatest successes and to the digital trends of the present and beyond.

Film screenings

Friday, 2 September 18:30

Shwabada, a documentary by Nhlanhla Masondo

Exploring the music and life of composer and multi-instrumentalist Ndikho
Xaba, described as an artist “for whom jazz is much too small (a definition)”, this
documentary explores Xaba’s influence on the relationship between theatre, politics
and music, while creating an intimate portrait of one of Africa’s greatest musicians.

Friday 9 September 18:30

Amandla! A Revolution in Four-Part Harmony, a documentary by Lee Hirsh

The popular, soul-stirring documentary on how South African music influenced
the liberation movement, it features exclusive interviews with those who were part
of the struggle. Rare film footage documents the vital role musicians played in the
fight against apartheid.

Friday, 16 September 18:30

Dilemma (A World of Strangers) a film by Henning Carlsen

Made in 1962 and based on Nadine Gordimer’s exploration of the effects of
apartheid on all its citizens, the film – which was secretly filmed in the country by
Danish filmmaker Carlsen – features memorable and historically important musical
performances by Tandi Mpambane (Klaasen), Abigail Kubeka, Kippie Moeketsi and
Wanda Makhubu.

Africa Shakes, a film by Basil Mailer

Made in 1965 and influenced by the popularity of the Beatles’ A Hard
Day’s Night
music film, this documentary offers a unique time capsule of the
local music scene in South Africa during the 1960s, both in the cities and the
townships. The film includes appearances and performances by, among others, Ben
Nkosi, Reggie Msomi, Lemmy “Special” Mabaso and Gideon Nxumalo.

Friday, 23 September 18:30

Jiving and Dying: The Radio Rats Story, a documentary by
Michael Cross

Twenty-five years in the making, the film looks at the music of rock band Radio
Rats and the subversive socio-political lyrics of frontman Jonathan Handley. The
band became a ground-breaking trailblazer in independent rock music in South Africa.

Friday, 30 September 18:30

Future Sounds of Mzansi, a documentary by Nthato Mokgata and Lebogang Rasethaba

The film explores South Africa’s cultural landscape after 20 years of
democracy, through the rise of local electronic dance music. It covers the
underground history of the genre and the work of some of its most diverse genre-
bending contemporary artists, including narrator Spoek Mathambo.

Alliance Française of Johannesburg is at 17 Lower Park Drive, corner Kerry
Road, opposite Zoo Lake, Parkview, Johannesburg.

For more information, visit the September Jive Facebook page.

Alliance Française of Johannesburg reporter

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