Article: Sagiya Celebrates KZN Jazz Legends 2021
Issued by: Sagiya Foundation
Supported by: KwaZulu Natal Department of Arts and Culture
Date Issued: 24 November 2021
1st Draft by: Atlas Duma (The Producer)
Tickets and RSVP: Call/WhatsApp: 067 738 5301
Celebration Date: 10 December 2021
Venue: Ekhaya Multi Arts Centre – 25 Giya Road, KwaMashu
Candidates: KB Maphumulo, Bhekisigcino Luthuli and Sithembiso Ntuli
Preamble: With this press release we invite all media houses, mainstream and freelancing journalists to issue a preview of this vital celebration. We also invite you all to come and capture the event. We will appreciate it if our media can cover this story as it is of great public interest to our societies. RSCP before the 8th Dec 2021.
Sagiya Foundation cannot feel good to end a year without celebrating KZN Jazz Legends. The foundation started celebrating and honouring KZN Musicians in 2016. Sagiya Foundation honoured many jazz legends that participated in Dim-Dep Musical 2016 “Faces of Environmental Success” theatre production, which was held at the Playhouse Company Opera Theatre. Certificates of recognition were presented to the KZN Music Legends, endorsed by UKZN Centre for Jazz and Popular Music. In 2019 Sagiya Foundation collaborated with The BAT Centre, Rainbow Jazz Restaurant and The Playhouse Company and celebrated the lives, dedication and experience of Moses Sefatsa, Adolph Kunene and Jerry Kunene as some of the great Jazz musicians that have contributed so much in the development and preservation of KZN Township Jazz, especially the “Rabi” sound of Umkhumbane and Big Band sound of Afro Jazz and Mainstream Jazz.
Now in 2021 Sagiya Foundation has identified another three great contributors in Jazz preservation. Mr. Bhekisigcino Luthuli, Mr. Khulekani Bhekuyise Maphumulo and Sithembiso Ntuli. They will be showcasing their music compositions in collaboration with Umkhumbane Jazz Ensemble during the Sagiya Celebrates KZN Jazz Legends in Concert, supported by The Kwazulu Natal Department of Arts and Culture. The trio is a full member of Umkhumbane Jazz Ensemble, an iconic jazz ensemble that contributed so much to keep the jazz legends together until they have recorded and released a signature album “Ezintabeni”.
Sagiya Celebrates KZN Jazz Legends event will be featuring young jazz legends that have developed great agility in mastering their own identical sounds in Jazz, Smooth Jazz, Afro Jazz and Afro Soul. Those are Mthobisi Mthalane coming with 9-piece band, Bongani Nkwanyana coming with 8-piece band, Royalson with 9-piece band, Nicky Shange with 10-piece band and legendary Umkhumbane Jazz Ensemble as a 10-piece band of 6 horns, and 4 musos in rhythm section.
Bhekisigcino Luthuli’s Bio
Mr Luthuli came up with an idea to bring together the grown-up horn players around Durban to not retire too early but to contribute in creating and maintaining the sound of a horn. He brought together the likes of Jerry Kunene on Soprano, Alto and Tenor Sax, Moses Sefatsa on Tenor Sax, Sithembiso Ntuli on Tenor Sax, Muntu Dube on Alto Sax, Eric Duma on Trumpet 1, Bhekie Luthuli himself on Trumpet 2 and Noluthando on Trombone, which later joined by Mduduzi Magwaza on alto Sax. On Rhythm Section he brought Khulekani Bhekuyise Maphumulo, who popular known as KB The Master Maphumulo on Bass Guitar, Vincent Mthethwa on piano and the late Zithulele Dlamini on Drums, whom Atlas Duma was asked to join Umkhumbane Jazz Ensemble after his passing on.
“We felt that we are discriminated amongst rhythm musical instrument players. We want to preserve our “Rabi” grooves of Umkhumbane, which will be a mouthpiece to tell our story of African Heritage through music. That is why we recruited old timers that know their story when it comes to Tonal quality development, African phrases, while engaging international approach in harmonic and improvisation development”. said Mr Luthuli. He is a student of the late Geoge Lee, Bheki is one of those unknown artists who “blow you off”. He is a versatile who has played with Theo Bophela, amongst others and the KZN Jazz Legends, a music teacher.
Luthuli’s music journey includes but not limited to the following business and collaborations: Maloke Jazz Workshop in Alexander Township, John Davis Jazz Workshop. Bheki Khoza Jazz Workshop. He got his first trumpet lessons and trumpet from Michael Blackburn a brass instrument technician. He got tutorials from Jerry Kunene’s son Sfiso a trumpet player. Luthuli’s first Band was called ‘RISE’ comprising of Sthembiso Ntuli Jabu Zwane, Aaron Nzama, Bheki Khoza, Peter Martin and Zithulele Dlamini. He joined a band called ‘Amajitha’ in Pietermaritzburg with Bonani Mambi the pianist, Thulani Mthembu the bassist, ‘Marama’ on drums and Mbuso on trombone. Once we had a school Band at Ziphathele High School. Also had a Band in my Township called the ‘Harmonious Singers’ we played cover music. At primary School called Mafumbuka at C section Umlazi I joined the ‘Boy Scouts’ I played the Bugle. Our teacher Mr ‘shorty’ Mdlalose was the Scouts Master.
Bheki Khoza introduced him to joined African Jazz Pioneers which was led by incredible ‘Bra’ Ntemi Piliso. The band comprised of Sipho Mtshali, Madoda Mathunjwa as drummers, Madoda Gxabeka and Sphiwe Mkhize on pianos, Bheki Khoza and ‘Nkakha’ on guitars, Bheki Buthelezi and ‘Phill’ on bass guitars. ‘Bra’ Fellow and Sam on trumpets. Janie van Tonder and Jasper Cook on trombones. ‘Bra’ Ntemi Piliso and ‘Bra’ Timothy Ndaba on tenor saxophones. ‘Bra’ Shepstone Motsamai on alto saxophone.
Had several stints with the following other musicians Hilton Schilder Capetonian piano player from the Schilder family, Mandla Zikalala the Bassist, Nhlanhla Magagul the greatest Pianist, Mcedisi ‘Black’ Kupi, Nkanyezi Cele a Drummer, Sazi Dlamini multi-instrumentalists and teacher, Bhakho Xaba a bright Drummer. Mlungisi Gegana a Bass player from Port Elizabeth. Khaya Dlamini a saxophone player, Mazwakhe Gumede a Bass player, Barney Bophela a piano player and Mzamo Zungu the Drummer. Grest Jazz singer Octavia Rachabane a daughter of “Bra” Barney Rachabane.
Played with “Nqwelo Africa” led by illuminous Theo Bophela father of Barney Bophela. The members were “Mbhani” Khumalo drums, Jacob Philander guitars, KB Maphumulo on bass guitar, Moses Sefatsa on tenor saxophone and Nonhlanhla “Lady D” Dlomo on vocals later joined by Atlas Duma on Drums. Played with “The Jazz Legends” directed by Theo Bophela under the management of Ntuthuko Khuzwayo and John Ramawota. The ensemble was comprising of the acclaimed Ndikho Xaba “percussionist” and composer pianist, Nonhlanhla Dlomo, Sibongile Mthethwa Siphamandla Manzi on vocals, Moses Sefatsa on tenor, Jerry Kunene on alto, Mandla Mgabhi on percussion, KB Maphumulo on bass and Jacob Philander on guitar. The ensemble had a collaboration with French Trumpet player “Paolo Fresu” and a recording /video deal was signed. Performed in a collaboration of Jazz Meets the classical orchestra, organized by Madoda through Playhouse Company:- KZN Philharmonic Orchestra and Theo Bophela playing his compositions which were recorded ultimately.
Other stints: @ “Maloke Jazz Workshop” George Lee on tenor, Khaya Mahlangu tenor saxophone, Jabu Nkosi on piano, Scorpion Madondo on alto, Big ‘Jack’ Lerole on penny whistle, Vusi Jele on alto……
Who is Khulekani Bhekuyise Maphumulo?
Popular known as KB Maphumulo. He worked with the late Theo Bophela the Jazz Legend, Phelelani Mnomiya and many local jazz artists. He was part of Dim-Dep Musical company music legends that were endorsed by Sagiya Foundation and UKZN Centre for Jazz and Popular Music, so as Mr Luthuli and Sithembiso Ntuli. Mr Maphumulo had been a mentor in many young musicians even when he was still involved in The BAT Centre Artists in Residency Music Learnership Programme.
After playing with local bands way back 70’s 80’s he played with Gospel band known as MCP under leadership of Leonard Ntombela out of which he was exposed for the first time on National TV, recording Gospel Gold. He then approached baba Theo Bophela and told him if he (KB Maphumulo) was in the correct level of playing he would like to be Theo Bophela’s bassist. “He accepted me and trained me”. Confirms Bro KB Maphumulo The Master. Few days later they had a National TV music program recording on Thula Mabothe show, which was presented by Felicia Mabuza Suttle. Few years later, Theo Bophela’s band performed in SABC2 Morning Live during Theo’s debut album launch. That happened after recording with Ukhozi FM for Mr Bophela.
In 1993 Mr KB Maphumulo joined Ukusa Arts Program as a student, which was operating at UKZN where he started improving his keyboard playing techniques as a self-tutor. In 2002 he started teaching at the same program Ukusa Arts Program. In the same year he saw a need to start his own band and he called it ‘KB’s Menu’. At first it was guitars only, which later became a quintet of only dispensable members, such as Atlas Duma the Drummer, Vincent Mthethwa the pianist, on bass is yours truly Bro KB, “The Master” Maphumulo. On all saxophones is Bro Jerry Kunene and the band’s one and only lady is vocalist, Sbongile Mthethwa.
His musical inspiration and influence include 4 Double Bassists, Victor Ntoni, Thami Mtshali, Lex Futshani and Victor Masondo. He is one of the core members of Umkhumbane Jazz Ensemble.
Who is Sithembiso Ntuli?
A product of the University of KwaZulu Natal, he has played and recorded with numerous acts including Sipho Gumede, Madala Kunene, The African Jazz Pioneers, UKZN Jazz, Skokiana, just to mention but a few. He is as much at home playing mainstream jazz as in Marabi music. He is also widely travelled.
Here is Mr Sithembiso Ntuli speaking. “I started to learn saxophone in 1978. My first teacher was Joseph Cele, who confirmed that my learning experience was quicker, such that in the same year he introduced me to Rhythm Aces dance band to play tenor Saxophone. That is where I encountered great musicians like Moses Sefasta, Mike Mvelase and many more artist who would come and go. Then Kwamuhle brass band was to enhance the band to become a dance band consequently more reed players and rhythms section musicians were recruited. That is where I met the likes of Caleb Ndimande, Jerry Kunene, Zithulele Dlamini, Bheki Mseleku and many more good musos. Then I could not play by ear but I was only playing on charts. Bra Zithulele Dlamini suggested that we should learn to play by ear. That is when he took us to Chesterville to form a small combo which comprised of, Bheki Khoza the guitarist, Jabu Zwane the trumpeter, Aron Nzama the guitarist, Langa Mseleku the pianist, Bhekisigcino Luthuli the trumpeter that we are celebrating herein. Then that was a serious beginning of my musical career. This journey was to take me further where I ended up studying jazz at the then Natal University under the directorship of Darius Brubeck. There, we formed a band called Natal University Jazz Connection comprised of Darius Brubeck on piano, Lulu Gonsana on drums, Sazi Dlamini on guitar, Feya Faku on trumpet and fugal horn, Mark Killian on keyboards, Lex Futshane bass and myself tenor sax.
With this band we had extensive American and European tours playing festivals of international standards and we ended up recording an album African Tributes. There after I joined the African Jazz Pioneers and we did a world tour and recorded Sip and Fly Album in 1992. Few years after, I joined The Peace Train Project, led by Sharon Katz. The project toured many cities in America with a group of youth campaigning for peace in South Africa. South Africa was a country infested by uncontrollable and brutal violence. The Peace Train was blowing a whistle to the world to recognise the emergency of democracy. We cut a CD, titled “The Peace Train”. In between I have performed and recorded with many musicians and bands such as Skokiana, Sipho Gumede, IZanusi, Mankunku Ngozi and presently I work with Madala Kunene and Umkhumbane Jazz Ensemble.
Sagiya Celebrates KZN Jazz Legends – Line up
NB: They will be recording for Audio and Video release as EPs and YouTube Channel uploads. The production will attract TV Channels for local live musical content.
Bongani has performed with many well-known and established South African musicians including the likes of Busi Mhlongo, Wendy Mseleku, Tu Nokwe, Mercy Phakela, Alli Katt, Mbongeni Ngema and many more… His musical career has seen touring far and wide – countries as far away as Germany, with many tours of Swaziland, Botswana. Senegal, Namibia and others.
Bongani Nkwanyana met the late Sipho Gumede who was impressed with his playing that he asked him on the spot to join him as his backing bass guitarist. Nkwanyana played with, from that day on, right up until the day Gumede passed on in 2004.
Sipho became Bongani’s greatest mentor and his music is heavily influenced by Gumede’s style of composition and playing. He featured prominently in the majority if Sipho Gumede’s hit albums released under Sheer Sound.
Link to Bongani Nkwanyana’s Music
Independent Record Label: Sagiya Foundation
Debut Album: Ithemba Lami
EP: Bongani Nkwanyana Live in Concert – Sagiya Virtual Jazz Concert 2020
Genre: Smooth Jazz
Composer, arranger, musical director
Independent label: Sagiya Records
MTHALANE has a diploma in Jazz and popular music, obtained from University of KwaZulu Natal, 2007 and has Post Graduate Certificate in Education, obtained from University of South Africa in 2018. One of the Music Facilitator in Eshowe Music Training Workshop in 7 -11 June 2021.
Recent performances: Sagiya International Jazz Day Celebration 2 May 2021 at Mazisi Kunene Museum. Playhouse Company Jazz Sundowners, 18th June 2021. Durban Jazz Festival 26 December 2019, Christmas Celebration Concert 2019 21 – 22 Dec 2020, Tribute Jazz Concert at The Playhouse Durban, 20th of December 2019, Jazz Sundowners at the Playhouse, 13th of December 2019. He was invited to play piano welcoming the guests at the Consulate General of USA on the 29th of August 2019; He played at Ayishe World Music Festival on the 30th of June 2019, He has worked with Nina Mkhize on the 19th of April 2017, Futhi Mahlasela on the 04th of June 2017, Rainbow Reggae Artist on the 17th of June 2017.
Royalson’ real name is Andile Zindela. He was a Youth Ambassador of Ethekwini Municipality Youth Office 2019/2020. Acquired Certificates of Music Tuition Programme from BAT Centre and KUMISA,
Nominee for “Live Your Dream Awards” (LYD AWARDS 2018)
Singles: “Ugcabhayiyane”, “KWIHI” Ft DJ Gabriel Youngstar, “Uzongithola” with Umkhumane Jazz Ensemble (UJE). Streamed in Radio Stations: SA FM, Ukhozi FM, Vuma FM, Gagasi FM, and all KZN Community Radio Stations.
Festivals: Durban Jazz Festival with his Band, Ugu Jazz Festivals with UJE, Horn Hang up Concerts with UJE in Playhouse Drama Theatre, BAT Centre, Rainbow Restaurant, to mention but few.
Current: Promoting his Single “Undabazamantu” Music video on TV Channels & YouTube
Success: Recorded a Live DVD with Sagiya Virtual Jazz Concert 2020 at The Playhouse Company Opera Theatre. Audio Released it on all digital platforms.
Solo Vocalist, Backing Vocalist and Composer.
As part of embarking on a solo career, she moved back to Durban in 2015. She has made several live performances in and around Durban, to the delight of audiences. Her band consists of prominent and well-travelled musicians, Bernard Mndaweni being her musical director and principal bassist. Nicky has been writing songs since 1993. She refuses to be boxed into a specific genre because of her versatility. Her music consists of African rhythms, soulful sounds, and jazz. In 2016, Nicky was the lead singer in a project called Forest Jam Orchestra. The project consisted of musicians from Switzerland, Mozambique and South Africa. The group performed live at Kaya FM and toured South Africa and neighbouring countries. Recently, she performed songs by her late mentor Busi Mhlongo in a live broadcast at Ukhozi FM which honoured fallen South African music icons. One of her immediate goals include recording a live album, which her fans will get to know her as a solo artist. Performing live is one of the things that give her the greatest satisfaction as an artist.
Umkhumbane Jazz Ensemble
Umkhumbane Ensemble is a musical outfit from Durban, formed out of musical influences of ‘Umkhumbane Settlement’, currently known as Cato Manor, on the western part of Durban. Senior members of the band learned their trade in Umkhumbane and plied their trades in Durban YMCA and ‘eMathilamini’ (Trams Durban Bus Depot), which were the only musical venues available to them during the fifties.
The band is set up on marabi music style with strong big band influence. Their repertoire is dominated by music of the late 50’s mixed with big band selection and UJE members’ compositions. UJE has decided rescue this music style before it gets lost. UJE fans also enjoy original compositions by various musicians of UJE. The music style of UJE also bring you back to the vibes of Sofia Town and District Six.
The band had various Engagements both private and public in various forms, as described below: Participated in a major Jazz Stage of ESSENCE Durban Festival 2016 at The Playhouse Opera Theatre. UJE was part of the Dim-Dep World Environment Celebration Programme 2016 (Playhouse Opera Theatre). Often participating in most of annual Hazelmere Dam Jazz Festivals, Ugu Jazz Festivals, Umlazi Jazz Festivals, Durban July Handicap (to mention but few). UJE Special achievement is the release of their Debut Album “Ezintabeni”, which got nominated for SATMA Awards 2017. The Album was officially launched in Rainbow Restaurant and Jazz Club. All UJE members received certificates of Recognition from UKZN Centre for Jazz and Popular Music, as Jazz Legends that contributed in the development of African Jazz Sound (initiated by Sagiya Foundation).