OVER the next four days, KZN will play host to the Unyazi III Electronic Music Festival, a gathering of global music makers who create and experiment with electronic genres of music, and it all goes down at the UKZN, Howard College campus.

Kicking off today, the festival will run until Saturday and offers some of the greatest local and international talent.

The event comprises workshops, presentations and music concerts. Tonight caught up with the curator of the festival, Jürgen Bräuninger, to get the low-down: “The festival will introduce the audience and young composers to electronic art music which can never be heard on radio, TV, or at concerts in this country. While most of us have been exposed to electronic dance music, the music presented at Unyazi is mostly created to find new ways of making and thinking ‘music’.

“It is often experimental in nature, while not excluding more accessible forms such as the Kalahari Surfers’ pop/rock/jazz rooted pieces with political over/undertones, or Lukas Ligeti’s African-influenced music.”

The guests include Hans Tammen and Die Schrauber (Mex, US, Ger) Lukas Ligeti (Aus/US/SA), Carl Stone (US/Japan), the Hadron Ensemble (Switz) and Darragh Morgan (Ire) with SA artists; Jill Richards, Warrick Sony, Into, Cameron Harris, Aragorn, and João Orecchia, among others.

Speaking of the line-up, Bräuninger said: “We are lucky again that so many fabulous musicians from the Americas, Europe, Japan, and, of course, South Africa responded to our invitation. It is a varied line-up, showing very different approaches to electronic music.”

Pianist Richards (pictured) says she is excited about the event: “I’m thrilled. I love sharing the stage with other people. When you collaborate with other people, you always learn something new so it’s great. I’m also dying to hear what everyone is going to do.”

After studying at UCT, going to London and returning to SA, Richards says ever since she began playing the piano, she’s been obsessed with it. Asked what her music represents, she said: “It’s a lot of new music, stuff that’s classics of new music, work that’s 50 and 60 years old. It ranges from Bach to free improvisation.“

So what can audiences expect?

“Electronic festivals are always very interesting so come along and open your minds and your ears. It’s new stuff and for non-regular classical audiences, festivals like this are a blast. Don’t be scared of it; and come and experience something new. It’s really amazing.”

• Unyazi III Electronic Music Festival, Howard College Theatre, Francis Stock Building, School of Music. Workshop application forms at www.newmusicsa.org.za/unyazi2012.html. Entry to workshops is free to registered participants. Concert tickets: R50 at the door, students and NMSA members free. Info: www.newmusicsa. org.za/unyazi2012.html or call 031 260 3353 or 072 822 7988.