Picture: File photo

The Southern African Music Rights Organisation (Samro) Overseas Scholarships Competition is set to take place this Saturday at the Linder Auditorium in Parktown, Johannesburg. 

Trumpeter English, the winner of the 2012 SAMRO overseas scholarship for jazz instrumentalists, will be performing at the competition which will bring jazz music alive in the form of an evening concert.

As part of the evening’s entertainment, English will perform Pledge for Peace, a suite written for Nelson Mandela, who would have turned 100 this year. Bassist Concord Nkabinde, another frequent SAMRO collaborator, in collaboration with David Klassen will be performing part of two songs from their project Nelson Mandela – The Song Lives On as a dedication to Madiba.

Both English and Nkabinde have had the pleasure of playing at the Rabobank Amersfoort Jazz Festival which is regarded as one of Europe’s hottest open-air jazz event.

The initiative was by Professor Karendra Devroop of the UNISA Foundation, who invited the SAMRO Foundation’s André le Roux and others to experience the Dutch-South African Jazz Expedition at the 2016 edition of the festival.

Ten South African jazz musicians performed there and, as part of a cultural exchange, 10 of their Dutch counterparts in return performed in South Africa.

This time around, several SAMRO Overseas Scholarships alumni will be heading to the Netherlands to perform original material, network, collaborate and return home feeling creatively reinvigorated.

Among the previous SAMRO scholarship alumni who have taken the historic Dutch city by storm in the past three years are Bokani Dyer, Linda Sikhakhane, Zoë Modiga, Mandla Mlangeni, Ntando Ngcapu, Thandi Ntuli, Benjamin Jeptha, Keenan Ahrends and Darren English. The excursions were made possible with support from SENA, the largest Collection Management Organisation for both performers and recording rights holders in the Netherlands, and the SAMRO Foundation’s partnership with the UNISA Foundation.

At this year’s festival, last year’s SAMRO scholarship winner, Ntando Ngcapu, and English linked up with the 2018 and 2017 Standard Bank Young Artist winners for jazz, pianist Thandi Ntuli and bassist Benjamin Jephta, as well as guitarist Keenan Ahrends, to form the All-Star South Africa Band as part of the Laureates Festival. Ntuli, Jephta and Ahrends are all previous SAMRO scholarships semi-finalists or finalists.

Pianist Ngacpu, who had the privilege of attending jazz master classes by leading Dutch musicians says he loves having fun on stage and interact with jazz lovers and that the audience at Amersfoort certainly delivered a great ambience.