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UKZN and Virginia Commonwealth University
perform together on stage in the United States.

Five students and two staff members of the Jazz programme at UKZN recently played in a collaborative ensemble concert in the United States with Virginia Commonwealth University counterparts.

The concert was in support of VCU’s and UKZN’s ‘Jazz Bridge to Greater Understanding’ community engagement project which is now into its third year.

 The UKZN ensemble described the experience as ‘enriching, enlightening and fun’.

Mr Rogan van den Berg pointed out that the UKZN ensemble had never played together before. ‘We all come from different levels – first years to third years – but we got to know each other and became familiar with the style and sound of each other’s music. Then we began to perform comfortably together as a talented ensemble, thereafter, taking to the stage to perform in a joint concert with VCU counterparts.’

Vocalist in the UKZN ensemble, Mr Kwena Ramahuta, said: ‘It was fun to play alongside the VCU students – we managed to bring out different aspects of each of our performances and it worked well onstage. We were able to bring the African sound of Maskandi to a new audience and they were quite appreciative.

‘Sharing the stage with the VCU students proved to be a really good collaboration and it showed that two groups with different cultural backgrounds can work well together.’

Mr Jude Ganesan said patience was a key component in terms of learning music and working as a group. ‘Music is who we are; it is an extension of our character and personality. Our happiness is found in music.’

Mr Lungelo Ngcobo, who has been a part of the VCU/UKZN partnership since its inception in 2012, said the exchange partnership gave students the opportunity to explore different cultures. ‘It’s amazing just how much the partnership has grown and matured. It changes your mind-set and manages to bridge the gap between two countries and two universities, breaking down boundaries and creating lasting friendships.’

Mr Dalisu Ndlazi advised music students to work hard and to grasp opportunities. ‘Being passionate and loving music isn’t enough, you have to prove yourself and show that you have what it takes to make it in music.’

The UKZN students plan to pursue postgraduate studies in music with some hoping to enter the academic fraternity as lecturers, while others want to work in the music industry and learn the business aspect of it and become music writers for movies and soapies, making it big on the international and local music scenes.