UKZN’s Centre for Jazz and Popular Music and iSupport Creative Business proudly present the Music Unlocked Sessions.

The latest edition on 15 July will feature horn trio Temb-Horns, saxophonist Simone van Niekerk, and bassist Talent “Mzukulu” Mbatha. The three will each present a 20-minute set.

Temb-Horns is an ensemble from Tembisa that consists of three horns: Kgethi Nkotsi on trombone, Michael Nkuna on trumpet and Simone Manana on alto saxophone. Nkotsi is a 24-year-old from Tembisa, Johannesburg who is currently studying at UKZN, He started playing in 2013 at the age of 16 at Moses Molelekwa Arts Foundation (MTMAF). Over the years he has played with the likes of Salim Washington, Andile Yenana, Khaya Mahlangu and Neil Gonsalves, to name but a few.

Nkuna (20) is the youngest member of the horn section. He started his career as a self-taught musician after which he earned a trumpet section slot at UNISA Wind Band. He is currently studying Music at the Tshwane University of Technology.

Manana is a 21-year-old multi-instrumentalist from Tembisa. He started playing professional gigs while in high school. Among the notable names that he worked with while in high school are Lindi Ngonelo, Mandla Mlangeni, Johnny Mekoa and Khaya Mahlangu, to name but a few.

Music is the heartbeat of van Niekerk’s home. Her dad introduced her and her sisters to the art of music from a young age. Her musical journey began with the piano, but it was the bass guitar and drums that instinctively drew her. In 2010 she had the opportunity of hearing saxophonist, Curtis Kettledas performing live. It was then that she found the instrument that accessed the many facets of her musical world. She attended a few lessons in 2014 to prepare her for her music audition at UKZN, and began her formal education at the University in 2015. She completed her studies in 2018 and continues to further her education through the many musical mentors she encounters. As part of her final exams, van Niekerk hosted her first official show titled “Simply Complexed” in 2019. She managed to pull a crowd of over 650 people. She has played for several events during 2020, with the one that stood out the most being the Nathan Julius Concert at the Hilton College Theatre in February.

Born in Durban, but groomed in Nongoma, Mbatha is a versatile bassist, arranger, composer, producer, studio engineer and music educator. He derives his music style from a diverse range of influences, including Maskandi, Mbhaqanga, jazz, pop, contemporary rock, soul and fusion. As a child in northern KwaZulu-Natal, he grew up listening to people like Mfaz’omnyama, Hhash’elimhlophe, Phuzekhemisi, Mfiliseni Magubane and Soul Brothers, which influenced his signature style of always adding a South African flavour to his music even when playing American tunes. Mbatha started learning to play the bass guitar at the age of 11. He assembled his first jazz ensemble in 2008 and has graced big stages such as the Hazelmere Jazz Festival, Ugu Jazz Festival, Moratele Park and several international stages backing other artists.

Musicians can submit a video that is created especially for the concert, which is likely to be a solo performance or minimal ensemble during this time of social distancing. You can also submit previously recorded videos that are not widely available on the internet, and are part of your archive.

Music Unlocked Sessions

Event Details
Music Unlocked Sessions
Temb-Horns, Simone van Niekerk, and Talent “Mzukulu” Mbatha
Wednesday 15 July 2020
You will receive your link before 18h00 and can watch at a convenient time
Tickets R50 or more on donation

Words: Thulile Zama

Photograph: Supplied