Members of the VCU Africa Combo (from left)
Ryan Moses (piano), Roger Pouncey Jr. (guitar),
Jordan Mason (bass), Cleandre Foster (drums),
Trey Sorrells (alto sax) and Doug Jemison
(tenor sax), with Professor Antonio Garcia

Avid jazz-lovers, students and staff packed UKZN’s Centre for Jazz and Popular Music to enjoy the sounds of The VCU Africa Combo.

This concert was part of the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) and University of KwaZulu-Natal Jazz Bridge to Greater Understanding community engagement project, now in its third year and supported by the VCU Global Education Office and VCU arts, and VCU Music.

Throughout last year, both universities explored the parallels in racial/cultural divides in Richmond (the former Confederate capital), and Durban. The project aims to explore the common experiences of the home communities of participants by organising visits of scholars and students of African-based music and culture to both campuses.

In their performance, student Bassist Jordan Mason joined students returning to the VCU Africa Combo: Trey Sorrells (alto sax), Cody Reifsteck (tenor sax), Roger Pouncey Jr. (guitar), Ryan Moses (piano), and Cleandre Foster (drums), accompanied by Professor Antonio Garcia on trombone.

The UKZN Jazz Storytellers Ensemble also graced the stage featuring Kwena Elvis Ramahuta (vocals), Rogan van den Berg (guitar), Lungelo Ngcobo (piano), Dalisu Ndlazi (bass), Jude Ganasen (drums), and Burton Naidoo (piano) with Director Neil Gonsalves. 

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 mindset and manages to bridge the gap between two countries and two universities, breaking down boundaries and creating lasting friendships.’  

The two groups played compositions by Trey Sorrells, Professor Antonia Garcia of VCU, Ngcobo and Mr Burton Naidoo of UKZN.