UFH Music duo to perform at jazz concert in honour of international legendary vocalist – Pinise Saul

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University of Fort Hare (UFH) music time-on-task lecturers, Siphokazi Ngxokolo-Bili and Sinethemba Bili and four of their students are among jazz artists to perform at the 4th Restoration in Jazz Tribute & Fundraising concert.

Taking place on Sunday, 19 November, at the East London Guild Theatre, the show is an intergenerational concert in honour of Eastern Cape jazz legends while also raising funds for initiatives that seek to restore and preserve the genre, such as the Jazz in Schools programme.

This year’s concert will honour the late, internationally renowned jazz vocalist Pinise Saul from Mdantsane who went into exile in the 1970’s.

The show will feature internationally renowned guest artists such as seasoned jazz saxophonist McCoy Mrubata, Resti Pule (vocalist), Vukile Mpatalala (pianist), Ally Sokatsi (guitarist), Nolwethu Gxobole (vocalist), Vuyolwethu Nyangwa (vocalist), Sakhile Simani (trumpeter), Franky Gardenz (drummer), Theo Mangaza (alto-saxophonist) and the youth band. 

The two UFH lecturers, Siphokazi will be on the vocals while Bili will play the piano.

UFH music students, Inga Mbete will play the trombone; Khanya Ngamlana Chinedu will be on the drumkit while Aneliswa Dlamini and Siphiwo Thobela will be on the vocals.

Once crowned “Queen of African Jazz” by The Guardian newspaper, Saul’s music career started when she met legendary pianist, Tete Mbambisa who recruited her to join their group, the Four Yanks. The group attained national popularity in the early 1960’s for their hit single, Umsenge (The Milk Tree).

In 1975 she went into exile, leaving for London with the musical group, Ipi Tombi. There she reinforced her stature of being a legend in the jazz music industry, performing with artists as diverse as Bob Marley and Patti Labelle.

A month before her death in London in 2016, Saul visited her hometown and one of her stops was none other than the University of Fort Hare where she held a workshop for music students at the Mirriam Makeba Art Centre on the East London campus.

According to Siphokazi, during the workshop at UFH, Saul shared valuable pieces of her life. “She was more than a musician, she was an anti-apartheid activist who used her music to support anti-apartheid movements through initiatives such as fundraising concerts. She shared her journey with us, the difficulties and how she ended-up in London.”

Siphokazi who has been doing research about Saul using the archives housed at the National Heritage and Cultural Studies (NAHECS) centre said it is an “honour to honour Saul.” 

The concert will comprise creative melodic renditions of Saul’s repertoire, and even some of her unrecorded songs.