‘So, you think you can play with me’
The Louis Moholo-Moholo Legacy Project
The Centre for African Studies (CAS) at UCT in association with South African Jazz Cultures and the Archive is hosting the Louis Moholo-Moholo Legacy Project. The project is about centering and celebrating Louis Moholo-Moholo’s vast contribution to the world of music both as an individual, leader and collaborator with other musicians. ‘Bra Louis’ has been at the forefront of the avant-garde movement in jazz, also known as ‘free jazz’, with such distinguished bands such as the Blue Notes, Brotherhood of Breath, Viva La Black, to count a few. His impressive legacy remains hidden in South Africa especially to the younger generation.
He continues to be an active player and is in high demand for gigs and recording session with musicians across the globe. The reason for this, in the words of former manager and longtime friend Hazel Miller, is that ‘Louis makes other musicians go to places they would not have thought possible’.
Testimony to his standing as a great artist, one of the leading drummers and musicians in the world, are the many honours and awards he has collected across the world over a period of more than four decades, including a South African National Honour – the Order of Ikhamanga Silver – granted to the Blue Notes, by the President of the Republic South Africa in 2004, for:
‘Excellent achievement in the genre of jazz music, contributing to the development of music in the South African townships and defying apartheid laws by forming a multi-racial group’.
‘So, you think you can play with me’ captures the essence of Louis Moholo-Moholo and the framing of the Legacy Project. Based on a caption of one of Louis’ gigs, ‘So you think you can play with me’, it is a tongue in cheek challenge put down by a master musician and living legend-to those musicians who would share the stage with him. At the same time it speaks of his indomitable spirit in overcoming the trials and tribulations of growing up under apartheid and living in the uncompromising conditions of exile, and yet overcoming great odds to reach the pinnacle of his extraordinary career.
The Louis Moholo-Moholo Legacy Project comprises of a virtual exhibition, a symposium and a musical concert featuring Louis Moholo-Moholo and a UCT student orchestra.
The exhibition is curated by Nkululeko Mabandla and Paul Weinberg and comprises Bra Louis’ own memoirs and memorabilia that he collected over the years. It speaks to Louis’ legacy as a multifaceted person and musician and tracks his geo-historical and genealogical biography, his artistry and music and the critical appreciation in which he is held. It includes family photographs, concert posters, newspaper articles, album covers, complemented by interview material of those who have known him.
A symposium will take place from 5.30-6.30pm followed by a concert 7pm on 7th October, at St Peter’s Church, 3 Church Street, Mowbray. Food will be on sale. Tickets will be sold at the door R100 for adults and R50 for students.