GENERATIONS ***** TREVOR JONES AND SIPHO “HOTSTIX” MABUSE Collaboration comes from meeting each other at Music Exchange

Generations - Sipho and Trevor at Music Exchange

Generations – Sipho and Trevor at Music Exchange

TREVOR JONES AND SIPHO “HOTSTIX” MABUSE ADD THEIR GENIUS TO GENERATIONS

South African multi-award-winning, orchestral film score composer and conductor Trevor Jones headed home last month to capture a piece of musical magic.

As the longest running soap opera in South African television history, Generations’ creators decided, as part of the shows 20th anniversary celebrations, to invite one of our finest musical exports to write and record an original piece of music for the show.

Locally Trevor Jones’ creations helped make Jozi H great and the likes of Notting Hill, Angel Heart, The Last Of The Mohicans; GI Jane and Around The World In 80 Days box-office hits. His compositional genius is known, respected and called upon the world over. The fact that he took time out to come home and record a piece of music that will welcome in audiences Monday through Friday speaks mountains of his will and want to work and play in his country of birth. “I love a challenge,” Jones says. “Collaborating on a piece of music for a soap opera as successful as Generations meant I had to find a way to do justice to a show that mirrors popular society as well as it does. The music runs in tandem with the energy and aspiration that’s broadcast each weekday.”

From the 26th September 2013 onward a beautifully orchestrated and produced piece of signature music, featuring the legendary musician Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse on saxophone, will welcome the millions of South Africans who tune in Monday through Friday to get their daily dose of riveting intrigue. Jones and Mabuse met up for the first time earlier this year at the independent music conference Music Exchange. “I knew who Trevor was, and was always in awe of his work, ”Mabuse says. “When we did meet, the prospect and possibility of ever working together suddenly seemed within reach. We just needed to find the right moment.”

With a mere two years between the two musical giants, Mabuse the junior, and Jones senior, the former Soweto-born musician and the latter District Six prodigy have both spent the better part of their lives wowing audiences the world over, away and beyond their township roots. Today the two stand united, collaborators and joint peers equally committed to leaving a lasting impression beyond Generations opening credits.

Jones got the call from Generations’ creator Mfundi Vundla in late July and quickly set to work crafting what will soon become one of the most recognisable refrains to this well-loved and entrenched weekday distraction. “I did it for love,” he says.

Besides spending time with the shows head writer, Bongi Ndaba, and watching clips from the show, Jones wrote, scored and produced a piece of music so compelling that finding the right players to match his vision meant calling in one of South Africa’s finest musicians. “I had been working on a bigger composition with Sipho Mabuse in mind,” he recalls. “So when the opportunity came along to work on the Generations score, inviting him along for the ride made perfect sense. Sipho’s a consummate professional, a wonderful friend, gifted musician and performer. His contribution here is nothing short of inspired!

“This piece of music could not have been created with anyone other than Sipho,” Jones continues. “He has a distinctive way of playing, and you can hear his signature saxophone from the opening bars of the piece.”

With instrumentation and melody that need capture and enthral in no more than 45 seconds, Trevor Jones and Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse have delivered a piece of music fitting of the 20-year legacy Generations has created for itself. Now all that’s left is for the ever-evolving plot to unravel around a critical composition that only a man of his calibre can claim.

For more information contact:

Triple M Entertainment

Martin Myers (Manager Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse and Trevor Jones)

E-mail: martin@triplementertainment.co.za


Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse Talk At UNISA

Talk at UNISA

Podcast on Jacaranda FM with Martin Bester Drive Show

Brother For Life | Wits Vuvuzela, 23 August 2013

Brother For Life

Hotstix leads “rights” discussions | The New Age, 22 August 2013

Hotstix leads 'rights' discussions

High Life Magazine (on all British Airways Flights) – Aug issue interview with Sipho Mabuse

DestAfricaAUG-page-001DestAfricaAUG-page-002

Sipho Mabuse Reflects On Musical Journey | Sunday Independent, Life, 4 August 2013

O Magazine – August 2013 – Interview

The Interview – Sipho ‘Hotstix’ Mabuse: A disco man’s jazz tribute | City Press

From City Press

Sipho ‘Hotstix’ Mabuse blows a note on his alto sax at his home in Pimville, Soweto. Picture: Lerato Maduna

Sipho ‘Hotstix’ Mabuse blows a note on his alto sax at his home in Pimville, Soweto. Picture: Lerato Maduna

As celebrities brush shoulders in a Joburg hotel lobby, Percy Mabandu speaks to Sipho Mabuse about his forthcoming tribute to his two favourite jazz giants

To attempt a sit-down with Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse, the iconic producer and multi-instrumentalist whose genius helped shape South Africa’s musical identity since the 1970s, is to mimic a day at the proverbial lekgotla.

Each piece of insight gleaned from his chatter and every second sip of tea shared are punctuated by a notable well-wisher wanting to declare their admiration.

Mabuse is billed to headline this year’s Standard Bank Joy of Jazz in Newtown, Joburg, next month. He has chosen to dedicate his set at the festival to the memory of two late South African greats, Zim Ngqawana and Bheki Mseleku.

We meet at the Hyatt Hotel in Rosebank, which easily becomes a hive of activity and a site of what appears to be a day of important encounters.

First in line is radio presenter and CEO of Business Arts SA, Michelle Constant. Her departure is followed by a spell of focused conversation. It involves Mabuse explaining the thinking behind his chosen theme.

“For me, it’s more than just about profiling jazz or Zim Ngqawana. It’s actually about raising the consciousness and the psyche of our society about our musical wealth. I felt that this country has not yet paid homage to many of our musicians who’ve made tremendous contributions to who we are: the likes of Allen Kwela and Mackay Davashe, to mention a few,” says Mabuse.

He indicates that he chose Ngqawana and Mseleku because of his personal closeness to them and he felt strongly about them.

But the choice comes with a touch of controversy among the jazz police. Mabuse’s career as a musician places him outside of the popular perceptions of people who qualify to honour these two modern jazz masters.

Mabuse launched his walk along the musical path with an African soul group called The Beaters in the mid-70s. The group toured Zimbabwe and returned so inspired by the land and its people that the trio – Mabuse, Om Alec Khaoli and Selby Ntuli – renamed themselves Harari.

Mabuse and his band drew on funk, soul and pop musical styles, which they delivered in Sesotho and isiZulu. As far as his credentials as a producer go, the 62-year-old maestro counts the likes of Miriam Makeba, Hugh Masekela, Ray Phiri of Stimela and Sibongile Khumalo among some of his those he’s worked with.

As a performer, his name resonates more with the jive experience of party music than the spiritual lift of Ngqawana’s songbook or the intellectual rigour of Mseleku’s repertoire.

1980s superhits like Burn Out and Shikisha are only two examples. But Mabuse understands where the chips are stacked. “I don’t consider myself a jazz musician, but I’m a lover of jazz music. I’m transcending section barriers,” he says.

Mabuse further offers a framework built around his understanding of Ngqawana’s.

He begins by describing the late composer’s music as being about building a consciousness of who we are as a people.

Further, he offers: “What was special for me about Ngqawana was that there were no boundaries to who he spoke to. He was gracious and open. He was kind and encouraging.”

Then we are interrupted by his phone. It belts out a ringtone of Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder singing Ebony And Ivory. It’s a call from home, which he cuts short on account of our chat.

But it is only followed by another welcome interruption. This time it is Mamphela Ramphele, the academic and businesswoman turned leader of the newly launched political party, Agang.

She manages a steady stride towards our table, extends a hug and a set of warm platitudes about how we have a great country that we all need to work hard to build. She leaves and we take off on the subject of Mabuse’s credentials.

How will he answer the jazz police and those who make controversy of him climbing the jazz bandstand, with the legacy of two exceptional jazzmen in tow?

He shoots back: “The basis of my music is classical. I was trained as a classical flute player. I studied under Professor Khabi Mngoma when he was still at Dorkay House. I dropped out because I wanted to be a performer. I was impatient with it. Classical music is rigid. You can’t be studying and gigging at the same time.”

Mabuse is banking on the sincerity of his efforts and the importance of his project to carry the day.

He is yet to finalise his personnel, but is looking at working with people who can share his sentiment about honouring Ngqawana and Mseleku. The gig acquires an even more sacrosanct theme when one considers Mseleku’s tortured experience.

“He came back home ecstatic after independence (the 1994 elections), eager to plough back into the land of his birth. The country had no space for him. So he went back to exile to die,” says Mabuse, with measured emotion in his voice.

Mseleku died in London in 2008 after a struggle with diabetes, financial difficulties, politics and insufficient recognition of his prodigious gift.

Ngqawana passed away in 2011 after suffering a stroke during a rehearsal in Joburg. He, too, was notably appreciated more overseas than in South Africa.

This is part of the burning motivation for Mabuse’s tribute performance.

“I felt we owe it to them,” he says. It is with this sentiment that Mabuse hopes his disco fans will not expect to hear him play regular hits.

Hunching on to the table with his eyes slightly squinted, he says: “I wanted them to understand I’m going to be there paying tribute. I don’t want people coming there, screaming: ‘Come on, play Burn Out!’”

» Mabuse will perform on the Bassline stage on August 24 at 11.30pm

Interview with Sipho Hotstix Mabuse | 6B Magazine

Sipho Hotstix Mabuse

Sipho Hotstix Mabuse

6B: You began working in the Music Industry while the old laws of apartheid were still governing the country. Despite that you still made your mark in the industry. What inspired you to keep pushing?

Sipho: I come from a generation of musicians who saw themselves as an investment, an invest in ourselves. If you believe enough in what you do, then you have to invest in yourself so that others can believe that they can invest in you, be that materially, or intellectually. We’d go out, rehearse, book the venues, write the banners and put them up, we’d load the equipment, drive ourselves to a venue – we were investing in ourselves. You don’t find people doing that anymore – all they want to do is rehearse and wait for a promoter to knock at their door.

6B: How has the music industry changed over the years?

Sipho: I call it “The dependence syndrome” It’s what is affecting younger musicians these days – They believe that the only way they can grow musically is through record companies and promoters. “I want to remain an artist and let everybody else take care of what I do…” This is a dangerous space to be in, because you find that you cannot create a space in which you can operate on your own. Interestingly, the challenges have always been the same, the issues around royalties, copyright, remuneration and so on. Unfortunately, most young people, particularly black young people, see music as an escape from poverty, and the only way in which they can find themselves employed – through television, recordings and performances. Little do they understand the pitfalls and the challenges that there are. We would never discourage them from wanting to be performers, but they also need to understand what it is that they are getting themselves involved in.

6B: You have said before that you thought you were destined to become a doctor or lawyer, what made you decide to go into music rather?

Sipho: I am studying through UNISA at the moment. I managed to complete my matric last year, because I wanted to do it. I left school to pursue my dreams, we had a band and toured all over Africa. I’m not encouraging youngsters to drop out of school, but I do encourage them to actively pursue their dreams – whatever that means to them. Just stay grounded whilst doing it.

Read more at 6B Magazine – Sipho Hotstix Mabuse.

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