Celebrating Eastern Cape Jazz Heritage Concert

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Celebrating Eastern Cape Jazz Heritage Concert Poster
Celebrating Eastern Cape Jazz Heritage Concert Poster

The Jazz Heritage Gala Concert is the culmination of a research project in the Eastern Cape that commenced in Port Elizabeth in 2009. The research project is managed by the International Library of African Music (ILAM) at Rhodes University. The Eastern Cape is widely regarded as the home of a unique style of South African jazz. Until recently, however, in academic research, not much attention has been paid to this heritage. This project, funded by the National Arts Council, was a combination of research, the development of performers’ awareness of their rights and musical heritage, and harnessing the musical resources of the rural Eastern Cape for economic development.

The research included interviews, the production and hosting of performances, peer reviewed articles, a book, two Masters theses and a Ph D thesis in progress, attempts at economic sustainability for the musicians, and workshops/rehearsals conducted by veteran musicians and cultural activists in Queenstown (Komani), King Williamstown (iQonce) and East London. By expanding the parameters of the research area beyond Port Elizabeth, a more comprehensive purview of the history and legacy of the jazz heritage of this province, while also giving local musicians the means to exposure and economic independence, have been made possible.

ILAM has archived and documented the results of the research for conservation, developmental and education purposes. We thank the National Arts Council for their financial support since 2020, and the University of Fort Hare Music Department for its generous support for this concert. Lee Watkins (Director of ILAM)