Read time: 3 minutes

UKZN jazz lecturer nominated for SA Music Award

Sibusiso Mashiloane's album, Closer to Home, has been nominated for a South African Music Award (Sama) in the category, Best Jazz Album.

"I am honoured to be nominated among such brilliant musicians," says Mashiloane, a jazz lecturer at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN). "I released this album to use my music as a tool to tell stories from my South African community. Getting a Sama nomination encourages me to write more music that is closer to home."

The album was released in September last year, during a time in Mashiloane's career when he wanted to focus on his social and musical identity. Born in Mpumalanga and having lived among Ndebele, Pedi and Swazi people before moving to KwaZulu-Natal, Mashiloane realised that each of these communities had its own character and identity.

Mashiloane says Closer to Home is a product of all the musical dialects and characteristics of the communities in which he has lived.

The album features a mix of established musicians, many of whom are UKZN students and alumni. They include Kunle Ayo (guitar); Tlale Makhene (percussion); Paki Peloeole, Sbu Zondi and Riley Giandhari (drums); Mbuso Nxumalo, Menzi Cele and Lwazi Khuzwayo (vocals), Keorapetse Kolwane and Qhubekani Mthethwa.

Young and upcoming musicians are also featured, including Thabo Sikhakhane (trumpet) and Thembinkosi Ngcobo (trombone).

"These musicians all take pride in their respective identities. They are not driven solely by their musical talents but also by the desire to make their music relevant."

Mashiloane's debut album, Amanz' Olwandle, won two Mzansi Jazz Awards, for Best Contemporary Album and Best Jazz Album, in 2017. His second album, titled Rotha: A Tribute to Mama, was nominated in two categories at the prestigious International African Music Awards in December 2018: for Best Male Artist in southern Africa and for Best Artiste in African Jazz. It won the Best Artiste award.

As part of his lecturing work, Mashiloane prioritises two aspects: teaching jazz and organising live music performances with his students that focus on South African composers.

Mashiloane is currently completing his PhD on South African composers and how their music contributes to the feeling of home.

Words: Melissa Mungroo