The history of South African Jazz stretches almost as far back as the nation’s first meeting with their black counterparts from across the Atlantic. Since those early days, this music has been associated with the struggle for freedom and the rehearsal and articulation of a viable black, urban South African self in the face of repressive white minority rule. The justifiable prominence of the struggle narrative has led to the extensive research, documentation and performance of music from this era.
However, less emphasis has been placed on archiving performers who rose to prominence during the years of early Post-Apartheid South Africa. These new pioneers of South African Jazz, whilst undoubtedly tethered to our colonial and Apartheid pasts have attempted to pose new questions about South African identity.
Vuma Levin’s latest project, The Archive Collective, continues in this tradition of attempting to explicate and perform the Post-Apartheid South African self, in an age of digitised globalisation. It does so in two ways. First it recognises that South African identity is an historical fixture. To this end, it explores this largely untapped archive of music from performers in the late 90’s and early 2000s including, Feya Faku, Bheki Mseleku, Marcus Wyatt and Carlo Mombelli. Second, it demonstrates how these histories find meaning in the present and illuminate the future by performing original compositions of the rotating line-up of musicians.
Born a South African and raised during the unstable interregnum years of Post-Apartheid South Africa, Guitarist Vuma Ian Levin’s music is an attempt to interrogate conceptions of identity, nation, culture, power and being both globally and in the emergent, post 1994 South African Democratic project.
According to The Mail and Guardian, “Vuma Levin is destined to be one of South African jazz’s greatest musicians”. Beginning his studies in jazz at age 18, Vuma received lessons from the South African Jazz guitar legend, Johnny Fourie.
Levin, has performed with some of the top musicians in South Africa and abroad including: Benjamin Herman (Netherlands), Maarten Hogenhuis (Netherlands), Mark Schilders (Netherlands), Banz Oester (Switzerland), Matthias Spillman (Switzerland), Domenic Landolf (Switzerland), Marc Mean (SWI), Lukas Traxel (SWI), Paul Amereller (SWI), Feya Faku (RSA), Herbie Tsoeli (RSA), Nduduzo Makhatini (RSA), Carlo Mombelli (RSA), Ayanda Sikade (RSA), Marcus Wyatt (RSA), Shane Coooper(RSA) and Benjamin Jephta(RSA). He has performed at a number of top venues and festivals in South Africa and abroad.
Band line up:
- Vuma Levin – guitar, prepared guitar, sampling and effects
- Sisonke Xonti – tenor and soprano saxophone
- Romy Brauteseth – acoustic bass and electric bass
- Bokani Dyer – piano and synthesisers
- Peter Auret – drums