UKZN’s Jazz Centre Showcases Concert Featuring Talented Trio

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Top musicians (from left) Neil Gonsalves, Bruce
Baker and Natalie Rungan.

UKZN’s Centre for Jazz and Popular Music presented Music Lecturer Neil Gonsalves, Natalie Rungan and Bruce Baker in concert recently.

The three musicians have worked together for a number of years on various projects, and decided to combine their knowledge of music and jazz for audience enjoyment.

Gonsalves, who is the Director of the Centre, is vastly experienced with performance credits that include various national and international music festivals in the company of numerous South African jazz and Afro-beat luminaries as well as artists from across the globe.

He has extensive international touring experience after a four-year stint as part of Johnny Clegg’s band (2000-2004).

His most recent project has been with Flamenco guitarist and UKZN Music Lecturer, Mr Demi Fernandez, on their duo album called Latinfluence.  The duo toured recently to Maputo courtesy of a travel grant from Concerts SA.

Gonsalves also recently returned from the South African Jazz Educator’s conference at the University of the Witwatersand (Wits), where he performed with Professor Mageshen Naidoo in a concert titled: “Home and Away”.

Rungan who hails from Jazz, R’ n B and Gospel traditions, is a singer- songwriter who never stops reinventing herself, always pushing the boundaries in an attempt to create new sounds and ideas. With four albums to her name, the sultry, industrious singer has worked on both national and international platforms with some of the countries best artists including PJ Powers, Zahara, Danny K, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Sibongile Kumalo, Ernie Smith, and Abigail Kubekha.

Rungan has also performed with the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra on numerous occasions, including performances with Loyiso Bala, Toya Delazy and Melanie Lowe and Ard Matthews.

Baker completes the dynamic trio. He is one of the most versatile drummers in the country, having worked with numerous artists in the jazz field including Winston Mankuku, Darius Brubeck, Melanie Scholtz, Melvin Peters, Dr Mike Rossi, Concord Nkabinde, Feya Faku, Monette Sudler (USA), Dr Willie Hill and Ron McCurdy (USA), as well as the Cape Town Jazz Orchestra.

His early successes include his 10 years with Landscape Prayers and Squeal.

Melissa Mungroo and Thuli Zama