News from the Consulate Johannesburg
The Rhythm Road Leads to South Africa
Johannesburg, February 7-9, 2012 - Rhythm Road’s “Dennis Luxion/Michael Raynor Quartet” crisscrossed greater Johannesburg and the mining town of Rustenburg to conduct packed master classes for youth and ended their tour of South Africa with an audience-wowing concert for an invited audience. From the Gauteng Jazz Academy and a community based, after-school music education group for disadvantaged teens in Soweto to the semi-autonomous Royal Bafokeng Nation’s college-prep high school in Rustenburg, the quartet listened to young musicians play, answered questions about jazz history, education and techniques, and joyously jammed with them.
At their high energy, hard swing concert at Johannesburg’s premier music club, the quartet entertained the Consulate's South African and diplomatic guests with two sets of their arrangements of jazz standards as well as their own compositions, receiving a standing ovation and staying on stage for the encore demanded by the enthusiastic audience.
The Rhythm Road: American Music Abroad is a program that Jazz at Lincoln Center administers for the United States Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The mission of The Rhythm Road is to share America’s unique contribution to the world of music and to promote cross-cultural understanding and exchange among nations worldwide.
A wide array of music-loving young South Africans connected on a technical and emotional level with these four fantastic American jazz musicians. Their interest, appreciation, goodwill and shared love of the language of music were palpable at each stop.
In addition, the LEAP school for academically gifted but economically disadvantaged youth in the Alexandra Township, was able to send a team of “student reporters” to cover the Quartet's outreach program in Soweto. The students filmed the presentation and interviewed some of the quartet, and they will produce and post a video on YouTube as well as the Mission’s website. The Consulate partners with the NGO iAfrica and the LEAP School to train students on reporting skills, civic involvement and the uses of social media.