30 November 2017

Tanzania: 'There's Nothing Like Playing Music With Others'

ANOTHER dimension was added to the music last Sunday evening, at the Julius Nyerere International Convention Centre (JNICC), in the City Centre, when the South African, Given Jabulane Nkosi, added his tenor solos to the Dar Choral Society and Orchestra's repertoire.

THEIR mission is to enrich, inspire and serve their community, as a choral society and symphony orchestra. Added to this they intend being internationally recognised for their artistic excellence.

It is in line with this undertaking that the Dar Choral Society and Orchestra had what will most probably be their last show this year at the Julius Nyerere International Convention Centre (JNICC), in the City Centre.

As with previous occasions, a collection of musicians and singers came together from within and outside local borders to follow the baton of their Conductor, local boy, Hekima Raymond a.k.a. Maestro.

This time there were 54 musicians on stage together with 102 singers, for the occasion. Then after the Concert Master, Dar es Salaam-based Samson Diamond had made sure all instruments were properly tuned and ready, the Maestro was welcomed on stage.

The programme took the audience on a musical journey that started with Beethoven's Coriolan Overture, Option 62. This was followed with their rendition of Brahms' Symphony Number Four and then Beethoven's Hallelujah from Mount Olives.

Haydn's Creation Mass Chorus Number 28 (Fulfilled at Last), came up next, with Verdi's Opera Rigoletto, La Donna e mobile following. For this piece and the one which followed it, Torna a Surriento of Ernesto De Curtis, the South African, Given Jabulane Nkosi, provided tenor solos, which from the reaction of the audience, definitely got their approval that this young man knew what he was doing.

The soloist then left the stage for the musicians and singers to go into O Fortuna Chorus by Carl Orf, before he returned, to a round of applause, to present Nessun Dorma by Puccini. He went off stage again and left them to present Vapensiero (From Hebrew Slaves) and returned for a rendition of the local folk song Tanzania, Tanzania.

Everyone was on their feet clapping when the music finally stopped, at the end of the evening's programme. One would have thought they would have preferred if it was just starting.

However, this wasn't to be the case, for the Classical Music Concert was over, for this programme. Now everyone will have to wait and see when and where this cluster's next concert is going to be.

It was at this time that the 'Daily News' took hold of the opportunity to find and get a few words from a rather shorter than he appeared on stage, Nkosi. The 34-yearold, started by saying he has been singing professionally since 2010.

That is after he had spent the previous six years studying music. Being a Roman Catholic, he says gave him the advantage of growing-up in a choral music environment. This, therefore, became part of his daily life and led him to participate in school competitions, as part of a choir and as a soloist.

"As a soloist, I won twice the national championship in South Africa and got a scholarship to go and study," Nkosi said. When asked how he can relate to European music, which require he sings in such languages as Italian, when he is an African, he simply replied, "Music doesn't have colour or nationality. Music is soul. You just have to make it work."

However, he did admit that he had to study Italian, French and German, so as to get the right pronunciation, when singing in these languages, despite him not being able to speak any of these languages.

Such skills helped him when he was preparing to sing Tanzania, Tanzania, for the concert and required he sent a number of "voice notes" to Raymond, before he could get it right. Given this declaration, it was pleasing to hear him say he wanted to do the song many more times.

One of the visiting cellist, Simon Denton, told the 'Daily News' this was not only his first time in the country but also on the continent. He had arrived here last week Wednesday and left the following day after the concert (last Monday), on a flight back to Manchester-UK, where he lives with his family.

Rather ironically, Denton, who was the Principal Cellist for this concert, supports the London-UK-based Chelsea. "Being my first time to come here, I didn't know what to expect.

However, I was mostly taken-back by just the sheer joy that everyone gets when performing music. Back in Manchester, there are a lot of professional outfits and I suppose perhaps we take it for granted that we have music, concert halls and performing venues. Added to this, here, it was the happiness, with everyone participating that's also special," he explained.

"The participation was felt very strongly by everyone, as a unit," he added. This unison, according to Denton, was even apparent when they were playing Tanzania, Tanzania, because Nkosi was able to use his voice to convey how he felt, so they just joined in.

He also told the 'Daily News' how he would "love to come back next year," given the wonderful experience he had. While on the way towards the exit the 'Daily News' bumped into a young lady, who certainly seemed over six feet tall carrying a long strange shaped instrument case.

She turned out to be an American expatriate living here in Dar es Salaam, who goes by the name of Julie Carmann.

The first question that got an answer was that she was carrying her trombone in the case. This is an instrument she was encouraged to take-up, as opposed to the flute when she was 10 years of age.

It could be said that her long arms might come in useful when playing the instrument with her arm fully-stretched out. For her getting the opportunity to create such amazing sounds with talented musicians gets the cake.

And if that was not enough, being part of a group so big is the icing on the cake for her. Just the sheer power an ensemble that size can have, instead of her playing by herself at home.


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