Percussion Threads: From Zurich to Mzansi
Thursday 12.03 – Youngblood
Friday 13.03 – Rootspring with Ronan Skillen, Muizenberg
Saturday 14.03 – Zeitz MOCAA (Atrium)
Sunday 15.03 – Wordfees Festival (Fismer Hall)
Thursday 19.03 – Swiss Embassy, Pretoria (private performance)
Friday 20.03 – Park Station
Saturday 21.03 – Human Rights Day at Soweto Theatre, Soweto
In an attempt to curb the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus, the South African government has temporarily suspended gatherings of more than 100 people, This unfortunately means that the remainder of the performances in this tour have been cancelled.
guerillaclassics brings classical music out of the concert hall and into surprising public locations – a train station, a swing festival in the mountains, a raft on the lake. Through spontaneous concert experiences, the platform aims to share the magic of classical music with a wide audience. March 2020 marks the beginning of a new chapter for guerillaclassics with a concert tour through South Africa and Switzerland. The series features new music by the composers and musicians Neo Muyanga (born in Soweto) and Nik Bärtsch (born in Zurich), which will be performed by the Cosmic Percussion Ensemble (Zurich) alongside viola player Sarah Evans and singers Nomapostile Nyiki and Lungiswa Plaatjies (from Cape Town).
The Percussion Threads: From Zurich to Mzansi tour from 10-25 March 2020 is set to be an extraordinary and unique concert experiences created through the fusion of vastly different musical traditions, instruments, and cultural backgrounds. The series will be held in range of venues in Zurich, Amriswil, Weinfelden, Scuol, Cape Town, Stellenbosch, Johannesburg, and Soweto, including traditional concert halls, theaters, and jazz clubs as well as less common sites, such as Park Station in Johannesburg, one of Africa’s largest train stations.
Composed in 2019, Neo Muyanga’s composition is title eGolideni – the place where Gold and is inspired by the fraught history of migration. The lyric, sampled from the Xhosa traditional song, ‘Wen’ useGoli’, warns the traveler,
you who are in the place of gold!
all you will realise there is lonely and cold,
oh, and that will be the end of it!
Neo says that his composition responds to the narrative framing the current global migration crises as something new and threatening. The piece draws a line through South African history tracing the importation of slaves to the country in the 17th century and the railway network used by the British colonial rule and Apartheid regime to transport migrant workers into the racialised labour system.
Neo Muyanga is a composer, sound artist and librettist. His work traverses new opera, jazz improv and Zulu and Sesotho idiomatic song. He trained to sing in township choirs in Soweto, and he learned to perform madrigals while living in Italy in the 1990s. In 1996 he co-founded (with Masauko Chipembere) the duo, Blk Sonshine, and in 2008, co-founded (with Ntone Edjabe) the Pan African Space Station – a platform for cutting-edge Pan African music and sound art on the internet. His records include: Blk Sonshine (1999), The Listening Room (2003), Fire, Famine Plague and Earthquake (2007), Good Life (2009), Dipalo (2011), Toro tse Sekete (2015) and Second-hand Reading (2016). His stage productions include A Memory of how it feels (2010), The Flower of Shembe (2012), The Heart of Redness (2015) and MAKEdbA (2018). An alumnus of the Berliner Künstlerprogramm des DAAD (2016), he was also Composer-in-residence of the Johannesburg International Mozart Festival (2017), the National Arts Festival (2017) and the Stellenbosch International Chamber Music Festival (2018). He tours widely as a solo performer, bandleader and choral conductor.
Nik Bärtsch is a Zurich born pianist, composer and producer. He began instruction of the piano and percussion from age 8 and in 1997 graduated from the Musikhochschule Zürich before furthering his studies in philosophy, linguistics and musicology at the University of Zurich. Nik has been part of numerous projects with other noteworthy musicians, include playing piano and composing for Ritual Groove Music, leading Mobile (with Kaspar Rast, Mats Eser & Sha), the zen-funk quartet Ronin (with Kaspar Rast, Thomy Jordi (till 2011 Björn Meyer) and Sha (with Andi Pupato). Alongside his performances, Nik has tought courses in Practical Aesthetics at the Musikhochschule Zürich/Winterthur (2000-2003) and co-founded the music club EXIL in Zurich (2009). He is also the founder of the label Ronin Rhythm Records, a platform for creative groove music (since 2006). Nik is interest in the influence and the combination of music and movement, specially in the following Bodytechniques: Aikido, Feldenkrais, Gyrotonic.
Nomapostile Nyiki is a singer, dancer, composer and poet who has been active as a performer since a young age. Nomapostile specializes in the playing of various African instruments such as the Uhadi, Umrhube, Nyungwe-nyungwe, harp, percussion, xylophones and many more.
Sarah Evans started learning the viola at age 16 and went on to study music at Stellenbosch University, graduating in 2003. She is a founding member
of the Night Light Collective (formerly The Shh..Art! Ensemble) and enjoys collaborating with performers from a wide variety of backgrounds and musical genres.
Lungiswa Plaatjes started singing aged 8 and went on to become lead vocalist of Amampondo, the South African percussion ensemble started by Dizu Plaatjies in Langa Cape Town in 1978. Lungiswa has toured extensively and released two solo albums. She also plays some African instruments including the nyungwe-nyungwe, marimbas, djembe, kayomba and umrhubhe.
The Cosmic Percussion Ensemble was formed in early 2015, bringing together the core ensemble comprised of Lukas Rechsteiner and Janic Sarott (from Switzerland), Tilmann Bogler (Germany) and Thomas Büchel (Austria). The group’s goal is to find a stage to perform the mostly unknown repertoire of percussion ensemble literature, explore different ways of playing and create global connections and dialogue through the universal language of music.