I’ve just returned from an inspiring and unforgettable ten days in South Africa with Haringey Music Service, whose senior jazz ensemble I am privileged to direct (having been a member myself in my teens). We took 55 young music students to visit Durban and nearby areas, playing several concerts and experiencing a huge range of the variety of South African culture and society. Highlights included workshops in township schools, and our final night at the very moving and uplifting memorial concert of the wonderful Brian Thusi, at which we were invited to perform.
I had met Brian – a special figure in South African jazz and music education – almost twenty years ago as a student when he came to London, and he had a huge impact on me at the time. This is the article about his visit that appeared in the Guardian at the time: https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2001/jul/03/artsfeatures.jazz
Sadly Brian passed away last year, before we had the chance to meet him again on this return trip. The trip overall though was a wonderful experience which I will be reflecting on for a long time.