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YOUNG ARTIST JAZZ AWARD WINNERS COLLABORATE (article first published : 2008-06-7)

Grahamstown will be rocking when some of the world's best jazz musicians meet from June 26 to July 5 to wow audiences every day!

Standard Bank's long sponsorship (25 years) of the Young Artist Awards for the National Arts Festival has assisted many young artists reach the top in their fields and jazz is no exception. This year, the last three winners for Jazz, Mark Fransman (2008), Shannon Mowday (2007) and Concord Nkabinde (2006) collaborate in a joint performance at the National Arts Festival.

Their performance forms part of An African Celebration which is being sponsored by Standard Bank to celebrate their 25-year partnership as sponsor of the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown. Some of South Africa's celebrated and internationally acclaimed artists, several of them past and present Young Artist Award recipients, will entertain festival-goers to the best music and dance the country has to offer.

Mark Fransman, multi-instrumentalist, composer, director and astute record producer, brings his band Strait and Narro (June 28 at 17h00) to the Festival. Born in Cape Town, this creative genius started his professional musical career in musical theatre, winning a Vita Award in 1995 for his role as pianist and singer in Kat and the Kings. However, he evades categorization and his compositions in Strait and Narro explore a fresh urban South African sound with hip-hop, trip-hop, funk and jazz. His band consists of Mark Fransman (piano), Melanie Scholtz (vocals and poetry), Lee Thompson (trumpet), Buddy Wells (sax), Wesley Rustin (bass), Heinrich Goosen (drums) and Gavin Minter (percussion).

In his show, Mark Fransman's Suite (July 1 at 19h00), he presents a composed work written especially for the Festival and scored for the unusual jazz instrumentation of himself on sax and piano, Charles Lazar (bass), Shaun Johannes (bass) and Heinrich Goosen (drums). To this he has added a standard classical string quartet of two violins, viola and cello. The music juxtaposes the traditional and has strong influences of Bartok and Shostakovich, with the urban edginess of a jazz quartet in the style of Tribe - the cutting-edge Cape quartet of which Fransman is a part.

Get your jazz-fix at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, June 26 to July 5, 2008. Book at Computicket and for more information visit the website www.nationalartsfestival.co.za or phone 046 603 1103.




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