The ensemble is a formidable quintet comprising of some of Cape Town’s finest young musicians, featuring Clement Benny on drums, Nicholas Williams on bass, Keenan Ahrends on guitar, Mandla Mlangeni on trumpet and special guest Mark Fransman on alto sax, flute and accordion. The unit also performed at this year’s 18th annual Cape Town Jazz Festival.
The Cape Town-based band embraces the underground drum and bass scene, fusing in imported sounds. The TRC is a playground for “the interrogation, assimilation and extended extemporisation of the canon of South African jazz”.
Trumpeter Mandla Mlangeni, from Soweto, is the catalyst behind the group. He is a graduate of music composition from the University of Cape Town.
Bands, solo gigs and tours
Besides being founding member of TRC, Mlangeni also formed a brass band, The Native Groove Collective (NGC), and Amandla Freedom Ensemble based in Johannesburg. He also performs regularly as a freelance musician and has been active in other projects in Norway, Sweden, Germany, Israel, Britain and Botswana where he performs music ranging from classical, jazz, pop and indigenous African music.
He has performed with the likes of Barney Rachabane, Marcus Wyatt, John Davies, Hugh Masekela, Sipho Hotstix Mabuse, Susana Baca (Peru), Mark Fransman, Louis Moholo , Dizu Plaatjies, and Khaya Mahlangu.
“I am a strong believer in giving back to the community”, says Mlangeni. “That is why I chose, in my student days, to voluntarily teach music at Manenberg High School as well as Alex Sinton High School.”
Under Dogs International
He continues: “In 2006, I was selected as part of the Standard Bank National Youth Jazz Band which toured South Africa and Sweden and performed at several jazz festivals including The Cape Town Jazz Festival, Johannesburg Joy of Jazz Festival and the Grahamstown National Arts Festival. I performed regularly with the Cape Town Jazz Orchestra, UCT Big Band, Moreira Chonguica and Hilton Schilder.”
In 2007/2008 he participated in an exchange programme in Oslo at the Norwegian Music Academy, and toured Europe with a Balkan rock band Under Dogs International (UDI). In 2009, he toured Germany with the MIAGI Youth Orchestra. He had a successful tour in the UK and Israel with Cape Town Opera, and has composed for the Cape Town Ghoema Orchestra.
Afrikan Freedom Principle
“I am the founder and curator of a concert series in Cape Town called the Afrikan Freedom Principle which has hosted and collaborated with a list of South African luminaries such as Tebogo Louis Moholo Moholo, Dizu Plaatjies, Andile Yenana and Errol Dyers,” he says.
Mlangeni is currently embarking on a multitude of projects designed to showcase his original music. “I am an adept musician in many styles of music and believe I can contribute immensely to the music scene in South Africa and beyond. I envisage my music as integrated into the very fabric of contemporary music culture,” says Mlangeni
What: TRC album launch ‘Voices Of Our Vision’
True Italic Restaurant, 15 Bree St, Cape Town, Wednesday 26 July, 8pm
SABC Auditorium, Sea Point, Thursday 27, Friday 28 July, 7.30pm
The Chairman 146 Mahatma Gandhi Rd, Durban, Saturday 29 July, 11pm
Kaya FM & Brenda Sisane’s Art Of Sunday, Back O’ Moon Gold Reef City Casino, Sunday 30 July 1pm
The Mix, Cnr Toby St, Sophiatown, Johannesburg, Sunday 30 July, 5pm