GINSBURG/ LEDBETTER ENSEMBLE - SOUTH AFRICA 2011
As I write this, it is the winter solstice in Cape Town South
Africa where I am visting family and doing some gigs. Also
about to head up to the Jazz Festival in Grahamstown
where I will be participating in a number of ensembles as
well as with my own band featuring some great local
The evening sunset over the Atlantic Ocean last night was
incredibly beautiful. The smell of the sea in this particular
part of the world is like no other I have experienced
anywhere else. It is also one that brings back a lot of memories of my youth where I spent so many evenings watching the sun going down.
The first half of 2011 has been busy with a large number of diverse projects. One in particular has been the writing, orchestrating and recording of the score for a feature length documentary called "A Common Purpose". Directed by Mitzi Goldman (Looking Glass Pictures), this film provides an amazing account of a landmark trial in Upington, South Africa where 25 people are indicted for the murder of one person. The world premiere was at the recent Sydney Film Festival where it won the audience vote for Best Documentary Film. See more about this film here. I was very glad to have the able assistance of Ryan Grogan on this project. There was a large amount of work to do in a fairly tight time-frame.
The music project I have been working on in Cape Town has been amazing. The ensemble consists of are a group of musicians that I have sat in with over the past years, but we had not had the opportunity to develop our own project.
Apart from the fact that they are all great players, there are two interesting aspects of the soundscape which are of particular note. The first is to be working with Ronan Skillen, a master Tabla player, who brings a new dimension to the experience. Secondly, the guitar style of Dave Ledbetter adds beautiful texture and his compositions are great to play. We recently did a concert at The Nassau to a packed house. The feedback was great. Importantly, the band also felt really good about the performance, both individually and collectively. We are hoping to record before I return to Australia which will enable us to share the music with a larger audience. The festival in Grahamstown should be a lot of fun.
In this picture: from left top - Dave Ledbetter - Guitar/Piano, Mark Ginsburg - Saxpohones, Ronan Skillen - Tabla, Kevin Gibson - Drums, Shane Cooper - Bass.
Another highlight of this trip has been the occurrence of my mother's 90th Birthday. A few nights ago I took her to Trinity, a local music venue to hear The Mike Campbell Big Band. This particular night featured singer Gavin Minter doing music from "The American Songbook" which of course was the music of my mother's era. She was in her element, singing along, tapping her feet. I had planned to take her home after the first set but she would not hear a bar of it (so to speak). We stayed to the end, bopped our way home in the car and she danced into her apartment block with her walking frame. She was so pumped that she only got to bed at 1am.