Nishlyn Ramana and Bruce Baker at UKZN’s Centre for Jazz

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The Centre for Jazz and Popular Music at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Howard College campus in Durban is hosting pianist/composer, Nishlyn Ramana, pictured, in duo with well-loved drummer Bruce Baker on Tuesday, September 20.

They will perform two suites of darkly reflective compositions, created in response to recent bereavements and the spirits that endure. Ramanna’s compositions evoke the grooves of African jazz and the lyricism of European jazz.

Ramanna first became interested in jazz on hearing an album with Oscar Peterson and Joe Pass in his last years of high school. He completed a BMus in jazz at the University of Natal, and later a PhD on contemporary jazz in post-apartheid Durban and Johannesburg.

He has published on SA jazz in the Grove Dictionary of Jazz, and the journals SAMUS and Social Dynamics. He has been a guest editor of the African Genres volume of EPMOW (Encyclopaedia of Popular Musics of the World) and editor of SAMUS.

Between 2007 and 2010, he wrote a music column for the KZN-based Sunday Tribune.

As co-leader of the intercultural improvisation ensemble Mosaic, he has performed at various classical, folk, and jazz festivals and venues in South Africa, several appearances on national television, and at functions at which Presidents Mandela and Mbeki were present.

The group also performed at the 1996 International Association of Jazz Educators’ Conference in Atlanta, and at the Royal Academy in London in 1998.

From 2000 to 2002, whilst holding a lectureship in jazz at Rhodes, he also taught piano and performed at the annual, week-long National Youth Jazz Festival.

Ramanna’s debut CD A Thought (2005) includes eight of his original compositions and is available online via http://cdbaby.com/cd/ramanna. Recorded while he was a visiting scholar at St John’s College, Cambridge, it features veteran UK jazz saxophonist Stan Sulzmann as special guest.

Ramanna has also composed music for We Remember Differently (2005) and Le Boeuf sur le toit (2010), both by Johannesburg film director Jyoti Mistry.

The Centre for Jazz and Popular Music (CJPM) is on level 2, Shepstone Building. Doors open at 5.30 pm and the show starts at 6pm. Tickets R60 (R40 pensioners, R20 for students). Contact Thuli on 031 2603385 or email Zamat1@ukzn.ac.za for more details.

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