- Dr Thokozani Mhlambi is set to host a free international concert from Paris
- The 35-year-old KZN-born composer and cellist hopes to unite people from all over the world through his music
- Mhlambi understands his responsibility as an artist to be a voice for those who are not heard in times of need
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An accomplished cellist, Dr Thokozani Mhlambi, is set to host a free international concert later this month live from Paris, celebrating an African legacy.
The 35-year-old KZN-born composer and cellist, who is currently based in Paris, is set to showcase Indlela Ebheke e-Azania on 23 July – his latest musical offering – after having released his debut album, Zulu Song Cycle, last year.
Briefly.co.za sat down with Mhlambi to get to know him a little better and ask a few questions about his Paris live stream.
Mhlambi is not your usual musician. Apart from playing the cello, singing and composing his own songs, Mhlambi also uses his art and exhibitions in order to convey African stories/philosophies.
Speaking on two topics that have the world buzzing at the moment, #BlackLivesMatter and Covid-19, Mhlambi feels that it is his responsibility as an artist to be a voice for those who are not being heard and to help others through these difficult times by providing hope through his music.
“It is an opportunity to comment on the difficult situations faced by human beings, and at the same time art must amplify on those issues so that it shows to society the questions the answers hide, those which are hidden from people's eyes due to fear (about the virus, or fear of police).”
When asked ‘How do you think that your ‘educational’ artistry can be used to fight stereotypes, racism and misconceptions about Africa?’, Mhlambi referred to some of SA’s greatest struggle artists who used their songs to encourage hope, drive equality and reinforce what people were fighting for.
He believes that it is time SA’s struggles are heard on an international gramophone and artists like himself are able to make it happen.
“The extent to which people are able to use what you called 'educational artistry' will be revealed in their level of confidence. It goes without saying that African stories will inspire confidence in the minds of its listening audience: resulting in innovations in technological and political life, in other words, the order in the organisation of human life.”
Mhlambi just wants to unite people with his music and that is all he hopes to achieve from his Paris performance. Creating unity between different cultures, races and origins is the goal.
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Speaking on the virtual concert movement that the coronavirus has started, while Mhlambi does not think anything could ever replace the raw and realness of live music, he does see how virtual concerts may continue even after this pandemic dies down.
It has given artists the ability to perform all over the world without having to get a booking or raise the funds to get their name out there. Lastly, but certainly not least, when asked what his message to the people of Mzansi was, Mhlambi said:
“Use the time to develop a new skill/craft. In Zulu, they say "Indlu yegagu iyanetha", which illustrates that there is always room for creativity and that even in a difficult situation, there is an opportunity.”
Mhlambi’s Paris performance is set to take place on 23 July at 8pm.
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Briefly.co.za previously reported that the massive One World concert featured some of the biggest names in entertainment. Mzansi's stars rubbed virtual shoulders with the celebs during Saturday night's special event.
The proceeds of the One World: Together at Home concert went to the World Health Organization's Solidarity Fund. The first celeb from Mzansi to perform was Black Coffee, who delivered his international hit Drive.
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