Spontaneous Creativity in an African Context

I grew up as a white person in Apartheid South Africa, being trained as cellist and pianist in the Western Classical tradition. However, as a very young child, my first musical stimulation came from my father who played by ear with no musical training. I also spent my early years in the hills of Kwazulu Natal, surrounded by the spontaneous harmonized singing of the local black communities.

While a student in philosophy and theology during the crisis years of the late eighties in Stellenbosch, the whole edifice of Eurocentric thinking came crushing down in me. This had a major impact on my musical career, which became based on spontaneous music making.

To me, the notion of spontaneity goes deeper than what is referred to as "improvisation." Like traditional African music, the art form becomes a means to the end of human connectivity. What I would like to present in my performances, workshops and retreats, is also an interactive exploration of how we can come together as humans through sound, in a context where both Western Classicism and African traditionalism have been deconstructed.

While we all retain a certain imprint of culture and conceptual paradigm, our challenge is to find means to evolve our thinking systems and art forms to not only reflect our times, but to connect the deeper and more sound roots of our common African heritage with the juggernaut of 21st century modernity.

Spontaneous Creativity, as I present it, hopes to be one way of contributing to this existential process, both individually and collectively.

HA!Man 4 February 2017