terça-feira, 24 de janeiro de 2017

Epic line-up revealed for an exceptional 18th Cape Town International Jazz Festival

Cape Town, 24 January 2017 – espAfrika, the organiser of the country’s longest running and best-loved jazz festival, has pulled out all the stops to ensure that the 18th Cape Town International Jazz Festival exceeds the expectations of its devoted fans. The billing, highlights Festival Director Billy Domingo’s insights into the current musical renaissance around the world, where collaborations are producing unique sounds that are gaining new audiences. The second batch of stars for this year’s CTIJF - which takes place on 31 March & 1 April 2017 - speaks to this movement and adds even more richness and diversity to the event’s reference library of jazz, soul, African and contemporary music.

Jazz fans (purists and those who appreciate crossover crystal clear sounds and piercing notes that thrill) are likely to make a beeline for these exciting acts: Saxophonist, producer and composer Kamasi Washington (USA) and his release The Epic shook up the jazz critics’ pick lists in 2015 and won the 2016 American Music prize, earning new fans across the world in the process; Grammy-nominated songstress Andra Day (USA) whose song Rise Up has been adopted as an anthem for change throughout the world; vocalist, pianist, composer and music educator, and two-time Metro Music Award winner Nomfundo Xaluva (SA); and, the multi-award winning saxophonist, composer and arranger Buddy Wells, who will lead his own band in a sensitive yet blistering set as the Buddy Wells Sextet (SA).

Those who favour urban sounds and hip hop will find appeal in these artists who offer everything from the fresh, dreamy inspiration of a British producer in his early 20s to the harder-edged, funky flavours of a trio of respected (and long-missed) Brooklyn veterans: Alternative hip hop trio Digable Planets (USA); dance/electronic music producer Jameszoo (NL); STTA (SA) – a live concept band and City Festival Battle of the Bands 2016 winner, comprising of drummer Jstar, turntablists DJ Raiko and DJ P–Kuttah, three live beat machine samplers, versatile vocalist/ Nasty J aka Joniq; and singer/composer, multi-instrumentalist and producer Tom Misch (UK), who leaves his London bedroom studio to head to Cape Town for the first time in March.

Those seeking the ancestral roots of jazz and hip hop in African music will be captivated by these artists, offering music from the deserts of Mali, Morocco and the Kalahari: Jokko is a supergroup of African instrumentalists that brings together five top-ranking players of traditional instruments, all fluent in the modern languages of pop, dance and jazz. Renowned balafon (wooden xylophone) player Aly Keita, stringed instrument (guembri and ghayta) player Mehdi Nassouli, Foulane Bouhssine “the Mozart of the ribab”, bassist Childo Thomas and, Senegalese drummer Sega Seck.

Also announced in the second half of the CTIJF 2017 line-up, are some of our country’s greatest talents, from big local names to rising stars: South Africa’s ‘unofficial minister of music’ whose social commentary takes root in preserving the heritage of indigenous music, the legendary composer, multi-instrumentalist and producer “Pops” Mohamed (SA) will be gracing the CTIJF stage. Festinos will be transported to the past and future with this unusual artist’s blend of sounds, taking influence from decades of traditional and modern music; Another South African great, the multiple award-winning and platinum-selling group Mango Groove (SA) whose unique ‘Maribi-Pop’ sound has been delighting world audiences since the 80’s; Khayelitsha-based Arts & Culture Focus School Chris Hani High School (SA) will bring the talents of young past and present students to the CTIJF stage, including students from the CTIJF’s Training & Development programme, with a mix of jazz and African influences; this year’s special performance by Camillo Lombard presents a Cape Town Showcase (SA) will profile consummate Cape Town legends who have made their mark in the music industry for over four decades. The line-up will include Sophia Foster, Terry Fortune, Sylvia Mdunyelwa, Sammy Webber and Songstress Vicky Sampson. The Cape Town Showcase also boasts a stellar 14-piece band that comprises a six-piece rhythm section, five horns and three backing vocals.
Festinos will be delighted by performances from multiple award-winner vocalist and songwriter Thandiswa Mazwai (SA); SAMA-winning, Congolese-born, Cape Town-based vocalist/composer Tresor (SA); and Sonik Citizen (SA) one of the many musical identities of multi-talented performer, composer and teacher, and multiple award winner Mark Fransman, who will showcase his “lyrical-soul-rock” style at the CTIJF.

“The CTIJF has reached a point where it is known to deliver a good product.  This was evidenced by the sale of tickets even before we made the first artist announcement this year,” commented Billy Domingo.  Thanking loyal fans for their support, Domingo went on to say that festival-goers’ faith has been justified in what he dubs as “one of the most potent socially conscious musical line-ups ever staged in South Africa, and one that has exceptional cachet.”  It is clearly not to be missed.

Executive Mayor of Cape Town, Alderman Patricia de Lille concurs, "Our City can boast of many jazz icons who have united us around our common love for music and the unique sounds of Cape Town jazz. Those sounds are deeply woven into both our past and our present, and they continue to bring us together. The CTIJF is not just a local favourite, but has rightfully taken its place as one of the primary festivals of its kind on a global scale. Every year it gives us the opportunity to consolidate our position as the events capital of Africa, and brings a national and international audience to our world-class local acts.”


The Minister of Arts and Culture, Mr Nathi Mthethwa, pointed out that: "The Cape Town International Jazz Festival, now in its 18th edition, continues to attract the best musicians from South Africa and abroad; and the musical collaborations that result from this rich engagement produce music that captures the cultural imagination of our people, builds continental cohesion and speaks to the world at large."

Previously announced artists include:

Jazz supergroup Jazz Funk Soul with Everette Harp, Jeff Lorber & Paul Jackson Jr (USA); Ernie Smith (SA), VuDu (SA); Rudresh Mahanthappa Bird Calls (USA); Gretchen Parlato (USA); Siya Makuzeni (SA); Skyjack (SA/ SWISS); Tune Recreation Committee (SA);  Darren English (SA/ USA), Jonas Gwangwa & Friends (SA).
Taylor McFerrin and Marcus Gilmore (USA); Dope Saint Jude (SA); Laura Mvula (UK); Judith Sephuma (SA); The Rudimentals (SA); Sekunjalo Edujazz Band (SA); Manu Dibango (Cameroon) and Moreira Chonguica (Mozambique); Deepak Pandit (India); Marcus Wyatt (SA) and Ranjit Barot (India); Escalandrum (Argentina); and  Soweto String Quartet (SA) .

The official sponsors for the 18th annual Cape Town International Jazz Festival 2017 amongst other are as follows: The Department of Arts and Culture, Independent Media, and host city The City of Cape Town, Johnnie Walker, Amstel and more.

terça-feira, 10 de janeiro de 2017

Timber looting continues in Mozambique

 Timber looting continues in Mozambique

Despite a ban on the export of raw timber in Mozambique, containers filled with hardwood logs are piling up in northern harbours for export to China. Estacio Valoi investigates
Containers heading towards Kato Tampan, a ship flying the Singaporean flag. Photos: Estacio Valoi

While Mozambicans were celebrating the festive season, the controversial Mofid timber company and its associates were stockpiling containers loaded with illegal timber and other suspected illicit products such as ivory in Pemba harbour.

Kato Tampan 9281346, a container ship flying the Singaporean flag, is docked in the harbour in the far north of the country. Over the past week it has been trying to load 30 containers filled with looted timber from the Chinese company Mofid (Mozambique First International Development, Lda) and its associate, Peng Pai Forest Company.

It appears that at least four of the containers were loaded on to Kato Tampan and the remainder will be loaded on to Bomar Rissen, a ship flying the Marshall Islands flag which arrived in the harbour on Sunday, January 8.

The Mozambican government announced a ban on the export of raw timber logs in November 2015, and suspended the logging of certain species such as ironwood trees used in charcoal production.
In early November last year Parliament unanimously passed a Bill banning the export of unprocessed timber logs, and the law came into effect on New Year’s day 2017. The ban does not apply to semi-processed timber such as beams, planks and parquet, or finished goods such as furniture.

Celso Correia, Minister of Land, Environment and Rural Development, told parliamentarians the new law aims to protect Mozambique’s forests, ensure their sustainable exploitation, industrialise the forestry sector, encourage the export of products of higher added value – finished and semi-finished – and create more jobs.

Shortly after the law was passed, authorities announced the seizure of 1,300 containers of logs at another northern port, Nacala, in early December. It was the largest haul of illegal timber confiscated in Mozambique, and was believed to be headed for China.

The logs now waiting to be exported from Pemba harbour were dispatched by local shipping agent Gardino J Txopela, and the containers are under the name of Yu Gaing.
Logs piled high in the Mofid-Pen Pai yard, ready to be loaded into containers

Illegal logging

Mofid’s was implicated in illegal logging in 2013 and its timber exploration licence was cancelled by the Cabo Delgado Agriculture Department, but the company has continued operating via associated companies such as Henderson International, Jian International and Kam Wam.

Vicky Lau is the general manager of Mofid and its subsidiary companies, Pemba Construction and Hui Yuan Fishery. An employee who did not want to be named said she is buying up all the illegal timber seized by the agriculture and environment department agents at the Pemba check points.

“The timber is not taken to the agriculture department this year but to Vicky Lau at Mofid, and the payment is in cash. Inside they have a kind of bank: money in different currencies, from meticais to US dollars, but only for Chinese people,” said the employee.

Mofid has been linked by sources in the Quirimbas National Park to leaders of the ruling Frelimo party and to government ministers involved in the timber looting. The Environmental International Agency tracked the involvement of the Agriculture Minister Jose Pacheco and the former minister, Tomas Mondlate, in looting timber from Mozambique to China on behalf of Mofid. Mondale’s agency was also allegedly involved in the logs recently seized in Nacala harbor.

The provincial services of Forestry and Wildlife of Cabo Delgado and of Land, Environment and Rural Development are the main agencies providing technical evaluation of management plans, issuing licences and permits for hunting, enforcing forestry concession laws, and overseeing forest operations like the movement of forest products, including the entry into the port of produce for export.

“A total ban on timber log exports means customs inspectors no longer have to determine what kind of wood is being exported, given that according to the current law the most valuable species have to be processed in the country,” said Correia.

“Estimates indicate that Mozambique has been losing 220,000 hectares of forest per year, from tree felling as well as forest fires related to slash and burn agriculture.”

At the Agriculture Department the revenues fall into the hands of a corrupt network of functionaries at both state level and various networks in the districts and communities. They accept illegal payments to help operators and traders like Mofid bypass the regulations.

Bomar Rissen, a ship flying the Marshall Islands flag, arrived in the harbour on Sunday, 8 January 2017

‘Highly suspicious’

Over the past weekend Mofid was trying to get its cargo inside Pemba harbour to be exported. Due a lack of permits and documents to export the containers, “they paid the customs service agents and their collaborators” and the cargo was downloaded, according to some of the drivers transporting the containers.

“We have been here since morning waiting for the Mofid owners to come and pay money to these people from the customs service to allow us to offload the containers and be shipped to China. The logs have no documents, no permits to be exported and that is why we are waiting for the money to pay them. The only documents in our possession are for these trucks,” said drivers.

The drivers also believed that other products such as ivory might be part of the cargo ready to be shipped exported abroad.
“Everything in those containers is illegal. People from Mofid are struggling to prevent the customs service from opening the containers. On January 5 another cargo was expected, of containers to be delivered to Pemba harbour. The Chinese woman has solved everything,” said one driver.

Requests for permission to see what was inside the containers were rejected by the Pemba chief customs agent, Nazilo Valabdas. He said opening the containers in the loading area would only be done if there was something “highly suspicious” and would require the presence of various parties, including the customer, agriculture service, state intelligence agents, the shipping agent and the owner of the containers.

The customs services records reflect that last year some 3,000 containers of six metres each carrying logs and processed timber were exported to China from Pemba. There were 220 declarations representing an incoming of US$1,267-million (90-million meticais) for the government. – oxpeckers.org