TV documentary on jazz musician

Yoliswa Sobuwa

THE life of jazz legend Feya Faku will be captured in a television documentary which, it is hoped, will also be used to teach music. Living Legends is the brainchild of SAfm jazz presenter Ike Phaahla. It will include New Brighton-born Faku’s childhood memories, a bit about his music career and interviews with his family and mentors.

The documentary – which will be filmed around Nelson Mandela Bay this weekend – will be used at institutions around South Africa that teach music. Other footage already filmed includes Faku recording his album in Johannesburg.

Phaahla said the trumpeter, now 50, was “a legend in his time”.

“He is very much loved in Europe and we need to give him that respect and expose him to South Africans who might not know him. [Many] artists don’t have biographies and documentaries. We rely on second-hand information when stories of jazz players are told,” Phaahla said.

Many artists were celebrated once they died, he said, and SAfm wanted, through this documentary, to celebrate them while there were still alive.

“We are also looking at working with other artists who will be interested in telling their stories through a documentary. We are very grateful that the Lotteries Distribution Trust Fund saw merit in our proposal. We are in discussion with several broadcasters,” Phaahla said.

Faku, once the youngest member of the Winston “Mankunku” Ngozi Quintet, has been associated with classic jazz musicians including Barney Rachabane, Thandi Klaasen and the late Duke Makasi. He has also worked with Abdullah Ibrahim.

“I felt honoured when I was approached by Phaahla, who is giving me an opportunity to tell the story of my life. There is nothing documented about jazz music and musicians,” he said.

“We will be going to my first school, Jarvis Gqamlana Primary in New Brighton. This is where I fell in love with music. My Sub A teacher, Nombulelo Ngazi, made us sing [a song]. It was a powerful song. One has to always look back to where one comes from before focusing on the future.”

Faku is treating Nelson Mandela Bay fans to a concert at The Barn at the Opera House on Saturday. “I thought since I will be in PE I might as well do a concert which might also work as part of the documentary. I will bring three other musicians, members of my quartet, and feature Pat Pasha and Bra Dudley Tito who played an important role in my music career,” Faku said.

Tickets are available from the Opera House at R50.

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