Thokoza Workshop with Eugene Skeef and Estelle Kokot
Polarisation, echo chambers, the backdrop of a world which bears the footprints still of slavery, civil and human rights struggles, the apartheid system. Now Black Lives Matter among many others voices fears and aspirations for a future which does not involve the senseless murder of black people by law enforcement, Extinction Rebellion leads the fight against the degradation of the planet.
The UK faces an uncertain future post Brexit. What is the future?
This project seeks a sense of solidarity and places of understanding. Sites of connection, locally, globally, and without prejudice, but the intent to use the power of creativity to understand ourselves, each other and the world around us.
Thokoza - the project - through the sharing of lived experience, the interpretation of a collective voice, by its iteration, recognises that past and its consequence, bears witness to the present and creates a site for new realities and relationships to be nurtured.
Eugene and Estelle, through their serendipitous meeting, are the natural leaders for this project - their worlds seemingly so far apart, and yet their connection palpable. Perception, interpretation, creation and collaboration are the key qualities that they offer.
Eugene Skeef FRSA - London-based South African percussionist, composer, poet, educationalist and broadcaster. Works in conflict resolution, acts as consultant on cultural development and teaches creative leadership. His innovative global projects include community music, jazz, ‘world’ music, European classical music, contemporary dance theatre and children’s storytelling. Has composed for London Philharmonic Orchestra, London Sinfonietta and Royal Scottish National Orchestra, trained their players and helped to set up their education departments. In 2010 his collaborative project The Battle Of The Wordsmiths (with writer Tunde Olatunji) was shortlisted for the PRS New Music Award. Fellow of Royal Society of Arts and winner of Harry E. Schlenz Medal for Water Music.
Estelle Kokot is a South African singer, songwriter and pianist. While touring South Africa during the past five years, Estelle has appeared at The Orbit in Johannesburg 6 times, The State Theatre African Jazz & Music Nights, Arts Alive Festival in Johannesburg, The Crypt in Cape Town, UKZN in Kwazulu Natal, PE Opera House and the music college at Fort Hare University amongst others.
Estelle moved to London in the mid 1990’s and soon established herself on the live scene, performing at Pizza Express and The Vortex Jazz Clubs, Cambridge Modern Jazz Cub and Band on the Wall in Manchester. She has also performed at the Cork, London, and Soho Jazz festivals, as well as the Dusseldorf Jazz Rally and clubs and theatres in Switzerland and Germany. Estelle performed with UK cellist Kate Shortt at the London Jazz Festival in November 2016 and they presented a duo show at The Pheasantry and The Vortex. Estelle also conducted jazz vocal and song writing master classes at UCT, UKZN, Fort Hare University, and Central Johannesburg College. She delivers workshops wherever she is touring and performing.
Silk Street Music Hall