S o u t h  A f r i c a

" M e e t   t h e  C o m p o s e r "     G l o b a l   C o n n e c t i o n s










C o m i n g    H o m e  &
      T w o  M o r e   P r e m i e r e s
It is 4:15 in the morning now, so you can see that I am adjusting well to the time change. I awoke at 1:30, and felt fresh and invigorated for the new day! So, wrapping up the trip now, there are several closing remarks and links that I want to provide for Blog readers so you can learn more about Sontonga, Owl House, ILAM, and South Africa.

The Sontonga Quartet will be touring the U.S. in the fall of 2006, and if you are interested in booking them please view their site www.sontongaquartet.com or contact contact Marc Uys.

The Owl House Foundation Website is www.owlhouse.co.za. The Owl House is currently raising funds for several projects. The documentary film needs additional funding to complete the editing, production and distribution of the film. Secondly, they would like to have This is My World republished by Oxford University Press. Oxford has requested pre-payment of the publication costs. Perhaps a pre-publication subscription by individuals, along with some donations will complete this funding. They have raised 25,ooo Rands to date, which is one quarter of the production costs. Restoration of the camel yard sculptures is also needed, due to gradual decline from outdoor wear and tear. Mark Wilby can be contacted directly at ibis@intekom.co.za


The International Library of African Music at Rhodes University has a wealth of information, recordings, and instruments from throughout Africa. Their Website is www.ilam.ru.ac.za or e-mail Andrew Tracey directly.

TWO MORE PREMIERES

I have two premieres coming up in mid-May: the orchestral version of Cloven Dreams, and Ten Day Miner for Concert Band. These are both in association with my school residencies. Please come to the concerts if you are in Northern California, and would like to hear the sounds of Africa, or the blasting of the Cornish Miners down in the gold mines of the Sierra Foothills!

Cloven Dreams for Orchestra
San Francisco School of the Arts, Theatre Auditorium
555 Portola Drive
San Francisco, CA
Saturday, May 14, 7:30 p.m.
www.sfsota.org
415-695-5700

Ten Day Miner for Concert Band
Magnolia Intermediate Gold Band
Cottage Hill Elementary School Auditorium
22600 Kingston Lane Grass Valley, CA 95949
Telephone: 530.268.2808/
Wednesday, May 18, 6:30 p.m.
www.pleasantridge.k12.ca.us/magnolia/
F i n a l   S o n t o n g a   
                       C o n c e r t
We finished most of the filming today, and Sontonga played an afternoon concert for the villagers. As you can see, the front row was filled with children, and the repertoire was tailored to the audience. A movement of Haydn String Quartet, Op. 77, No. 1, Schumann 3rd Quartet, 2nd movement , Cloven Dreams, a movement of a Peter Klatzow Quartet(UCT), the Pizzicato Polka by Strauss, and arrangements by Mattheis van Dijk of Voodoo Child and Paint it Black.

We went to a great brewery after the concert with extraordinary beer and cheeses. The cheeses were direct from their two goats. The goat cheese was blended with olives and a liquor and served with sweet beet roots and brown bread. Combine this with a tasty dark beer, and we were all in heaven...
        T h e    V i l l a g e
I managed to get out early this morning to get some pictures of
the countryside in the early morning light. The birdsong breaks
the morning silence with continuous, yet varied calls. The light
is amazing - it is their fall light - and the reds, yellows, and whites
create a kind of Tuscan palette.
The township lies just at the base of a hillside, and is about four city blocks from the village. Smoke rises, creating a thick cloud above the houses. You can hear dogs yelping, children crying, and see people leaving early to get to work. It is a very different world from the silent early morning 'village proper'.
      D o c u m e n t a r y
Mark Wilby, the curator of Owl House, started developing the
idea for this documentary several months ago. Over the past
year I've been e-mailing him about the prospect of a Meet
the Composer (MTC) grant, and then about the process of
writing Cloven Dreams, and finally planning the trip to South
Africa after receiving the MTC grant.

His aim is to create a film documenting the creative process
related to the the music written about Owl House. Today
we filmed the Sontonga Quartet in the camel yard playing
Cloven Dreams. In our evening session, Owl House was
illuminated with paraffin lanterns, and the glass-covered
walls glittered late into the night (well, 1:30 a.m.). Tommorow
the crew finishes up the final shots, and then Sontonga will
give a concert for the village in the afternoon.

C l o v e n    D r e a m s

Cloven Dreams was commissioned by Tessa Brinckman in 2003
for flute and string trio. The piece was immediately orchestrated
for full orchestra, and then re-orchestrated for string quartet
when I began planning this trip to South Africa to work with the
Sontonga Quartet.

Tessa lent me a reference copy of This is My World by Sue Imrie
Ross, and Hugh Tracey's African field recordings from the 1940's
as a basis for Cloven Dreams. Both the field recordings and the
images had an incaluable influence on the compositional process.

The piece lays down a groove that is based on the African field
recordings, and gradually introduces bird sounds, and various
utterances from the other strings. This evolves into a dense rhythmic interplay, similar to the hocketing of the African marimba family with
three to four players. The first section has a lively, playful feeling
that reflects the bouyant quality of the Camel Yard. This gradually
builds to a more complex and vibrant climax.



We enter the Owl House with the sudden introduction of the eb
ostinato in the violin. The static, almost eerie sound is very evocative,
and represents the red stillness within Owl House. The tremelo in the
violin evokes the rustling of the thornbush; muted flautando parallel fourths a glass-like quality, like the glistening stained glass and
tiny crushed glass framents that permeate the walls and ceilings. The sparseness of this section ends when the Little Devil comes to life.
(The Little Devil is the one being that was created entirely by Helen
Martins, the rest having been fashioned by her assistants from the
village).

The final section of the piece begins with the Little Devil dancing an irregular rhythmic figure as it enters the Camel Yard for the first time.
Her Little Devil shadow-side is finally permitted out into the world.
A kind of musical redemption for Martins, Cloven Dreams presents the healing and integration of her Little Devil when it dances with the rest
of the archetypal images Martins has created in the Camel Yard.


N i e u-B e t h e s d a / O w l H o u s e
Driving into Nieu-Bethesda yesterday afternoon was like arriving in Mecca after a long journey. The camel yard was alight with late afternoon sun, and the figures gradually turned to shadow as the cold crept into the high-desert mountain air. The camel yard was more playful and amusing than I had realized. Juxtaposing the owls, camels, peacocks, mona lisas, and mermaids, creates a playful flurry of activity.

Glass is imbedded in many of the figures, and the foliage around the camel yard has an interesting way of ornamenting the figures. There is a preponderance of mythic figures in the yard, with numerous wise men, the baby jesus in the manger, pyramids, and sphinxes. The massive rush of figures heading towards Oos (East) is so congested, that it is ominously reminiscent of an uncontrollable compulsive disorder to create (the figures).

Owl House has created an industry for the townspeople who sell replicas of Owl House figures, jewelry, lamps, and key chains with little owls on them. Koos, Helen Martins' last assistant, was an important figure in Helens' life, and it feels like the people who are making the Owl House figures are continuing the Koosian tradition of sculpting for a living in this tiny village.
R h o d e s   U n i v e r s i t y
U p c o m i n g   C o n c e r ts
We are in Grahamstown, at Rhodes University, and the environment here is more conducive to music-making than UCT. The faculty and students seem very appreciative that we are here, and are really taking advantage of the opportunity. Sontonga has been hosting master classes with pianists over the past few days, while I have been working with Andrew Tracey at the International Library of African Music (ILAM).

There is a major collection of African Instruments and field recordings at ILAM. Hugh Tracey started the tradition of collecting these field recordings all over Africa in the 1930's. His son Andrew has continued that tradition for many years, and is just about to retire from Rhodes. I have been studying Ulimba with a Malawin musician since I have been here. There are three of us at the instrument at a time, each with two mallets. Everything is displaced by a 16th note, so there an amazing pattern of rhythmic and melodic interest that results.



The next two concerts with Cloven Dreams are tonight in Grahamstown, and Sunday afternoon in Port Elizabeth. Then we'll be filming in Nieu-Bethesda during the week, and will have another concert next Saturday afrernoon, perhaps at the Owl House.

Sat 23 April 20:00
Beethoven Room, Grahamstown
Haydn Op. 77 no. 1
Reynolds Cloven Dreams
Schumann Piano Quintet with students from Rhodes University

Sun 24 April 16:00
UPE (University of Port Elizabeth) Auditorium
Port Elizabeth
Haydn Op. 77 no. 1
Peter Klatzow String Quartet no 3
Reynolds Cloven Dreams
Schumann String Quartet Op. 41 no.3


Andrew Tracey and Malawin musicians
ILAM instrumental display


U C T   C o n c e r t
The concert on 19 April at the University of Cape Town was attended by a warm mix of people affiliated with Owl House, students and faculty at UCT, the Jungian contingent, and those who heard our interview Sunday night on fine Music Radio (101.3). This concert was an 'all-Reynolds' concert performed by the Sontonga Quartet, Matthew Reid, clarinet, and the composer on the piano.

The concert repertoire included the Preludes for viola and piano, Little Love Poem, Corazon del Verano for piano trio, Variations for Clarinet and piano, String Quartet, Cloven Dreams, 21 and Black Chinned Siskin for piano. A moderated discussion followed the concert, and it turned out that there were people in the audience that grew up in the Karoo, near Helen Martins' Owl House. Mark Wilby, the curator of Owl House, and the documentary film crew for our upcoming film about Owl House were also there. This was a good time for everyone involved in the project to get a better feel for the music, and the corresponding imagery from Owl House.

Some of you may be wondering about the reference to the Jungians - there will be an international conference in Cape Town, August 2007 for the IAAP. We hope to present the documentary about the music inspired by Owl House at the conference. I'm also talking with someone at the National Gallery in Cape Town about their music program, also scheduled for 2007.


S o n t o n g a   Q u a r t e t
The Sontonga Quartet has made itself such an organic part of the South African music scene, that one hates imagine the barren landscape of chamber music without them. They are the only full time professional (classical) ensemble in South Africa. They have no sense of complacency, in spite of the empty playing field. They play a wide range of African music, and continue to expand an impressive repertoire of standard classical and contimporary works for string quartet.

They have a fresh approach, and a seemingly limitless amount of energy to investigate repertoire. They tour South Africa, Europe, Russia, and will be going to New York for concerts this June in conjunction with the release of a new series of films.

This work is augmented by their community outreach that includes coaching chamber music, teaching in the townships, and bringing music into new and unusual venues. They continue to expand their work in the townships, and receive national funding for their work.


G a r d e n   R o u t e    T o u r

11 April, 2005    Seaview Game Park

The Game Park in Seaview has a lion rehab facility, and there are four 12-week-old cubs that are being raised by the staff at the park. The cubs are taken away from their mothers after only one week. In captivity, the mothers believe that they are unable to feed their young well enough for them to reach adulthood. They will allow their cubs to die, rather than lead them into an uncertain future.

There are two other pregnant females that are both due in three weeks, so the caretakers will need to juggle the new infants. along with these young cubs.

This game reserve is a bit like Noah's ark, with two giraffes, two zebras, then expanding to several lions, three tigers (all siblings), a herd of wildebeasts, several monkeys and peacocks, and the odd tortoise. Managing the wild animals in South Africa is a huge challenge that is being met in various ways, including private game reserves, and public reserves such as Addo elephant park.

10 April, 2005
Nothando Backpackers

A "retired" Afrikaans couple started Nothando Backpackers in Plettenberg Bay eight years ago. The place runs like clockwork, and they serve an enormous breakfast every morning with fresh muffins, streudelettes, eggs, bacon, toast, fruit, coffee or tea. They have a good system to avoid burn-out - four managers, four days off at a time, with a staff of four or five others. The owner (Charles) just laughed when I remarked on the organzation - he'd been in the SA military for 27 years, rising to the rank of colonel. His wife also worked for the military, but as a civilian... Let me assure you, the rooms are spotless, breakfast is served on time, and they offer a shuttle service from the hotel to any of the local activities such as the Knysna Elephant Park, Monkeyland, sailing, or dolphin watching in the Bay.
To learn more about them go to Nothando.

For the next two months there are two French girls staying there while they practice English with the staff and visitors. Audrey provided the perfect opportunity for me to use all the French that has been accumulating from the French CD's that I've been listening to on Highway 80 over the past several months. I've been dragging my Afrikaans books around, and on my last day in Plett, Eunice gave me my first Afrikaans lesson, using my Learn Colloquial Afrikaans primer.
Eunice and Audrey


Knysna Elephant Park
The Knysna Elephant Park is a rehab center for elephants, and has
twelve elephants at the moment. There is a tremendous struggle
here in South Africa to find adequate space for the elephants which
require about 300 acres in the wild. The overpopulation problem has created a lot of controversy because of the history of poaching, and
near extinction of the elephant in South Africa.

There are now about 2,000 excess elephants in Kruger, and they are trying to work out an expanded zone, including Zimbabwe and Mozambique. The fences have come down to create a larger game park with the continguous game reserves, but the matriarchal leaders of the herds will not stay in the new areas. Between the conditioning of the previous electric fences, and the matriarchial teachings, the elephants are reluctant to leave their known territory.

9 April, 2005

The shantytowns lie just outside of the more developed 'European' style cities and towns. The fishing boats in Plettenberg Bay provide 30% of the income for those living on the outskirts. The main fish here is Hake, a firm white fish, 80% of which is exported to Europe and served in restaurants within 48 hours of its capture in Plett.

The ecosystem of the waters around the towns of the Cape are carefully monitored. I have been gratified to see the level of awareness that people have about sustainability, reducing toxicity in the water, and maintaining a good balance between the various species that live in the area.

Fishing boats in Plettenberg Bay


Great Ocean Blue ran a tour in the Plett bay this morning to watch the dolphins and seals. There were dolphins that came within two metres of the beach, jumping through the waves. Scores of them staying very close to land to avoid the great whites that co-habit the bay with them.It is not easy to catch the dolphins on film, but I did manage to capture the fins in this shot...

The fur seals were stunning, and abundant. They clustered on the rocky shores of a land mass on the north side of the bay that used to be part of the Falklands. This is also where there had been early shipwrecks, and stories abound about the Portugese sailors that built small vessels out of the remains of their ship to return to Cape Town and Mozambique.
Don't blink ...

Back Stroke
Emerging
7 April, 2005
The Baz Bus travels throughout South Africa, between all of the registered backpacker lodges. My tour of the Garden Tour didn't come through, so the Aardvark Travel Agency rebooked me on the Baz Bus, and I'm making my way through the garden route with various world travelers in their twenties who are setting out on their journies.

We left Cape Town accompanied by blaring hip hop, followed by an Austin Powers movie. I was truly grateful to get to Oudtshoorn's Backpacker where I booked their luxury room for R250, including a private bathroom. We awoke early the next morning for a typical South African breakfast of eggs, bacon, tomatoes, toast, cereal, yougart, tea, and coffee. I had a mini-version of the breakfast, and then we set off for the Cango Caves at 8:30.

This was an extraordinary collection of caves and chambers with stalactites and stalagmites that dated back thousands of years. In the first and largest chamber choral and orchestral concerts were held for nearly twenty five years, until the vandalism ended the concert series. The guides would carry 2,000 chairs into the caves for each concert. Now that is a real set-up process, so next time you feel irked at set-up, imagine carry the chairs into a cave, up and down a long series of stairs!
After our trip to the caves, we went to a nearby Ostrich Farm, where we learned about the "Ostrich Industry". Did you know that an Ostrich egg can feed 20 people, and that the chef must whip up the egg with water and herbs? Never use milk .... Ostriches lay about 16 eggs, just enough to create a nice lumpy bed beneath them. Many of these eggs don't hatch, so the handlers take the eggs into a stable, heated environment, and the bird then lays more eggs to replace the ones that have been taken.

Part of the entertainment at the farm includes ostrich riding, and ostrich races. I didn't take part in this right before our concert in Cape Town, but maybe when we come back through this area in a couple of weeks... As our shuttle driver was driving us to the next Baz connection in George (near Oudtshoorn) Jewels and I both hopped off to the catch the steam train to Knysna, where I'd catch up with the Baz bus and continue on to Plettensburg (Plett).

The shuttle driver is one of these "You Must Follow Ze Rules" kind of a guy, and my abrupt departure nearly caused a heart attack in the poor guy. We have enough of that sort of thing in the U.S. these days, so I was happy to leave him behind in a cloud of steam when we boarded the train ...
Cango Caves

Straight Ahead
Yoga Pose




Happy Goat (One male and five females)
Steam Train from George to Knaysna


Hylton Ross Cape Point Tour
4 April, 2005

Seal colony in Hous Bay
Hout Bay Marina Market




Cape Point
Cape Point Observatory



Hostages des Baboons
Cape of Good Hope
Most people know my penchant for penguins, so the stop at the penguin colony at Simons Town was high on my list.... The penguins were originally called "Jackass Penguins" because their call resembles that of a donkey. Somewhere along the line, someone decided that they should have a more dignified name, and they are now called South African Penguins. They mate for life, and trade off caring for their eggs and young. Many of the penguins were literally panting in the heat as they sat over their unhatched eggs. The area over their eyes becomes increasingly pink as they heat up. Their partner comes to relieve them so they can cool off in the water.


"Jackass Penguins"

Most of you have probably heard of Ladysmith Black Mambazo, and these singers had a similar sound, even singing a tune that is on one of my albums. The choral music is wonderful here, and there are a lot of groups that sing for tips in the tourist areas. It was hard to move on to lunch with this group singing such great music.

There was some lovely seafood at the restaurant in Simons Town. Kingklip is a nice solid white fish, often grilled or pan-fried in olive oil and garlic. The calamari was splendid - very delicate. I had the Salade Nicoise and Zenenblanc, but the tuna was a bit overdone. Brandy and Coke is a big drink in these parts, but I can say that it's not one that I would make a regular part of my diet... We were sated, and lulled into a peaceful sophorific state as we drove on to the Kirstenbosch Gardens.
Singers in Simons Town
It is fall here, so we did not see the best that Kirstenbosch has to
offer. I would love to come in October some time, which equates to
our springtime. The gardens remind me of Golden Gate Park in San
Francisco, however, the backdrop of Devil's Peak adds a dramatic
touch to the whole scene.
Guinea Fowl in Kirstenbosch
Proteus, the National Flower
3 April, 2005
It seems that I rehearse every other day, and explore the country on the alternate days. Hence, Sunday meant more meetings with musicians, and more rehearsing. I started off at the Johnson's home to talk about adding drums and marimba to Cloven Dreams for the UCT student performance that we are planning. We spent a bit of time working out some ideas, and then Ross uncovered two volumes on marimba patterns! What a find.....

I'm cooking up a sister-city concept between musicians in Cape Town and the San Francisco Bay area. This is something that Ross could participate in with his extensive marimba building, teaching, teacher-training projects that can be replicated anywhere in the world.
Johnsons on marimbas
Ross Johnson's Nordic Roots
Study in contrasts
The diversity in South Africa is stunning. Visit the townships one day, and the next to be ensconced in a palatial home in Constancia, followed by a concert given by a Dutch soprano, which segues to a reception in which Afrikaans is the principal language.

Rehearsal in Constancia


District 6 Street Map
District 6 Residents
2 April, 2005
The township tour was led by Nathi. He is a township resident, and gave an excellent and moving tour of the District 6 museum, District 6, and a few townships near Cape Town. The first photo shows a street map of District 6 that has been signed by the residents - it covers a good part of the first floor of the museum. Residents have contributed photos, street signs, memorabilia, letters, and stories to the museum. Nathi said that the viewpoint they have is to forgive, but not to forget the atrocities of the apartheid government.

In school, the township children are taught in English, but Lhosa is spoken at home, so most children are not bilingual. There are some good programs being created by the township communities. In Langa, there is a new community center where residents are taught trades, and the products such as pottery, sculpture, and musical instruments are sold. The music program at Langa includes piano, guitar, and traditional African music. Henry Lenares showed me the storage room that is filled with African percussion instruments and guitars. Every Saturday, the music teachers work with the children, and they are encouraged to come to the center on weekdays to practice.
                                        

                            
Township Children
Vicky's Township B&B
Vicki moved from the Eastern Cape to a Cape Town township six years ago to open a B&B. Her goal is to encourage tourists to come to the townships to get to know the people - to discover their warmth, openness, and generosity of spirit... her B&B is right across the street from the Waterfront, a township tavern. She talks with all of the tourists that come through, although few actually book a room for the evening.


Vicky's B&B
Vicky and her child

Dagu, African Healer
Young township women

1 April, 2005
Hylton Ross offers a wonderful Hop on - Hop off City Tour on the Topless Bus for R90. The weather was splendid yesterday, with little wind, and a lot of sunshine. The tour has 13 stops in all, hightlights included the Waterfront, the South African Museum, Jewish Museum, District 6 Museum, Castle, cableway up to Table Mountain, and Camps Bay. This tour gives you an excellent sense of the Cape Town Region, and helps you narrow down what you want to see in more depth.

District 6 is of particular interest. During apartheid when the government was reapportioning land, they forced all of the Africans and coloreds out of the District 6 area of Cape Town. Many refused to leave, given that their families had lived there for generations. So the government literally dismantled the homes, and forced the occupants out on the streets. Once the area was cleared and burned, the whites were invited to move into the area. However, the government policy had been so brutal towards the previous occupants, that no whites would move into the area. It would have been a passive acceptance of the government policies that were so detested at the time.
View of Table Bay from Cable Car entrance at Table Mountain

Once you get to know Cape Town there can be an eerie familiarty that arises. It has an uncanny resemblance to the San Francisco Bay Area. The weather is more to my liking - it has the mediterranean climate with a much more subtle version of the San Francisco fog.

At the end of the day, Harold took me to supper over at the Pizzeria in Sea Point. This family restaurant has been in the area for over thirty years, and the son-in-law is now the principal chef. We had grilled Calamari (olive oil, garlic, chile powder) with pasta, french salad, and a 2004 Zonnenbloem Blanc de Blanc. Over 75% of the wines in the Region are whites, and the Sauvingon Blanc's are lovely.

We must thank the fleeing Hugenots that came to Cape Town via Amsterdam in the mid-1600's. The top French vintners brought their tradition and talent to the Cape, making this a celebrated wine growing (and tasting) area.
Camps Bay, located just beyond Sea Point
Entrance to the South African College of Music at UCT


The South African music program has students from all over the world, and in the Wednesday afternoon concert, there were performer-couples from both Sweden and Canada.

I sat in on one of Dizu's drumming classes on Wednesday, and the techniques were reminiscent of Indian music. The students learn the strokes in conjunction with syllables, and then are able to swap out different patterns to create an improvisational sounding drumming pattern.

The students had write-ups of the vocalization of the patterns, and practiced the interlocking rhythms in sections, building and lengthening the rhythms. Dizu would add new patterns along the way, showing students alternate patterns to add to the mix. Without a steady downbeat the tempo tended to speed up and the rhythmic patterns would loose focus. So Dizu would have one person play the bass tone on the beat to keep it really tight.
Swedish students in concert
Dizu (on the left-hand side of this photo) flows between students during the concert, playing a little rhythm, filling in on marimbas or vocals as needed. He has a very easy way about him, warmth radiating towards everyone in his circle. A part of his joy is that Dizu will go through the traditional wedding ceremony with Nelson Mandela's grand daughter this fall, making him part of the South African 'royalty'.
Canadians on imbiras - check out the resonators!


One of the UCT students, Ross Johnson, is now in his third year at UCT, and is the quintessential entrepreneur in his field. He has a double major in jazz on double bass, and African music on marimba, and his classical background is as a guitarist. He has developed a teacher training program for the African schools on marimba, teaching students to become teachers, and transcribing a lot of the South African vocal music for marimba. He has a regular Monday night teacher training session that is open to the public.
His students soon become teachers, and receive good compensation for their work. There are a lot of gigs that pay 200-300 Rands for the students as well.

Greg Anderson (Ross's dad) has helped Ross to develop the infrastructure for his musical outreach program. This began when Ross was only 15, and getting started as a rock musician. It is as though Ross is single-handedly carrying out the mission of the new South Africa through education, teacher-training, and small business coaching for the African students that he mentors. The juxtaposition and warmth between Ross and his African colleagues on stage is one of the more inspiring experiences that I've had since being in South Africa.
Ross Johnson and friends
Lions Head Porchlet
Sea Point Architecture
On the Veranda - Brad Liebl, UCT vocal faculty



I began to get a sense of some of the challenges in the music department at the University of Cape Town (UCT). South Africa has had a turbulent history, and the educational system is no exception. One of the largest challenges in this country, is to develop and maintain a good education system for the African children to enable them to lead this country into the future.

This sort of thing can not happen overnight - it will take years, and a tremendous level of dedication. Basic necessities such as healthcare, housing, and nutrition are not available to most Africans in this country. The looming AIDS crisis adds to the obstacles that children face - parents and children face their mortality head-on with this epidemic. Funds for school supplies and books, and a stable home environment for children go hand-in-hand with improving educational opportunities.

Devil's Peak
There is a tremendous pool of African singers who have joined the vocal department at UCT. Singing is a part of everyday life in the African culture, and this natural predeliction paired with 'top-notch vocal chords' has been producing some wonderful opera singers at UCT. One of the challenges is to inculcate the students with the step-by-step practice techniques and study habits that were not ingrained in their early education. This adds a unique dimension to the role that the faculty at UCT must play in the lives of these young musicians.

One African American woman has been coming to UCT for several years and recruiting these singers for further training in the United States. She has had some wonderful success in bringing these singers to the next level in their careers. Last year, she returned to South Africa with a full production of Porgy and Bess - all of the vocal parts were performed by singers who had graduated from UCT, and gone to the States for further studies.
Marina View
Lion's Head behind Sea Point apartments


I ran into an Afrikaaner couple in Green Point that had read about the upcoming concert of my music at University of Cape Town with the Sontonga String Quartet. While the wife understood Californian English fairly well, the husband could not make out much of what I said -

I never did open the Afrikaans course on the plane... South African Airlines offered ten films, and I had a very chatty neighbor - a Sri Lankaan computer science professor from Missouri filling me in on the 'neural pathways' being developed for computers.

As for costs here - it pays to bargain-hunt for everything from internet access to the price of an egg. The best rate for on-line access today was 10 Rands an hour - just under $2. As for breakfast, you could easily spend 26-32 Rands, but let your eye drift down the page a bit, and there is the egg-over-toast for 9 Rands. Hiring a cell phone, and buying time on a Sim card are the next items to negotiate.
Oceanside walk from Sea Point, Green Point to Waterfront


At University of Cape Town (UCT) they have just had their fall break and Easter vacation, so I hope it is easier to get in touch with the faculty next week. Gillian Linders is the concert manager, and it appears that she is also in charge of housing for visiting composers. She will set me up with rehearsal space, and we can work out the details for publicity, programs, and outreach while I am in Cape Town.

I found the "Lion's Head Lodge" from the Lonely Planet Guide - they used a very wide angle lens on the pool - teleurstel ... However, I've just moved into a great self catering flat on the top floor with a balcony, view of the ocean, and lion's head mountain looming. Die allerbeste!

Having a car to get around is the next step. Then driving over to UCT, or to Table Mountain, or to Cape Pointe will be much easier. I will also join with some tours of the area - safety in numbers is an important adage in South Africa. We all know that Africa is a big continent, but I can say after the experience of disembarking in Jo'burg - Africa is truly vast.
Boat on the Atlantic near Green Point

Copyright 2005 D'Arcy Reynolds. All Rights Reserved