In the heart of Cape Town’s pulsating music scene lies a collective of extraordinary talent, each member a luminary in their own right, collectively known as Kujenga. As a beacon of Afrojazz brilliance, Kujenga isn’t just a band; they’re architects of sonic landscapes, builders of soul-stirring melodies, and creators of unforgettable musical experiences. In our quest to delve deeper into the essence of South Africa’s musical tapestry, Let’s Get Local had the privilege to sit down with Zwide Ndwandwe, the bassist extraordinaire of Kujenga, to unravel the threads of his journey and the soulful resonance that defines the band’s sound.

For a firsthand experience of their captivating performance, head over to Big Little Concepts’ YouTube channel and let Kujenga’s melodies transport you to new realms of musical bliss.

Q: Tell us about the origin story of your musical career. Was there a defining moment, a love for a specific genre, or just a spontaneous jam session that sparked it all?

A: In high school, I was learning drums formally and bass informally. I performed regularly from the age of 16, but started playing professionally at 17 or 18, playing at restaurants, busking, and in bands formed with friends. This journey led me to where I am today.

Q: How did it feel rocking out in the iconic Concept Records studio? Did the environment inspire anything unexpected in your performance?

A: We recorded our latest album there, so it’s like a second home. It didn’t inspire anything unexpected because we’re familiar with the place. The time spent there has grown our musicality and chemistry, making it a natural environment for us.

Q: We saw a glimpse of your musical magic captured in Big Little Concepts. What message or vibe did you hope to convey through your performance?

A: The message of our music is that Black music has a role to play in the emancipation of Black people, the colonised, and the oppressed.

Q: What other creative outlets fuel your artistic fire besides music?

A: Cinema and literature are influential. Great visual projects and written works, from fiction to non-fiction, inspire me to write a lot of the music we perform.

Q: As a Cape Town musician, what excites you most about the city’s vibrant music scene? Any hidden gems or unsung heroes you’d recommend checking out?

A: The city is constantly producing new talent. The excitement comes from discovering new artists who are just as incredible as the last. Artists I recommend are Sun Quintet, Resonance, and The Talon.

Q: What’s on the horizon for you beyond Big Little Concepts?

A: We’re releasing our album “In The Wake” and have plans to play around the country, hopefully internationally, and collaborate with other artists.

Q: If you could trade musical styles with any local artist for a day, who would it be and why?

A: Unfortunately, it would have to be a band that’s no longer around, Hartleyvale. They were consistently amazing at every performance.

Q: What’s the one record that forever holds a special place in your heart?

A: “Echoes of the Past” by Jimmy Dludlu is an album I grew up with and consider the standard for a perfect album.

Q: If you could collaborate with any musician, living or dead, who would it be and why?

A: Salief Keita, one of the best musicians from this continent. It would be an honour to work with such a legend.

Q: Ten years from now, how do you hope to be remembered in the Cape Town music scene?

A: As someone who was honest and committed to the art form.

Bonus Q: Share a fun fact or hidden talent.

A: I can’t read or write sheet music. I use my bass and send voice notes to each band member of what I want them to play. All the music you hear was written and learned this way.

In the mosaic of Cape Town’s vibrant music scene, Kujenga stands tall as a testament to the power of collaboration, creativity, and unwavering dedication to their craft. With their latest album, “In The Wake”, on the horizon and dreams of international acclaim, Kujenga embodies the spirit of musical innovation and cultural resonance. As we bid farewell to our conversation with Zwide Ndwandwe, we’re reminded that the legacy of Kujenga transcends mere notes and rhythms; it’s a legacy etched in honesty, commitment, and the timeless allure of Afrojazz mastery.

So, immerse yourself in the symphony of Kujenga’s creation and witness firsthand the magic of music that knows no bounds. For an unforgettable journey through their musical universe, visit Big Little Concepts’ YouTube channel and let Kujenga’s melodies carry you away.

Author

I can’t play any musical instruments or sing, so this is my contribution to the local music scene — which I love immensely. I can’t touch my toes, but that has held me back only slightly in life. My hobbies include reading, beer, bringing up Let’s Get Local when no one asked, writing, and surprising people with my pool skills. I believe somehow all of this will lead me to Dave Grohl.

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