Jazz band raises funds for school

TopDog SA band members, from left, Camillo Lombard, Charlton Daniels, Donveno Prins and Mornay Hoffmeester.

Nama Jazz band TopDog SA have pledged their support for Dryden Street Primary School, hosting a special three-night performance at the Baxter Theatre last week, to raise money for the school.

The band launched the fourth instalment of their Nama Jazz IV DVD during an intimate gathering at the Artscape theatre on Wednesday July 3, followed by the three shows at the Baxter from Thursday July 4 to Saturday July 6.

The band adopted the Cape Town based-community upliftment organisation, Goodwill Care Foundation, as well as the 120-year-old Salt River-based school as the focus of the show.

The school caters for poor communities from Khayelitsha, New Crossroads and Philippi and relies heavily on fund-raising efforts.

Drummer Mornay Hoffmeester said they had decided to help after seeing pictures of the school

“We were thinking of ways to help the school, not just financially but musically as well because that’s what we do. We plan to walk a road with a school and not just have a once-off thing.”

TopDog SA’s Camillo Lombard said Nama Jazz IV delved deeper into the exploring of indigenous roots.

“Our quest in pushing the indigenous envelope has led us to understanding our genealogical thread as African people, and in our case, the people from the Western !Xamka (Cape).”

Bass player Charlton Daniels said it was an exciting time for the band.

“It took us a while to get here. As a band we thought, how could we represent our country and our culture through music. Our music is focused on Cape Ghoema style but referred to as Nama Jazz, where we fuse indigenous sounds and instruments with contemporary sounds.”

TopDog SA were established six years ago and have already made a name for themselves as one of South Africa’s premier jazz bands, having performed with local and international legends such as Jonathan Butler, Karin White, All 4 One and Tevin Campbell, among others.

Hoffmeester said they had enjoyed more support, since deciding to ditch the album covers and focus on their own musical style.

“We first dug into our roots first and eventually came up with a ‘breyani’, mixing everything. We found that people actually really loved it and our following has grown tremendously.”

The band is composed of Prins on saxophone, Lombard on keyboard, Hoffmeester on drums, Daniels on bass and Mark Williams on lead guitar.