Homage to Nelson Mandela: Ernest Dawkins’ Memory in the Center, an Afro Jazz Opera
The sounds and images of American jazz musicians from the U.S. were an important influence on the development of political discourse of resistance in apartheid South Africa. As American jazz continually refreshes ties to its African American roots by its ever-present spirit of the blues, so South African jazz draws strength from its roots. This project reflects the determination and spirit that energized the South African freedom movement led by Nelson Mandela by foregrounding the influential women in Mandela’s life – Winnie Mandela and Graça Machel – through the powerful voice of Dee Alexander. Bringing together musicians from Chicago, South Africa and London, the ensemble will represent their interconnected histories and mutual influences.