Lwanda Gogwana premieres his upcoming album, Songbook Chapter 2

What a marvel it must be to celebrate your birthday doing what you love. This is an experience Lwanda Gogwana knows all too well, as he celebrated his birthday living his dream. The seasoned jazz trumpeter recently celebrated his birthday by previewing his upcoming album Songbook Chapter 2 at Leano Restaurant.

After cementing his position in the industry with Songbook Chapter 1, Lwanda Gogwana is back to showcase his creativity, growth and interpretation of the life with Songbook Chapter 2. Although he has maintained his signature of integrating Xhosa sounds with modern jazz elements, he has expanded his range by including indigenous harmonics from around the African continent.

During the set Gogwana spoke of a time where he thought the music in his head would never see the light of day as he had envisioned, and that’s when he composed the song music in my head. As one listens to Gogwana play, he sounds like he was born with a trumpet in his hand. It’s hard to imagine a time where he struggled with the instrument but it goes to show that every overnight success is layered with years of diligence and perseverance. Having a support system is one element that’s often underrated but Gogwana highlighted its importance with a song dedicated to his mentor, featuring veteran saxophonist Khaya Mahlangu. The song sounds like a safe space, a space where you can be authentically yourself and be loved and accepted all the same. It is a sonic representation of what Supreme Love should feel like.

Gogwana did not hold back on the features as he brought some of South Africa’s finest vocalists on stage. Siya Makhuzeni transported the audience to worlds unknown yet familar with her stupendous vocal range, while Titi Luzipo had the audience chanting as she paid tribute to mam’ Sibongile Khumalo; before The SN Project serenaded the audience with his soothing tone.

While some of us dance vigorously in our seats, music painter Nico Phooko lets the paint brush do the dancing. What came in as a blank canvas, left the stage as a beautiful work of art inspired by the music and energy of the night.

The composer closed off the show with Sidikiwe featuring baritone king ,Dumza Maswana, on vocals and the legendary McCoy Mrubata on saxophone. The song is a jazz protest, the trumpeter wrote in solidarity with students during the #FeesMustFall uprising. Sidikiwe loosely translated means we are exasperated and the truth is between the high cost of living and loadshedding, we have a lot to feel exasperated about. But we are also a resilient people and I hope the unity and power we feel in music can be channeled into our every day lives. That way we will be able to become the change we yearn to see.

Songbook Chapter 2 is set to be released in November 2022.

[All images captured by Uno Ace]