Review

2015 · A short review:
The LIVE Under Joburg Skies Concert series has been successfully launched in 2015 on the new roof-top venue The LOFT. Through kind support by the Department of Arts and Culture and collaboration with WITS University and Leipzig University of Sociel Sciences, Under Joburg Skies has been able to realize the first live shows, featuring a great variety of domestic and international artists on stage. They presented to a selected audience some of the core elements of the Under Joburg Skies initiative, which are
· creating awareness of South African heritage,
· encouraging and supporting young talent,
· collaborating with international artists and
· providing for workshops and programmes.

Compiled in a two-hour musical performance high above the rooftops of Lorentzville, some 100 representatives from governmental institutions, international organizations and corporate could experience the results of what more than 30 artists have been developing under the guidance of the Under Joburg Skies team. Through this, the initiative has already reached out to a variety of persons and institutions and gained overwhelming response.
Featured artists were from Johannesburg, Soweto and other parts of the country, from Ghana and Senegal and – conducting a workshop – a jazz singer from Europe. With her Power of Voice concept, within a few days Sonja Kandels formed a choir of young talents and presented a mix of European jazz and South and West African styles. During the rehearsals and workshops, elder and experienced musicians worked closely together with the young talents while Sonja Kandels encouraged to look beyond borders, mix styles and improvise. Zwai Bala and Andreas Cohrs acted as musical directors.
Both the musical performance and action behind the scenes were professionally filmed and edited by a partnering leading post-production studio.
For the production, the office team was enlarged by more than 30 hired people taking care of admnistrative and organizational aspects but also building aspects (construction and design), service, security and catering.

Under Joburg Skies currently offers two finished music films (links to films see p.19):
1.LIVE ·∙ Under Joburg Skies concert 1
presenting the aspects of intercultural exchange, workshops and supporting young talent, this film features European jazz singer Sonja Kandels and Band, West-African drummers and the Power of Voice Choir, a workshop choir of 8 singers from Johannesburg and Soweto.
2.LIVE ·∙ Under Joburg Skies concert 2
presenting the aspects of South African Heritage and collaboration between experienced musicians and young talents, the second concert features Johannesburg musicians and young singers and the vocal group Africappella.

  • What the project has already achieved:
    kick off event with more than 30 artists presenting the initiative to some 100 representatives from government, city, national and international organizations,
  • two 45-minute live music videos featuring cross cultural world class performances,
  • a 6-minute  documentary film of the Under Joburg Skies artists’ work behind the scenes,
  • a group of seven development artists that keep working together since they met for the intercultural exchange workshop.
  • an artists mentorship between guitar icon Themba Mokoena and young singer Khwezi Ndlela,
  • an association and master-class agreement with WITS School of Arts,
  • an association and master-class agreement with Leipzig University for architecture & social sciences,
  • learnerships from European Cultural Organisations,
  • co-operations and ongoing meetings with key local players in Lorentzville
  • plans with neighbors to turn the 2 by 12 blocks of Lorentzville into a showcase of Street Art,
  • opening of a new rehearsal and music video studio,
  • essential infrastructure upgrades and repairs to the project building
  • Under Joburg Skies has been cited as an example of social cohesion and anti-xenophobia.

Looking forward:
Under Joburg Skies takes a unique place not only in the precinct of Lorentzville, but also in Johannesburg with regards to the combination of creating a new live music venue and creating a platform for young artists by providing for tools, know-how and networking opportunities. Thanks to the prominent location and the roof-top venue with spectacular views to downtown, the ridges and Bez Valley, Under Joburg Skies will soon be on the tourist map for performances and a major address for the international entertainment scene, talent scouts and producers. This in return is one of the key networking opportunities for our domestic artists. For workshops, seminars and studio productions we will continue to invite more global players, teachers with an international background and artists from all over the world who are interested in intercultural collaboration.

Cooperation with governmental/municipal departments:
Based on our project targets, we are addressing not only the arts and culture sector but also city and community development, human development and tourism in order to exchange strategies for the growth and development of the cultural scene, to realize the potential to create an export market and employment and to further uplift the community.