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Bebop Spoken There

John McDonough (reviewing Bright Red Dog’s In Vivo): “When you improvise on nothing, that’s what you get”. - DownBeat August 2021

The Things They Say!

Hudson Music: Lance's "Bebop Spoken Here" is one of the heaviest and most influential jazz blogs in the UK.

Rupert Burley (Dynamic Agency): "BSH just goes from strength to strength".

'606' Club: "A toast to Lance Liddle of the terrific jazz blog 'Bebop Spoken Here'"

The Strictly Smokin' Big Band included Be Bop Spoken Here (sic) in their 5 Favourite Jazz Blogs.

Postage

13,508 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 13 years ago. 926 of them this year alone and, so far, 90 this month (July 27).

From This Moment On

Thu 29: Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Holystone North Tyneside. 1:00pm.

Thu 29: Maine Street Jazzmen @ Sunniside Social Club, Gateshead. 8:30pm.

Sat 31: Lindsay Hannon @ Prohibition Bar, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Lindsay previews new, original material.

Sat 31: jakTar + Johnny Richards @ Lit & Phil, Newcastle. 8:00pm. JNE promotion.

August

Sun 01: Vieux Carre Hot 4 @ Spanish City, Whitley Bay. 12 noon.

Sun 01: Jeffrey Hewer Quartet @ The Globe, Newcastle. 8:00pm. Leeds College of Music graduate guitarist (Masters, Jazz Performance & Composition).

Friday, September 15, 2017

Theatre Review: The Suitcase @ Northern Stage - September 14

(Review by Russell)
Timi and Namhla gather up their few possessions and step off a train. Wide-eyed, a new chapter in their lives is about to begin, village life behind them, life in the big city is their future. Centre stage a simple raised platform functions as a train, later as the Ngobese’s home. Looking for work day after day, Timi strides the stage, knocking on countless doors, to no avail. Pregnant Namla occupies the platform – the couple’s humble abode. Pitso, our storyteller, steps forward, developing the narrative as the on-stage musicians frame the unfolding drama.
The Suitcase is James Ngcobo’s adaptation of a short story written by Es’kia Mphahele. Apartheid South Africa in the fifties, unjust laws, pass books, daily discrimination, yet the story is one of great humour and, initially, hope. Timi, played by Siyabonga Caswell Thwala, is the butt of jokes and the victim of apartheid's ugly ideology. A character wholly good, the audience knows of Timi’s one and only lapse in judgement, yet few would consider criticising his actions. All the characters in the play are likeable sorts, who, to all intents and purposes, are Timi.
The suitcase and its unknown contents are to have a profound affect on the lives of the Ngobeses. The mood changes, Timi seeks to explain himself to an authoritarian regime. The parallels with the present day – name your regime – are stark. The Suitcase is a story of, and for, our times.
  
The production’s three on-stage singers remained seated for the majority of the one hour thirty-five minutes’ performance, rising occasionally to deliver intense gospel-inspired vocals. In the shadows, seated, left handed guitarist Bkekisia Sifiso Makhosonke Khoza proved to be a master musician. A former pupil of Jackie McLean at the University of Hartford, Connecticut, Bheki went on to perform at many of NYC’s most prestigious jazz clubs including the Blue Note and Smalls. Township jazz, a jazz standard, and the blues were required of Bheki at Northern Stage…an absolute joy to listen to.  
Hugh Masekela* wrote the music for James Ngcobo’s 2012 Soweto Theatre production and to hear it performed in Newcastle made this a memorable occasion.           

The Suitcase continues at Northern Stage until Saturday 16th. For tickets telephone the box office: 0191 230 5151 or visit www.northernstage.co.uk
Russell.                                             
Director: Sibongeleni James Ngcobo (The Market Theatre, Johannesburg)
Composer: Hugh Masekela
Cast: Siyabonga Caswell Thwala Timi Ngobese, Masasa Lindiwe Mbangeni Namhla Ngobese, Molatlhegi Desmond Dube Mlotshwa/Storyteller, Nhlanhla John Lata Pitso/Storyteller
Music & vocals: Guguletthu Shezi (singer), Penelope Nomfundo Sambo (singer), Nokukhaya Gugulethu Dlamini (singer), Bhekisia Sifiso Makhosonke Khoza (guitarist)

* Hugh Masekela is to release a three CD set Sixty/Black to  the Future/Notes of Life on Retroworld

Float 6305 on November 3rd. 

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