Video: Gershwin’s “Summertime” – “Shozaloza African Voices”
Bukelwa Velem ,Babongile Manga, Miranda Tini, Lusindiso Dubula and Lindile Kula Jr
and Jazz Band: Albert Combrink (Piano & Musical Director), Darryl Andrews (Bass), Alvyn Dyers (Guitar), Ivan Bell (Drums).
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Read more about the original show here.
See photos from the shows here.
Live Amateur footage from the Oudelibertas Amphitheater Show, Stellenbosch, South Africa, February 2014
Members of “Shozaloza African Voices” have taken part in Cape Town Opera productions as soloists and chorus members. Their experience with Jazz influenced works such as Scott Joplin’s Treemonisha, Jerome Kern’s Showboat, Kurt Weil’s Lost in the Stars and Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess make them ideal interpreters of this work flowing between jazz and classical operatic genres.
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More about Gershwin’s song “Summertime”:
An Opera Aria that became a Jazz Standard, Gershwin’s “Summertime”has gained international fame as one of the most recorded songs of all time, with almost 35 ooo known recordings. Gershwin began composing the song/opera aria, for inclusion in his opera Porgy and Bess(America’s first serious “Jazz-Opera” after Scott Joplin’s Treemonisha” ) in December 1933. He attempted to create his own spiritual in the style of the African American folk music of the period.
Two main sources of inspiration are usually quoted about this song:
1) The Book by DuBose Heyward had been presented as a play, and the spiritual “Sometimes I feel, like a motherless child”) was sung at the end. [Rosenberg, Deena (1991). Fascinating Rhythm: The Collaboration of George and Ira Gershwin. Penguin Books USA. ISBN 0-525-93356-5., p. 281] The opening intervals of “Summertime” do contain a melodic cell that reminds one of the spiritual.
2) The Ukrainian-Canadian composer and singer Alexis Kochan has suggested that some part of Gershwin’s inspiration may have come from having heard the Ukrainian lullaby, Oi Khodyt Son Kolo Vikon (A Dream Passes By The Windows) at a New York City performance by Oleksander Koshetz‘s Ukrainian National Chorus in 1929 (or 1926). [Helen Smindak, DATELINE NEW YORK: Kochan and Kytasty delve deeply into musical past, The Ukrainian Weekly, 24 May 1998]
Gershwin had completed setting DuBose Heyward’s poem to music by February 1934, and spent the next 20 months completing and orchestrating the score of the opera. [Howard Pollack, George Gershwin: his life and work, University of California Press, 2006, p.589]
The song is sung multiple times throughout Porgy and Bess, first by Clara in Act I as a lullaby and soon after as counterpoint to the craps game scene, in Act II in a reprise by Clara, and in Act III by Bess, singing to Clara’s baby. It was recorded for the first time by Abbie Mitchell on 19 July 1935, with George Gershwin playing the piano and conducting the orchestra (on: George Gershwin Conducts Excerpts from Porgy & Bess, Mark 56 667).