The Liberation Project is a unique collaboration by a group of seasoned musicians from South Africa, Italy, and Cuba who have come together to celebrate, through song, liberation struggles from various parts of the world.
With the main focus on the reimagining of protest music from Cuba, Italy, and South Africa, the concert also coincides with the launch of an international collaborative album Songs That Made Us Free produced by Neill Solomon, Dan Chiorboli, and guitarist Phil Manzanera of Roxy Music fame.
The Liberation Concert will be held at the Joburg Theatre on the Mandela Stage on 25 May 2018 and will for the first time see a fully fledged South African cultural production involve artists from across the world in a once-off and unique performance, curated especially for Africa Month.
The lineup of artists include guitarist and the album’s co-producer Phil Manzanera of Roxy Music and Pink Floyd fame, Grammy award-winning Juan de Marcos - architect of the Buena Vista Social Club, Mamelodi’s ‘The Voice’ Vusi Mahlasela, master kora player N’Faly Kouyate, Italian jazz singer Rossella Graziani, vocalist and percussionist Cyril Neville from New Orleans’ esteemed Neville Brothers, rapper Stilo Magolide alongside composer Ernie Smith, singer Pu2ma Tiso and the Sama nominated jazz vocalist Zoe Modiga.
Tickets for this once-off the show at The Johannesburg Theatre cost R150 and can be booked on Webtickets or directly at the Joburg Theatre (011 877 6875 or 0860 670 670).
I spoke to Dan Chiorboli, one of the visionary founders of the group who also plays percussion in the Liberation band, last week.
What does music mean to you?
Music encompasses everything that motivates the creative expression in my life. Music has a constant sense of exploration. There is so much knowledge to be derived from the history and different musical styles from around the world – and ultimately I sincerely hope that it has a bearing on becoming a better and more sensitive human being.
What is the most enjoyable aspect of your work?
The reward of seeing an idea come to life and be accepted as something special. From a playing perspective, the feeling that you are getting close to playing your parts as you believe they should be played is a fantastic feeling.
What drives you: ego or humility?
I would like to say humility, but the irony is that to truly encompass humility in your life you have to come to terms with your ego and accept that it needs to be controlled and that it has its own place in your drive and passion.
Any funny moments on stage?
When performing in Sounds of Brazil at the Cellar in Durban’s Playhouse, I hit my head on the low beams that were a feature of the venue as I made my grand entrance and fell on the table in front of the stage and was almost knocked out cold.
It’s your round what are you drinking?
Jack Daniels and Grappa.
Dream gig to do?
Workers Day Concert in Rome on 1 May to an audience of 300,000; hopefully about to come true in 2019.
What makes you stand out?
Desire, passion, and individuality hopefully.
If you were not a musician, what would you do?
I was in the corporate world for a long time which was unfulfilling, although if I had a choice I certainly wouldn’t go back to that. Probably a farmer or a psychiatrist.
What song changed your life?
James Brown – Please Please Me; I heard this on LM Radio on a Sunday night when I was about 12 years old.
Favourite fashion garment?
Your greatest achievement?
Still to come.
What do you complain about most often?
Flaky and useless people which permeate the music industry – and lack of vision, broadly in the society in which we live.
On stage, I tend to?
Worry too much about the arrangments rather than just relax and let the music flow.
Wishes and dreams for 2018?
To continue pursuing my dreams, both artistically and personally.