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Central Libraries of City of Cape Town launches Oral History Project

Cape Town: City of Cape Town’s Central Library launched the Oral History Project on Tuesday, May 07, 2024 and acclaimed the local musician Tina Schouw and Jazz pianist & educator Andrew Liley, showcasing their performances at the event.

Reportedly, Luke Townsend – the professional officer for the Music Services in the Library and Information Services and a professional musician in his own right was presented with a task by running an oral history project on local musicians, back in 2020.

As per the sources, Townsend has now completed the podcast videos over the past four years, on the lives and careers of the important Cape Town musicians involving mainly the Cape jazz pianist and educator – George Werner; Afro-jazz bass player – Wakhile Xhalisa; Jazz pianist, composer and educator – Andrew Lilley and singer-songwriter, composer and guitarist – Tina Schouw.

Photograph from the launch event of Oral History Project
Photograph from the launch event of Oral History Project

Moreover, the event held was majorly focused on the two most recent projects which focused Lilley and Schouw. All the podcasts are now easily available on YouTube and are linked to the Online Public Access Catalog, for easy access of public members. It can also be accessed on the official website of Oral History.

During her struggle years, musician Schouw came to the fore as a protest singer, performing at many political rallies as well as at anti-apartheid events while being on tour overseas. Strongly influenced by folk-rock, Jazz and World Music, Tina continues to be an important performer and recording artist who has released three solo albums of original songs.

Composer and educator Andrew Lilley has taught Jazz Studies at the College of Music, UCT since the early 1990s and has performed extensively in South Africa and overseas. Being a superb pianist, Lilley is currently the director of the College and continues to perform and record music by releasing two albums of original compositions. Highlighting, the most recent ones, which is a selection of solo piano pieces and improvisations.

Photograph from the launch event of Oral History Project
Photograph from the launch event of Oral History Project

Considering this, Member of the Mayoral Committee for Community Services and Health Councillor – Patricia van der Ross said that the idea behind this project was to conduct and record interviews with the renowned musicians from Cape Town and from those recordings that create video podcasts which might add value to the library service and also fill in some of the gaps of knowledge about the history of music in Cape Town.

Councillor Van der Ross further stated that the resulting videos are not only build onto the wealth of available library services but also assist in preserving important aspects of the cultural history of Cape Town.

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