Buskaid Soweto String Ensemble

Buskaid Soweto String Ensemble in Colombia

September 2011

Twenty eight musicians from South Africa, members of the Buskaid Soweto String Ensemble, created and directed by English violinist Rosemary Nalden, arrive today in Cartagena. These artists will follow a very intense agenda in the city: free concerts, dialogues and exchanges with the inspirational dance school, El Colegio del Cuerpo (The School of the Body).

The group from Soweto will stay in Cartagena until 10th July, thanks to the support and sponsorship of Ivor Ichikowitz, the founder and Executive Chairman of the Paramount Group, and the South African UMOJA Foundation.

Ivor Ichikowitz said: "Rosemary Nalden's decision to support and direct a classical music school for young South Africans from empoverished backgrounds, just six years after the end of the aparteid, is truly inspirational. The Buskaid Soweto String Essemble represents hope for future South African generations and I aim to do everything in my power to support them on their journey."

The Buskaid Soweto String Essemble and El Colegio del Cuerpo are both helping disadvantaged children in Soweto and Cartagena respectively to build a future by training as professional dancers or musicians. The collaboration between the two schools is aimed to promote and celebrate the importance of art and education to open up opportunities for children from disadvantaged communities.

During the trip to Cartagena, the ensemble will meet members of the local community at the Adolfo Mejía Theatre, thanks to the enthusiasm of its director Araceli Morales and the support of Cartagena's Chamber of Commerce. Open rehearsals and lecture demonstrations, talks on contemporary South Africa, meetings with local and national youth orchestras, and a visit to Nelson Mandela Township are also on the agenda.

Araceli Morales commented: "I learned of the existence of this project through the British TV Channel Film & Arts. I must confess that Mark Kidel's documentary on this extraordinary educational and artistic experience in Soweto touched me deeply. The outcome of Rosemary Nalden's efforts is more than surprising, not just because of the cultural or socio-economic background of the children, but most importantly, because of the extraordinary artistic quality of their performances."

The School of the Body has chosen Buskaid Soweto String Ensemble as its gift to Cartagena in the Bicentennial of its Independence and as a symbol of the importance of Art and Education to the community.


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