We chat to Tribes’ Got Soul organiser about creating a soulful evening in an intimate setting featuring megaweight musicians El Trio
Intimate gigs are quite a rarity in South Africa, generally because of the demand there is to see the artist, so often booking agents will organise bigger events to cater to all. Tribes Got Soul is catering two smaller events in a beautiful sit down venue. Tell us about your approach to these kind of gigs and why intimacy plays a role in their impact.
I agree that intimacy is a rarity, but intimate shows tend to be the most memorable from the audience perspective – It’s where the magic really happens, when you feel like someone is singing just for you. We also want the audience to meet one another, talk to the artists make new friends and be exposed to new things. An intimate setting is crucial for this to be possible.
El Trio have a diverse grouping of musicians, which have all played with the greats, refining their craft in each project & experience. Can you share the details about their interest in playing for an SA crowd and what they’re looking forward to, as well as the reason Jump chose them to headline the first of these events.
El Trio are the perfect example of what Jump are about. As a team, we travel fairly often to find new music and last year in LA, we were introduced to El Trio from our LA office side. Marco Mendoza, Renato Neto and Joey Heredia are all legends in their own right. Having played with Prince, Thin Lizzy, Dead Daisies, Stevie Wonder, Dianne Reeves and many more between them, we were anxious to see them perform as a trio. All we can say is be prepared to be transported, the trio take the audience on a journey from funk to fusion to jazz, merging their diverse influences and latin flavors. Jump are all about surprising our audiences, and a surprise it will be.
We have a rich lineage of jazz, soul and blues in this country, but musicians from classic generations, as well as contemporary ones are struggling to get booked because there are not enough venues or they are not getting the remuneration they deserve. What’s your take on this?
It really breaks my heart, and I have been personally involved in many industry transformation programs to assist wherever possible in building capacity. We can’t bake cakes if we don’t have kitchens and SA is seriously lacking kitchens to cook all our local talent and prepare it for a global circuit. I do also believe that it’s not someone else’s job to fix. We as industry need to innovate and find spaces to work in. Hence my choice of Gate69, a theatre – perhaps the start of a new venue for music to happen. We need to use whatever resources and spaces available to build a scene we all want to belong to. I see this as an ongoing conversation for industry citizenship. We need to dedicate ourselves as an industry to creating replicable business models and norms beyond our own events that benefit all stakeholders – I could talk about this for days – It’s something I think about constantly.
Jump is generally known to create mass-scale events with lots of sponsorships and brand awareness. This event is quite a shift from the ‘norm’. What inspired the change of pace for Tribe’s got Soul?
Yeah, it is a change of pace. I suppose we wanted to make the shows we wanted to go to. Make events that were from the heart and soul and build something around the good people we have met on all our travels and the wonderful bands that we have been exposed to who are not necessarily commercial, but very very good. Part of being responsible in this industry in my humble opinion, is being loyal to suppliers, artists and doing your best to create win-win outcomes for all – The tribe in some sense is a gift to the city, and a gift to ourselves.
What’s your relationship with soul music. How would you define your connection to the sounds and the narratives behind it?
Soul could mean many things. I suppose we could look at it’s broad definition: “a kind of music incorporating elements of rhythm and blues and gospel music, popularised by American black people. Characterized by an emphasis on vocals and an impassioned improvisatory delivery, it is associated with performers such as Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin, James Brown, and Otis Redding”. But we are looking to broaden the category a little to include jazz and folk, any music with a soulful feeling. This genre specifically speaks to us as a company and we feel like we want to show off all the new artists we are exposed to. Also there is so little soul left in this industry, we need a little bit of healing.
The Brother Moves On and Sannie Fox are strong choices to support a show like this. Were they your first choices or did you have a list of possible support acts for the debut event? How do you think their music and performances will add to the experience?
Both of them to me embody the essence of soul – despite how they may brand themselves. To me to make ‘soul music’ is to deliver a strong powerful narrative strait to the hearts of your audience in an authentic and sincere manner, and both these acts have soul for days. They are also very different in style – I think I like the idea that three completely different bands can have a golden thread that the audience will discover as the evening progresses.
This debut event will take place at Gate69 on the 24th and 25th of February. Get tickets for Tribes’ Got Soul here: https://www.tribesgotsoul.com