the forefront of the African jazz music scene is South African
born trumpeter and composer Claude Deppa. He can turn his hand
to Afro-jazz, soul, funk, Afro-Cuban and even chamber music
as well as many sub-genres.
worked with many bands and been on stage with top stars like
Miriam Makeba, Manu Dibango, Tony
Allen and Andy Sheppard in Britain (where he is presently
based), Europe and also more widely internationally. He has
a very hectic schedule, for example in the midst of the Grand
Union Orchestra's 2002 tour (see below) he was off to Bratislava!
also developed his own three special projects and these are
African Jazz Explosion, Horns Unlimited and Five Funky Fellas.
Each of these bands are often on stage at top venues including
London's South Bank. Five Funky Fellas were on the Africa stage
at the BBC Music Live festival over the Golden Jubilee Celebrations
at London's Hyde Park in summer 2002 (see photo).
of his experiences growing up in South Africa and then coming
to Britain in 1974 is printed in the book 'Celebrating Sanctuary',
published in 2002. He says his family were all very musical
and at first he learnt to play drums. At secondary school in
London he decided the trumpet would be his main instrument,
with it's loud punchy sound. Claude attended a music school
for a few months but found it didn't suit the type of jazz he
wanted to play. He quit and after that continued receiving
in bands. Claude is happy with
the opportunities living in Europe gives him.
the Slide/John Bates
his South African background he has
the vocals and harmonies while he has got the jazz improvising
skills from his time in Europe. Another
very vibrant project that Claude is a part of is the Grand Union
Orchestra. It produces a variety of new and exciting cross-cultural
shows and projects such as 'Where the Rivers Meet' with over
200 taking part, and their current presentation, 'The Call of
Paradise'. Since 2004 Claude
has led the brass section of Kinetica Bloco, a project which
celebrates the music of the African Diaspora with themed summer
schools and performances, for example 'Road to Freedom'.
Look out for
Claude's CD, Toi-Toi (2003): it's a fantastic blend
of funky and more mellow tracks, with some interesting printed
notes by Claude himself. He particiapted in London's big African
Music Festival in May 2004. Claude's energy for his music certainly
seems to know no bounds!