WBGO Blog
  • WBGO in South Africa 7: Mandela's Garden

    April 3, 2015. Posted by Rhonda Hamilton.

    Cape Town, South Africa’s “Mother City,” is a photographer’s paradise.

    It’s breathtakingly beautiful – from the top of Table Mountain, you can see miles of white sandy beaches that rim the coastline, and crystal clear ocean, in every shade of blue.

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    More spectacular vistas can be seen from the Upper Lighthouse at the Cape Of Good Hope.

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    Looking out from Table Mountain, you see a small land mass in the ocean.

    That’s Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela and hundreds of other political prisoners were incarcerated under Apartheid.

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    I always assumed the island was named after a person, but “Robben” is the Dutch word for seal. Today, it's home to over 20 species of mammals and is a bird sanctuary with a large African penguin population.

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    We were privileged to have a former inmate, Jama Mbatyoti, as one of our guides.

    He was arrested in 1976 for planning a march in his hometown of Port Elizabeth, and was confined for five years.

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    You could hear the pain in his words, and see it permanently etched in his face, as he spoke of the indignities he and his fellow prisoners suffered.

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    Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for twenty-seven years. He spent eighteen on Robben Island.

    Mandela’s cell was in section B, where the leaders of political organizations were held, in isolation from the rest of the prison community.

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    Mr. Mbatyoti told us that Mandela liked to garden, and worked this small patch of land whenever he had the opportunity.

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  • WBGO In South Africa 6: Final Thoughts

    April 2, 2015. Posted by Rhonda Hamilton.

    Add new comment | Filed under: Jazz Alive

    When we first arrived in South Africa, everyone in our WBGO group was excited – but I don’t know if we realized that what awaited us was a profound and potentially life-changing experience.

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    Our visit to the Lesedi Cultural Village was a great introduction -  a lighthearted and entertaining historical perspective on traits and traditions of the region’s tribes or ethnic groups.

    As we took in the sights, sounds and tastes of Soweto, we were able to get some sense of the challenges of everyday life in the present time.

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    The Apartheid Museum took us on an emotional roller coaster - down into the depths of man’s inhumanity to man, and back up again, to see how the spirit of one man – Nelson Mandela – could illuminate that darkness, and bring people into the light of a “Rainbow Nation.”

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    South Africa’s beautiful landscape contains vast mineral resources, which has created enormous wealth for some and unimaginable poverty and misery for others.

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    On the bus ride to the Pilanesburg Game Reserve, we passed near some of the world’s largest platinum mines.

    What astounds me is that miners must travel two hours down into the mines to begin their work. After their long shift, it’s another two hours back up to the surface.

    Photo by Steve Evans
    Photo by Steve Evans

    Getting up close and personal with South Africa’s wildlife was another highlight of our trip. It’s an unforgettable thrill to see these beautiful creatures roaming free, right in front of you.

    In some cases, like this wildebeest, beautiful may not be the most appropriate word.

    Our safari guide told us the story that after God created all the animals, he had some spare parts – so he gave the wildebeest the tail of a horse, the horns of a cow and the beard of a goat!

  • WBGO JAM Live 2015: Rutgers University Jazz Ensemble I

    March 31, 2015. Posted by Tim Wilkins.

    The Rutgers University Jazz Ensemble I performs live at WBGO for Jazz Appreciation Month with vocalist Champian Fulton. Click below to hear this concert, and tune in to 88.3 FM to hear this group featured on air during the first week of April. A full set list is below.

    Every week in April, WBGO-FM will showcase a different student ensemble with vocalists who performed live in our studios for Jazz Appreciation Month. All of these full sets will be available online. Enjoy!

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    The Rutgers University Jazz Ensemble I

    live at WBGO 3/6/15

    Conrad Herwig, director

    "Deed I Do" (by Fred Rose with lyrics by Walter Hirsch, arranged by Ernie Wilkins)

    "Let’s Do It" (by Cole Porter)

    "Easy Living" (by Ranger & Robin, arranged by Marc Stasio)

    "The Song Is You" (by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II, arranged by Gerald Wilson)

    "They Didn’t Believe Me" (by Jerome Kern and Herbert Reynolds, arranged by Dave Burger)

    Vocals on all songs by Champian Fulton

    Jimmy Merchant, Sax-Alto
    Oliver Santana Rivera, Sax-Alto
    Sam Tobias, Sax-Bari
    Abraham Burton, Sax-Tenor
    John Donathan, Sax-Tenor

    Guest sax on “The Song Is You” and “They Didn’t Believe Me” by Stephen Fulton

    Gregory DeAngelis, Trombone
    Matthew Echols, Trombone
    Timothy Rechen, Trombone
    Ben Weisiger, Trombone

    Devenny Bennett, Trumpet
    Shawn Edmonds, Trumpet
    Anthony Fazio, Trumpet
    Yi-JIUN Kao, Trumpet
    Joshua Orr, Trumpet

    John Morrison, Guitar
    John Nunez, Guitar
    Michael Bernabe, Piano
    Luciano Minetti, Piano

    Ross Garlow, Bass
    Christopher Smith, Bass
    Kyle Duppstadt, Drums
    Daniel Giannone, Drums