Trib­ute paid to the key mas­ter

Weekend Post (South Africa) - - NEWS - Zi­zonke May mayz@ti­soblack­

DOZENS of mu­si­cians gath­ered at a memo­rial on Thurs­day to cel­e­brate the life of Port El­iz­a­beth jazz artist Siya Mde­bele, 36, who has died af­ter a short ill­ness.

Mde­bele, also re­ferred to as Siyakeyz, was one of the orig­i­nal mem­bers of Take Note, a youth band that spe­cialises in con­tem­po­rary afro jazz.

He was ad­mit­ted to Life Mer­can­tile Hos­pi­tal on Fe­bru­ary 8 shortly af­ter per­form­ing at the Transnet Mos­sel Bay Dias and Port Fes­ti­val. He died on Fe­bru­ary 22. At a memo­rial ser­vice at the Port El­iz­a­beth Athenaeum on Thurs­day, Lefa Mosea said his friend would leave a void.

“He was my pro­ducer and pian­ist. All my com­po­si­tions started with him. He had the abil­ity to take the sim­plest idea I had and turn it into a mas­ter­piece. He un­der­stood me.” he said.

Mde­bele had been pas­sion- ate about mu­sic since the age of 12 and re­ceived his first key­board at 15.

He per­formed na­tion­ally and in­ter­na­tion­ally, even along­side the late Hugh Masekela.

For­mer Take Note man­ager Thandile Petshwa said Mde­bele had played the pi­ano with so­phis­ti­ca­tion and af­fec­tion.

“Siya’s pi­ano skills grew from merely try­ing to nav­i­gate chord pro­gres­sions to beau­ti­fully and cleanly ar­tic­u­lat­ing notes.

He grew to be among the best im­pro­vis­ers who could mas­ter­fully change gen­res be­yond jazz in PE.”

Mde­bele’s wife, Unathi , said: “His mu­sic will live in our hearts for­ever. I will make sure his name never fades.”

A fu­neral ser­vice will be held at the Nan­goza Jebe Hall in New Brighton at 10am next Saturday.

MU­SI­CIAN OF NOTE: Siya Mde­bele per­formed widely

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