The Showroom

Introducing Composer Siya Makuzeni

Meet IN·FLO·RES·CENCE Composer: South African Trombonist, Vocalist, Lyricist & Songwriter Siya Makuzeni!

Performance | Interview | Photography

Siya's Bandcamp


For IN·FLO·RES·CENCE Siya Makuzeni was commissioned by Reece Ewing to create a composition for solo piano around 1 minute in length responding to the changes to daily life during the global coronavirus outbreak. As part of the platform hosted by The Showroom, this individual piece and 9 others will all be interpreted and performed by the project’s first Artist-in-Residence, Pianist Elio Villafranca, throughout the duration of the project.

Image: Siya Makuzeni. Photo: Olafemi Chauke


In the below intimate conversation with Kevin Le Gendre (Broadcaster and Writer of Don't Stop the Carnival: Black British Music, 2019), Siya discusses her musical community in Johannesburg with fellow IN·FLO·RES·CENCE composers Thandi Ntuli and Bokani Dyer ; her personal musical trajectory in the South African jazz landscape; the spiritual and political agency of jazz as a radical healing force; the changing speed and rhythm of daily life since the pandemic; what the concept of inflorescence means to her; navigating how to write for solo piano as a trombonist and orchestral composer; and the meanings behind her energetic composition Rise, reflecting on society, rising above fear, self-awareness, and resilience.

Rise Score © Siya Makuzeni, 2020.


Siya's Composition Notes:

Tempo = 95bpm not 185 as on the score.

Dynamics are not written but the piece has a confident forte feel,

B section mf with a gradual crescendo over the whole section.

Solo section open times on C. Can start very loose until gradually building up the scored rhythm.

There is a small variation on the Coda, feel free to use it.

‘I have been quite interested in photo art for some time now and this is one of my outlets of expression closest to my heart. I made this collection after a brief visit to my home province (state) recently last year which got me thinking about how we define our roots and our sense of belonging in this world. How the space is both physically and spiritually my landmark as well as a source of inspiration for all I dream to be and envision to be on my current journey of discovery. I am aware that to truly know who you are (becoming) one needs to understand where they come from. There is a certain unspoken peace when I am in those lands, one that allows me to tap into the spiritual energy of those who came before me, my guides, my ancestors, and go forth into the unknown with an unshakable truth and determination.’ – Siya Makuzeni

'To rise above all obstacles I may face and trust in my inner voice no matter how warped and confusing the outside world may be. This has been an ongoing theme in my life, especially during this period we are facing now.’ – Siya Makuzeni

All images courtesy of: Siya Makuzeni

Siya Makuzeni is a professional South African trombone player, vocalist, lyricist and songwriter known for her extensive musical range, vocal dexterity, experimental creativity, and passion for symbiotic cross-genre influences. She is a Johnnie Walker brand ambassador 2019, Standard Bank Young Artist for Jazz 2016 recipient, and band leader of rock band IppYFuzE and Siya Makuzeni Sextet, who fuse traditional jazz instrumentation with modern electronic elements and harmonised vocal effects.

Makuzeni picked up the trombone in 1997 while attending Stirling High School in East London, South Africa and studied BMus/BMusJazz at Rhodes University & the Pretoria Technikon Music School. She has since toured, performed around the globe, and collaborates in special projects such as contributing as co-composer and lyric interpreter for the soundtrack of Forse Dio e Malato (Maybe God is Ill) and performing with William Kentridge and Phillip Miller in Dancing with Dada - featuring Dada Masilo (2011). When not performing live Makuzeni is a music producer, session musician, arranger, songwriter, and voice-over artist. Her most recent vocal features are on Phillip Noyce-directed "Roots" and "Book Of Negroes" TV adapted productions, and her composition features include being Additional Music Producer for Mzansi Magic’s “The Road" drama series, which was aired in 2015

Siya Makuzeni has regularly collaborated with A-list South African musicians such as Themba Mkhize, Afrika Mkhize, Feya Faku, Andile Yenana, Khaya Mahlangu, Abigail Khubeka, Sibongile Khumalo,as well as featuring in Grammy award artists David Murray, Jacky Terrasson and Branford Marsalis' performances in 2016-2017. When not performing live, Makuzeni has lent her songwriting skills to a few albums by various artists , including Mahube's "Zenzele" Language 12 albums "Language 12" and "Maji Maji - in the land of Milk & Honey" , Mpemba Effect's "Ambient Afrique" and Rudeboy Paul's "Azanian Pulse Vol.2" ; as well as vocal features in Tlale Makhene's "The Ascension of Enlightenment", Afrotraction's "Soulfully Yours", Jack Hammer's “The Pilgrim” and Frank Opperman's "Let's Be Frank". She's also released her own records; "Out Of This World" as Siya Makuzeni Sextet (feat. Justin Falkner, UKVibe 5/5 Album review) and "Amaxhentsa" as IppYFuzE. Other live collaborations include Lionel Loueke (NAF 2015), Mac McKenzie & The Goema Captains, Tumi Molekane,and Themba Mkhize & SWR Big Band (Germany).


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  1. Kernodle2018headshot
    Event In conversation: Dr. Tammy Kernodle with Elaine Mitchener, Siya Makuzeni & Thandi Ntuli

  2. 7_ythlaf_single-channel_video_17mins_58secs_loop
    Event In conversation: Phoebe Boswell, Laura Lima, Nduduzo Makhathini & Elvira Dyangani Ose

  3. Sweet_tooth_copy
    Event In conversation: Elaine Mitchener, Kodwo Eshun, Temi Odumosu & Elvira Dyangani Ose

  4. Cromwell-jazz12
    Event Introducing Composer Leyanis Valdés Reyes

  5. Gps_2020-july-22_tiwani-35_copy
    Event In conversation: Andrew Pierre Hart, Charmaine Watkiss, Nduduzo Makhathini & Katherine Finerty

  6. Copy_of_lcp_foto_press_kit_3_(1)
    Event Introducing Luis Carlos Pérez

  7. Portrait_nasreen-mohamedi_credit-photo-richard-bartholemew_aware_women-artists_artistes-femmes
    Event In conversation: Vijay Iyer, Andrea Giunta, Brinda Kumar & Kevin LeGendre

  8. Dsc_9128
    Event Introducing Nduduzo Makhathini

  9. J.d._allen._photo_courtesy_of_the_artist_(2)
    Event Introducing J.D. Allen

  10. Elio_villafranca__2018._photo__jerry_lacay._courtesy_of_the_artist_and_the_showroom__london_2
    Event Introducing Artist-in-Residence Elio Villafranca

  11. Thandi_ntuli_portraits10_
    Event Introducing Composer Thandi Ntuli

  12. Corey_mwamba._courtesy_of_the_artist
    Event Introducing Composer Corey Mwamba