ARTE VIVA MUSIC  |  Mandla Mlangeni


Image: Alexia Webster


with the Tune Recreation Committee
& the Amandla Freedom Ensemble 

South Africa  |  Jazz / SA Jazz / World / Experimental


Trumpet-player, composer and bandleader of exceptional originality and craft, Mandla Mlangeni has demonstrated his talent on many a local and international stage.  He was recognised in 2019 as the Standard Bank Young Artist of the Year for Jazz, one of SA’s highest accolades.


Mlangeni leads various creative and critically acclaimed projects. The Tune Recreation Committee made their debit appearance at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival and then had their album 'Voices of Our Vision' listed as on the New York Times’ Best Albums for 2017.  The Amandla Freedom Ensemble has released two albums including the SAMA nominated ‘Bhekisizwe’, named after Mlangeni's activist and lawyer father who was assassinated by apartheid forces. Mlangeni also leads the Swiss-based Birdsong Ensemble, and has played or collaborated with legends such as David Murray (US), Evan Parker (UK), Feya Faku, Hugh Masekela and Shabaka Hutchings (UK).


Many of Mlangeni’s compositions are rooted deeply in a consciousness of social discourse, a sense of pride and a celebration of being black, being African. On stage though, Mlangeni has a vibrant energy, an infectious smile and an irrepressible sense of fun that has the audience with him from the first to the last note.  His trumpet playing stretches from the wistful melancholia of rainy day jazz, through to foot tapping, hip-swinging tunes that evoke the best of South African jazz, and onto musical experimentations that add dashes of influence from Balkan and Electro to Free Jazz.



"His trumpet playing reeks of the emotions ... By the end of the first piece, the crowd is sent into a delirium for the rest of the gig"
Niren Tolsi, Mail & Guardian


  • Oratorio Of A Forgotten Youth' - 2022 / Recipient of the National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences Working Groups Grant for an original production

  • Visiting Researcher - WITS University - 2022

  • Standard Bank Young Artist for Jazz - 2019

  • Safaricom Festival, Kenya - 2019

  • TRC Tour of the IGODA Festival
    Circuit - 2019 

  • World Economic Forum Performance, Cape Town - 2019

  • Cape Town International Jazz Festival - 2017, 2018 & 2019

  • UWC Fellowship at the Centre for Humanities Research - 2019

  • OneBeat Fellow - 2017


  • The Mill - various performances in Switzerland, Mozambique &
    eSwatini - 2019

  • Safaricom Festival, Kenya - 2019

  • TRC Tour of the IGODA Festival
    Circuit - 2019

  • (Bushfire Festival - eSwatini, SAKIFO - Reúnion, Bassline Festival - SA)

  • TRC at Sauti za Busara Festival, Zanzibar - 2019

  • The Netherlands - tour with Paul van Kemenade - 2019

  • Various performances as part of Cape Town Opera's production of Porgy & Bess - 2009 - 2014


  • Amandla Freedom Ensemble: sextet

  • Tune Recreation Committee: quintet


Amandla Freedom Ensemble: 

  • Mandla Mlangeni - Trumpet

  • Muhammad Dawjee - Tenor Sax

  • Sanele Pakhathi - Piano

  • Ariel Zamonsky - Bass

  • Stanley Matlou - Drums


Tune Recreation Committee:

  • Mandla Mlangeni - Trumpet

  • Afrika Mkhize - Piano

  • Reza Khota - Guitar

  • Nic Williams - Bass

  • Damian Kamineth - Drums