In South Africa

In Johannesburg, Gilberto Gil works with the MIAGI Youth Orchestra, choirs and famous local artists. They all give a concert in the Market Theater at the end of Gil’s stay.

Sergio Chiavazzoli – guitar
Born in Rio de Janeiro in 1961, Sergio Chiavazzoli is Gilberto’s Gil regular guitar player. In the film, he joins Gil in South Africa for the concert at the Market Theatre. visit website

Paul Hanmer – arrangement
Born in Cape Town in 1961, Paul Hanmer has been playing the piano since he was 9 years old. In 1987, he moved to Johannesburg and formed Unofficial Language with Ian Herman (drummer / percussionist for Tananas) and Peter Sklair (electric bass). Hanmer has recorded with Tananas, Miriam Makeba, Ray Phiri, McCoy Mrubata and Pops Mohamed. In 1997, he released his first solo album, Trains to Taung. His career includes six albums solo. The last one, Accused No 1: Nelson Mandela, which comprises music from the BBC film from which the album takes its title, won a 2006 South African Music Award (SAMAs) for Best Instrumental Jazz Album. He is convinced that music shows the path to reconciliation or is even a way towards creating human relationships free from issues of skin colour. InViramundo, he is the “arranger” in every sense of the word.

Madosini – traditionnal Xhosa instruments and singing
Madosini, “Queen of Xhosa music”, was born in the 20’s in the Eastern Cape province. She is a great musician, composer and story teller, known for playing and making traditional instruments such as the uhadi (berimbau) and mhrubhe musical bows. In Viramundo, she expresses herself mainly through music as she speaks only Xhosa, one of the official languages of South Africa.

Vusi Mahlasela – guitar and singing
Born in Pretoria in 1965, Vusi Mahlasela is one of the greatest living anti-apartheid icons of his country. Always accompanied by his guitar, he has consistently been able to transmit a strong message of hope through his songwriting and committed texts.  Before starting his solo career (author of six albums), he was part of the Miriam Makeba and Hugh Masekala’s groups. Vusi Mahlasela, known as ‘The Voice,’ is both successful nationally and internationally. In Viramundo, he recalls the atrocities of apartheid, but he also shows how to transcend sufferings and the possibility of joy through music. visit website

Peter Sklair – bass
Peter Sklair is a freelance bassist, composer and educator based in Johannesburg, South Africa. His eclectic approach has led to performances and/or recordings with artists such as Manfred Mann, Katherine Jenkins, Hugh Masakela, Shlomo Carlebach, Andy Narrell, McCoy Mrubata, and many others. He is a founding member of the group « Unofficial Language » (along with Paul Hanmer and Ian Herman) who performed at the 2006 Cape Town international jazz festival.

MIAGI (Music Is A Great Investment) – Youth Orchestra
MIAGI is a non-profit company (based in Pretoria) established in 2001 with the support of the South African Department of Arts and Culture. It focuses on music education for children as a central tool of social upliftment and cultural awareness. By supporting numerous existing music-education initiatives, MIAGI makes music education available to a growing number of young people, especially in historically disadvantaged areas. MIAGI aims to introduce South African music to audiences worldwide and to inspire dialogue among people of different cultures through an intense process of artistic exchange thatincludes commissioning new intercultural compositions. Robert Brooks, its executive director, is persuaded that music can play a fundamental role in the reconciliation process in post apartheid South Africa. The MIAGI Youth Orchestra gathers young players from the widest possible range of backgrounds. In Viramundo, they are part of the concert in the Market Theater and some of them speak about their lives in today’s South Africa. visit website

Fatima choral community choir
The Fatima Choral Community Choir, based in the township of Soweto, is led by Obakeng Modise. Its members come from this neighbourhood.

Wits Choir
Membership of the Wits Choir (University of the Witwatersrand) is open to all, resulting in a choir drawn from diverse national and international cultures.  Members come from as far afield as Kenya and the DRC. The Choir has many traditional South African or African numbers in their repertoire, and an array of music from all corners of the globe. It is an image of the Rainbow Nation in action.