Inside the ‘FNB All That’s Jazz’ concert deal
by Bashi Letshididi
The Gaborone International Convention Centre makes history this week when it becomes the first ever venue in Botswana to host a still-sought-after Grammy-Award-winning artist.
“David Sanborn is arguably one of the most sought after contemporary jazz musicians of our generation and has won six Grammy Awards,” says Bomolemo Selaledi, First National Bank Botswana’s Director of Marketing and Communications, when talking about the upcoming “FNBB All That’s Jazz” that her bank is bringing to GICC this week.
Two thirds of that jazz will be played by Joe Sample (who like Sanborn is American) and local artist, Shanti Lo.
At the close of business on Friday, preparations for the show were at an advanced stage. Tickets were being sold at various selling points and, as a measure of how thorough the scenario-planning was, load-shedding will not get a spot on the show.
According to Selaledi, provision has been made for back-up power. Likewise, preparations relating to accommodation bookings, paramedic staff, security, police, VIP transport, permits for artists and equipment clearances have also been taken care of.
“All due diligence has been carried out. The only thing that is remaining is interviews with radio stations,” she adds.
Selaledi would not say how much FNBB has forked out for the show but one can hazard the guess that when the cheque is written, digits in the amount-of-currency box will certainly form one very long queue. Explaining that “an event of this magnitude requires extensive logistics management”, she revealed that Gearhouse South Africa has been engaged to handle the audio-visuals as well as stage construction.
“Gearhouse is the leading technical supplier to the live events industry. This is the same company which did the 2010 World Cup official opening. Botswana has a wealth of experienced professionals in the eventing arena, whom we have also engaged to ensure that the execution of this epic event is not compromised. Guests should rest assured that they will get good value for their money and that their expectations will be exceeded,” Selaledi says.
To score a gig this big is no mean feat and was a result of local promoters establishing links with FNBB. The story that Selaledi tells is that for some time, the bank had been scoping for a flagship event which would further accentuate its brand positioning. At around the same time that the bank was doing this scoping, two local promoters in Urban Motion Communications Group and Streethorn Promotions were also in pursuit of a partnership with a corporate entity. This brought them into contact with the bank. When the three parties found themselves singing from the same hymn book, thus was sealed a deal to have the three musicians singing from the same stage in what is being billed as “FNB All That’s Jazz” concert.
“We also chose to invest in this particular sponsorship because we recognise that Botswana needs a jazz festival of international repute. The promoting of arts and culture has been one of the focus areas of the bank’s corporate social responsibility fund,” she says, adding that through the jazz sponsorship, FNBB continues its mandate of supporting arts and culture in Botswana.
“FNBB is a bank of firsts, and thus wanted to be the first to bring David Sanborn and Joe Sample to Botswana. Only after their shows in Gaborone will they then proceed to perform in Johannesburg and Cape Town on the 7th and 8th July, 2012 respectively,” Selaledi says.
At a time when neighbourhoods and public airwaves are clogged with a cacophony called house, the jazz concert will definitely come as a breath of fresh air. Selaledi says that jazz was the selection of choice because it is an ageless and timeless music genre which always remains relevant and appealing.
“It is an international export which never fails to pull diverse crowds together. The notable selection of artists is most ideal. David Sanborn and Joe Sample are legendary international jazz artists, whilst Botswana’s Shanti-Lo is increasingly headlining the showbiz space,” she notes.
In addition to his Grammy wins, Sanborn has eight gold albums and one platinum. His rise to fame has been well-documented in the charts, accentuated by extensive radio play and live performance requests all over the world. With 27 albums to his credit, he has played with music royalty in the likes of David Bowie, Kenny Loggins, Bruce Springsteen, Kenny G, Roger Waters and Carly Simon.
A world-leading pianist, composer and keyboard player, Sample is the founder of the Jazz Crusaders and has more than 20 albums to his credit, the most notable being ‘Carmel’, ‘Rainbow Seeker’ and ‘Invitation.’ He has toured and performed with many well-known musicians like Marvin Gaye, Tina Turner, BB King, Eric Clapton, Joe Cocker, Randy Crawford, Anita Baker and Andraé Crouche.
One of the local acts with real staying power, Shanti-Lo, has been holding his own locally, regionally and internationally. Not too long ago he was in Europe wowing crowds with his brand of jazz.
Before the show - during the sound-check - a select group of people intimately involved with the arts will get to meet and greet Sanborn and Sample.
Selaledi says that this group includes young and old musicians, poets, promoters, radio jazz presenters as well as representatives from the Botswana Musicians Union, Botswana Entertainment Promoters Association and the Department of Arts and Culture.
“This will guard against having solely theoretic dialogue between the international artists and the local music fraternity. As the sound-check is taking place, questions and answers will be fielded, thus skills transfer will take place adeptly,” she says of this pre-show meet-and-greet.
The concert has excited enthusiasm even outside Botswana’s borders. It is already being advertised on South Africa’s North West FM which has a very impressive listenership and staunch following by jazz lovers. Hordes of jazz lovers (‘tourists’ in the language of business) are expected to pour into Botswana for the show from neighbouring countries.
“Because of its ambience and pedigree, the event will be a great business and social networking platform,” Selaledi says.
The show takes place at GICC on Thursday and Friday. Tickets are priced at P950 for the Thursday show and P750 for the Friday one.
Tickets are available at the following locations in Gaborone: Capellos in Masa Centre; Woolworths at Riverwalk and Sebele Centre; and, FNB Kgale Branch and Kgalagadi Music World at Game City.