The Chairperson of Botswana Society of Jazz Education (BOSJE) Akhutleng Mogami says the objectives of the BOSJE Big Band jazz group project is to take young people off the streets and engage them meaningfully while enabling them to contribute to their house hold income.
In an interview she said the band, under the musical directorship of Frank Piscioneri, was launched in April 2017 as an initiative by Botswana Society for Jazz Education (BOSJE) in collaboration with the Kingdom Arts Academy.
The band – consisting of 12 musicians and two vocalists – has developed into one of the most exciting bands in Gaborone, having played at some of the most prestigious events that take place annually in the city.
“The anticipated result of this project is to empower young people with knowledge and skills that they can use to advance their careers and even venture to be entrepreneurs themselves. It is also to bring social change through music and a sense of belonging,” Mogami echoed.
Big band has so far played at some of the prestigious locally hosted such as Masire foundation annual gala dinner May 4, 2018 at GICC and Annual De Beers Sight holders Dinner- 22 January 2018 at Diamond Trading Company Botswana (DTCB).
The society formed a youth jazz big band from scratch in January 2017, she said, adding that the Big Bands in Botswana project aims to put together jazz bands in schools and communities all over the country.
“We managed to bring together young people from all walks of life to teach them about jazz and how to play jazz music. Since then, the band has grown substantially both musically and professionally. The project commenced February 15, 2019 with the primary objective of bringing positive social change through music,” she added.
She further stressed that the objectives of the BOSJE is to facilitate the growth of Jazz music genre in Botswana and development of jazz artists, to build jazz community by advancing the education and research as well as to document, preserve and archive Botswana Jazz heritage.
Mogami said the society is also keen on capacity building to empower the musicians, talent managers and promoters to offer care and protection to the industry in pursuit of achieving artistic excellence.
The society will be hosting the 9th annual International Jazz Day for the 3rd time this year at the Maitisong theatre on April 30 that was designated as ‘International Jazz Day’ by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) in November 2011.
It is celebrated with the intent of raising worldwide awareness and honoring Jazz as an educational tool, a force for peace, dialogue and enhanced cooperation among people.