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July 2016. Interview by Marelise Jacobs. Cover: Concorde Nkabinde - Photograph supplied.

As part of our Joy of Jazz series, we interview Concorde Nkabinde and talk about the must-attend workshops, Geleza Kleva and Learn, for musicians wanting and needing to know more about the business behind the music industry.

How did it all come about, is this the first time you're doing Geleza Kleva and Learn?

Concord Nkabinde: This is the third one, the first one was in 2013. Basically I am involved during the time of the Joy of Jazz festival in September where musicians can attend these workshops. The festival organisers then saw a need for these kind of workshops during the rest of the year, there is no program that empowered young artists with particularly business skills.

These workshops are designed to expose young aspiring artists to different careers in the industry and also to expose them to how the business side of the industry actually works.

“...We teach them the nitty gritty of the music industry...” - Concord Nkabinde

Understanding the business side of the music industry is very important?

Concord Nkabinde: Yes, it is because we are finding that in music schools and even universities, don't have programs that prepare young musicians for the business side of things. So that's the essence of the program. And what we do is we engage and involve professionals in the industry with experience to come and share what they know.

We teach them the nitty gritty of the industry. What we do is we help them understand problems like copyright, because now you find young people are writing music and they don't know how to protect their work. So we break it down to the most basic aspects of when a song is written, how copyright is created etc. Also when you go into studio and people need to know who is creating what.

The next step is to know how to deal with contracts because we know contracts don't empower young artists. A lot of the time an artist will be approached by a record company with a record deal and the artist has no knowledge of what is expected of a contract, so in the end they sign contracts that bind them and sometimes they end up not even owning their own creations. Those are the kind of issues we go through in the workshops.

It is upsetting when big corporations take advantage of young musicians who don't know how to protect themselves.

Concord Nkabinde: Yes, true and what is hurting the most is the fact that experienced musicians who have been in the music industry for so many years also lack that knowledge but when you organise workshops like this, they don't come. They don't want people to see that they don't know. And yet it can change their careers even at this stage of their lives.

This is not just for jazz, but for any musician anyone who is interested in the industry?

Concord Nkabinde: Yes, it is organised that way. I think we actually get more attendance from gospel artists. So yes, it is for anyone who wants to learn more about the music industry.

How can they enter, is there a waiting list and how much does it cost?

Concord Nkabinde: The workshops are for free. That's another thing that makes people think twice, they don't think this kind of information will be given to them for free. That's why we are so passionate about these workshops because it almost levels the playing fields between the record companies and the musicians.