Cape Town musician returns home with Global Peace Song Award for Mandela homage

Trumpeter Darren English grew up in Strandfontein, his music studies later taking him to Norway and the United States. Now he's returned to Cape Town from Los Angeles with the Global Peace Song Award in the jazz category under his belt.

He tells Jeremy van Wyk about how as a schoolboy, he graduated from playing the tambourine to playing the trumpet.

I played tambourine for six months, so just picture me with a mushroom haircut and a tambourine in a bright blue uniform, super embarrassing, and I was like, man, I want to play a real instrument.

Darren English, Award-winning musician

During his time in the US, English recorded an album in Atlanta, Georgia, in 2014.

After its release in 2016 and nominations for various awards, it was put through for the Global Peace Song which awards musicians who compose music for peace.

The trumpeter's 'Imagination Suite' features on the album and was composed to pay homage to Nelson Mandela and the struggle to end apartheid. `

The first movement is Imagination, the second movement is Pledge for Peace which won the award and the third is the birth. So Imagination is the nation that Nelson Mandela imagined...the birth is the birth of the new nation. This was all written before he passed away so it wasn't a marketing strategy.

Darren English, Award-winning musician

Back in Cape Town, English is committed to creating more opportunities for young jazz musicians in the mother city.

Myself and my wonderful manager, Shadow Twala, we're working on things in Europe at the moment and the States. We just did a concert on Thursday in town... we're looking to do these shows once a month and we have some awesome people on board and we are talking to quite a few bands.

Darren English, Award-winning musician

So that we can work on having Cape Town be the amazing city that it is musically as well.

Darren English, Award-winning musician

After listening to his award-winning song, an emotional English had some words of encouragement for young musicians.

Just keep at it. Again, when opportunities arise, take it, even if you feel it's something that's not your genre. I think the modern-day musician needs to be versatile.

Darren English, Award-winning musician

Listen to the full interview and a performance of the award-winning song below:


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