“Cyber Guitarist” and crew to rock Great Hall

Three cities concert with “cyber-guitarist” and Wits music lecturer to rock the Great Hall on 28 April.

HACKED EQUIPMENT: The “cyber-guitarist” Jonathan Crossley stands with his heavily modified Ibanez guitar that he will play at the 3 cities concert in the Great Hall on 28 April. Photo: Reuven Blignault.

HACKED EQUIPMENT: The “cyber-guitarist” Jonathan Crossley stands with his heavily modified Ibanez guitar that he will play at the 3 cities concert in the Great Hall on 28 April. Photo: Reuven Blignault.

Three cities, three musicians, one Great Hall.

Wits music lecturer and “cyber guitarist” Jonathan Crossley will unite with New York based drummer, Lukas Ligeti and Capetonian drummer, Jonno Sweetman for a performance of epic proportions in the Great Hall on Tuesday, 28 April.

In the hopes of duplicating the success of last year’s show, the trio will come together again in the hopes of making an even more successful performance.

Crossley will be performing on his unique cyber guitar system, a hardware “hacked” Suzuki Omnichord, as well as playing an array of other unique instruments.

Jonno Sweetman, a musician and avid surfer, will be packing his surfboard away and bringing his drumsticks on his way from Cape Town.

With 32 years of study, Crossley is a classically trained guitarist, but on stage he appears to be something of a combination of man, robot, and guitar.

Crossley put on a world-first musical performance a few months ago, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for his doctorate in music.

It took Crossley three years to create what he calls his “hardware hacked electric jazz guitar”. Crossley describes himself as a guitarist, technologist, cyber-protagonist and composer.

When asked about his “unique” instrument, Crossley describes “the instrument system itself is completely software free… no PCs or laptops are engaged actively whatsoever in the performance and further no music is pre-prepared in a recorded audio format. All music is improvised wholly live”.

“The performance will be completely unlike traditional music, which is either pre-prepared or improvised over a predesigned set of constraints”, Crossley said illustrating further on the upcoming performance.

Lukas Ligeti will be jetting in from New York where John Zorn’s Stone Club where they have recently presented a week-long retrospective of his work. Ligeti lives in Joburg and New York and is currently completing his PhD at Wits.

Ligeti often leads or co-leads several bands such as Burkina Electric (the first electronic band from Burkina Faso), Sonic Youth and the Grateful Dead. Ligeti has collaborated with musicians across Africa, and in 2010 he received the Alpert Award in Music.

Jonno Sweetman is much in demand as a drummer and has played with the Standard Bank Young Artist Award Winner, Kyle Shepherd, and has travelled beyond his borders to perform in Europe and Asia.

The trio will be performing improvisations between each other, playing original works and rock classics from bands such as Nirvana.

SRC puts on a show for a good cause

The SRC is hoping to raise R1 million for financially needy Wits students.

It will be hosting a Humanitarian Benefit Concert whereby all proceeds will go into a fund to help support academically deserving students.

“No student who is passing must be kicked out of the University because of his/her financial background,” said SRC president Morris Masutha.

The concert is to be held on Friday 27 August with featured performances by well-known artists such as Naves, Sphectacular and DJ Tumelo.

The SRC hopes that this event will encourage students to donate money in the spirit of ‘students helping their fellow students’.

“In the same manner in which we have declared war against academic exclusion, we have also declared a serious war against financial exclusion,” said Masutha.

The Humanitarian Benefit concert will be followed by an SRC Fundraising week.

“During this week, we’ll encourage students to donate whatever they can to the SRC Humanitarian fund,” said SRC treasurer Tshepo Ndlovu.

“For example, if 30 000 Wits students donate R10 to the Humanitarian fund, that will give us R300 000 into the humanitarian fund, which in turn can pay registration fees for 40 students,” he added.

The SRC is hoping to raise over R1 Million which it says will help “fight the financial/academic genocide on poor students”.

The Humanitarian Fund was established last year and according to Masutha aims to benefit students “who are left with outstanding fees at the end of the academic year”.
“Our main struggle is the struggle for a fully subsidized higher education for all academically deserving but financially needy students,” said Masutha.

“However, in every revolution there must be short term and long-term goals. We can’t just sit down and wait for government to provide free education; young people must not be fooled, education is the only guaranteed route to economic freedom in our lifetime,” he added.