Signing ceremony of the third renewal of the Concerts SA agreement (October 2019) for three years 2019 to 2022 at the Norwegian Embassy in Pretoria.
(Ambassador Astrid E. Helle, Andre Le Roux, Emile Ormond, Martin Anderstadt, Alf Yngve Friiso , Kutlwano Masote, Zola Lumko at the Norwegian Embassy Ozmic House, Pretoria)
SAMRO and Concerts SA wish to thank the Norwegian Embassy in Pretoria, the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the people of Norway for generously supporting two decades of southern African music through Concerts SA and the Mmino project.
The past 20 years followed substantive Norwegian support for progressive arts organisations, institutions, and initiatives like Shuttle 99, PASMAE (Pan African Society of Musical Arts Education) and CIIMDA (Centre for Indigenous Instrumental Music and Dance Practices of Africa). Driving Concerts SA support since inception, alongside the SAMRO Foundation team, were Norwegians Tom Gravlie and Anne Moberg from Rikskonsertene (Concerts Norway) which later became Kulturtanken.
This year, Concerts SA (CSA) celebrates 10 years of high impact support for the music ecosystem in the southern African region. Concerts SA’s multi-pronged approach has been ground-breaking through its venue and promoter support programme, the awarding of mobility fund grants, school concert programme, workshops, and research. The project has supported over 5000 concerts at more than 870 venues throughout the region, creating more than 14 600 work opportunities for music professionals and technical crew, and reaching an audience of well over 1 million people. In recent years, audiences have been in-person and online through five digital mobility funds (DMF) initiated during the COVID pandemic. A list of the 355 DMF grants awarded over this period, as well as the research reports which formed the foundation of Concerts SA’s work, are available at www.concertssa.co.za.
This incredible impact could not have been possible without the consistent and generous support and oversight of the Royal Norwegian Embassy and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as the Southern African Music Rights Organisation (SAMRO).
‘It is an act of incredible generosity that the people of Norway saw fit to support South African music for over twenty years,’ said Andre Le Roux, project manager of Concerts SA. ‘We have seen the fruits of this investment through the eyes of artists, promoters, venues, and receptive audiences young and old across the country. Norwegian investment has given Concerts SA the opportunity to engineer a model that, with further local investment, can sustainably support live music and music circuits across the SADC region’.
Earlier this year, the Norwegian embassy announced a change in strategy for its development assistance, which unfortunately will see less funds available for a handful of projects, including Concerts SA. “A decade is rare for any development funding in the arts. We understood from the outset that the Norwegian funding was never guaranteed, and we’re extremely thankful that CSA’s contract with the Norwegian government was renewed three times,’ said Le Roux. ‘As a team, we are also enormously grateful to SAMRO who not only underwrote, but financially and administratively contributed to the project. In continuation of its legacy to this project, SAMRO has committed to continued support of Concerts SA’s operational expenses for three years.
Concerts SA is on a drive to find like-minded partners to support their efforts in the music sector. ‘We hope that our track record will encourage local funding agencies to support the excellent work of the Concerts SA team,” said SAMRO CEO, Annabell Lebethe. ‘SAMRO has committed to help sustain the project, offering support for its programmes, but we are aware that further investment is needed. As such we encourage other organisations to partner with us and Concerts SA to support our vibrant and unique music scene.’
With the Norwegian support coming to an end, the Concerts SA Digital Mobility Fund is on hold until funding support is secured. Meanwhile, Concerts SA’s venue and promoter support programme will run until the end of June 2023.
‘Over the coming period, we look forward to meeting with other music industry stakeholders, presenting our research and our findings, and promoting a more professional and prosperous ecosystem to benefit artists and music professionals in the coming months’, Le Roux confirmed. ‘We are confident that South Africa will see the value of Concerts SA’s efforts to invest into the fragile music ecosystem, and we trust that the artists, promoters and venue owners who have benefited from this Norwegian investment will join us in our mission to nourish and nurture the live music sector.’
Notes To Editors:
Concerts SA is a joint South African/Norwegian initiative administered by IKS Cultural Consulting www.iksafrica.com under the auspices of SAMRO www.samro.org.za; it receives financial, administrative, and technical support from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, through the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Pretoria, and SAMRO. The project aims to support live music in South Africa by finding and implementing catalytic methods to stimulate a vibrant and viable live music circuit in southern Africa. It also aims to develop an interest in and appreciation of live music by showcasing music performances. For more information please visit our website www.concertssa.co.za, follow @ConcertsSA on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ConcertsSA or like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ConcertsSA. #ConcertsSA