Booking, management and touring agency, Arte Viva Management (Arte Viva), will be launching a brand-new roster of primarily Southern African performing artists at the upcoming International Live Music Conference (ILMC), taking place in London from 26 to 29 April.
The theme for ILMC 2022 is Brave New World, which seems made for the launch of this roster of exceptional talent. ILMC is by invitation only, and Arte Viva’s plans to proactively build new and reactivate existing touring circuits for the distinctive artists on its roster are bold and ambitious. They have been met with enthusiastic welcome from the industry. With the entertainment sector undergoing a resurrection, thanks to the softening of COVID-19 restrictions, Arte Viva is thus well-placed to become a booking agency of choice for artistic directors, programmers & producers involved in the global touring, festival, and the live entertainment industries.
Founded in 2016, Arte Viva is an artist and tour management agency, headquartered in Cape Town, South Africa, with a European office in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Prior to the global lockdown, the company focused on in-bound tours for international music artists and had already produced some 20 tours around South and Southern Africa for artists including Adrian Iaies (Argentina), Hildegard Lernt Fliegen (Switzerland), Coco Zhao (China) and Bokani Dyer (SA). A particular highlight was being commissioned to produce and manage the legendary Carnegie Hall’s National Youth Jazz Orchestra tour to SA in 2020, with 5-time Grammy award winner, Dianne Reeves – although this had to be postponed due to the pandemic.
Arte Viva’s expansion to a global scale builds on their excellent reputation, core strength and focus on artist representation, tour booking and management. The agency team counts a collective 60 years of experience amongst them, including tour production in territories such as Africa, Latin America, and Europe.
The hand-picked roster has a focus on artists from Southern Africa, with genres spanning World-Fusion to SA Jazz, Afro- Soul & Folk. Some names will certainly be familiar to international audiences, such as The One Who Sings – the new solo creative incarnation of Zolani Mahola, previously of double platinum global Afro-pop sensation Freshlyground; Hope Masike – Zimbabwe’s “Princess of Mbira”; and Abavuki, known for their energetic Afro-Fusion performance with marimbas and African percussion.
South African jazz is revered worldwide for its creativity and influence, and the roster proudly features the cream of the new generation’s crop, including; Sibusiso Mash Mashiloane, a sublime pianist who incorporates percussive elements and vocals into his vibrant playing; Mandla Mlangeni, a trumpet-player, composer and bandleader of exceptional originality and craft, recognised in 2019 as the Standard Bank Young Artist of the Year for Jazz, one of SA’s highest accolades, and Thandeka Dladla, a young and versatile vocalist who embodies the glamour and talent of the legendary jazz singers, and whose range is equally at home in the Afro-Soul genre, entrancing audiences with her “wonder to watch” performances.
The Lady Day Big Band features powerhouse vocalist Lana Crowster and the talents of no less than 20 stellar South African women musicians, under the baton of esteemed conductor Amanda Tiffin. The Unity Band, winners of Best Newcomers at the 2019 Mzansi Jazz Awards, brings together eight of the country’s truly most gifted young musicians, performing their multi-flavoured brand of inspired contemporary SA jazz.
The roster is completed by two other standout performers, both of whom explore the fusion between their traditional cultural music styles and Western music: Mthwakazi has invented her own genre of “Xho-pera”, performing operatic vocals in her native isiXhosa, layered with her other speciality as an African mouth-bow player; and Coco Zhao from China, who is the one international performer selected by the Arte Viva team for his exquisite singing and sensitively articulated fusion of Jazz with traditional Chinese music.
Arte Viva founder and managing director, Nikki Froneman, comments: “The world has been deeply impacted by the pandemic, but one thing that has not changed, is the desire for and connection to music that moves the heart, the soul – and often, the feet! Southern African music is widely appreciated and enjoyed across the world, and we believe there is significant opportunity to increase international touring. We are immensely proud of this new roster, and we are confident the time is right for expansion and introducing these artists to keen audiences in new territories.”
Arte Viva’s presence at ILMC is supported by the South African Department of Sports, Arts and Culture, through their Mzansi Golden Economy programme. Arte Viva have used the funding as an investment injection into the launch of the new roster and, whilst there is still uncertainty in a changing world, Arte Viva has the requisite experience in coordinating multiple stakeholders and partners to realise sustainable touring that works for all parties and opens the world stage for ongoing prospects. This flexibility and resilience is particularly important where budgets and funding may not be what they were before global lockdowns, courtesy of the recent pandemic.
The Arte Viva team are poised and ready for ILMC, and are certainly a new player to watch in the live entertainment industry.