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Urban Voices 2003 – International Arts Festival – Music and Spoken Word


30 June 2003 No Comment

Southern African Arts Exchange hosts the third annual Urban Voices International Arts Festival from July 17 to Aug 3 2003 in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban. Urban Voices 2003 presents an exciting range of international and South African music and poetry. Southern African Arts Exchange is a non-profit organisation that brings together artists from Africa and the Diaspora to share experiences through the medium of arts and culture. The Festival consists of quality performances and educational workshops. The Festival kicks off with International Spoken Word Festival. Featuring Ursula Rucker, Black Ice and Jean Breeze.

Last year, Urban Voices was a ‘sold-out’ success and featured a ground- breaking original programme including poets such as Saul Williams and Sarah Jones from the USA, Mutabaruka, Buju Banton, Ernest Ranglin from Jamaica, as well as Papa Noel and Orbe Ortiz in a Congolese- Cuban musical collaboration. 

Ticket Bookings: Computicket or at Door

011 340 8000 /0839158000-/ Internet bookings: www.computicket.com

NB: Some of the venues have limited space and pre-booking of tickets is essential

Artist Workshops – Entrance Free: Booking essential

For those wanting to learn and share with the artists, special educational workshops with foreign and South African artists are planned as an integral part of the programme. These workshops are subject to last minute changes and contact with the organizers is advisable.

Poetry Workshop: 17 July 2003, 2.30 pm Mega Music, Newtown, Joburg 

See Calendar of events below.


CONTACT US AT: Tel 011 726 6916

email: info@artsexchange.co.za

Website: www.artsexchange.co.za

Urban Voices 2003 Programme: 

International Spoken Word Festival: Cape Town, Joburg and Durban

Joburg Show
Date: Friday 18 July 

Saturday 19July

Time: 8.30pm

Venue: Mega Music, Newtown, Jo’burg
Tickets: Computicket R80

Durban Show
Presented in Association with the Bat Centre
Date: Sunday 20 July 

Time: 7pm

Venue: The Bat Centre, Durban 

Tickets: Computicket R65

Cape Town Show
Date: Wed 23 July 

Time: 8.15pm

Venue: Concert Hall, Baxter Theatre, Rondebosch, Cape Town

Tickets: Computicket R65

The Urban Voices 2003 presents the largest Spoken Word Festival in South Africa.

An extensive range of South African and overseas poets featuring hip-hop, slam, dub to traditional South African poetry.

This Festival features “cutting edge” international award -winning poets from Jamaican dub poet Jean Binta Breeze to US hip-hop/slam poets Ursula Rucker and Black Ice to Lesego Rampolokeng, Prof Keorapetse Kgositsile, Maakumele Manaka, Kano Mofokeng and Lebo Mashile from South Africa. The Poetry Festival will feature several established and emerging South African poets from across the country.



South African hip hop lovers first encountered Ursula Rucker’s velvet tones closing three of the legendary Roots studio albums with socially conscious poems that carried listeners straight into the mind’s eye of a talented lyricist. The Philly-based artist blends jazz, hip-hop, and soul with her poetic vision on Supa-Sista, her debut CD. Her angelic voice and hard-hitting words both caress and challenge the soul. She is an acclaimed poet, songwriter and vocalist who is heralded by music and art critics alike. This supa sista is currently touring extensively and working on a new album with house music dynamo Louis Vega. 

BLACK ICE – USA Direct from Russell Simmons’ New York hit “Def Poetry Jam on Broadway”, Black Ice will share with South African audiences the awesome power of his poetry. An encounter with hip-hop media mogul Russell Simmons led to Black Ice being the first spoken word artist signed to Def Jam Records and his recent acclaim in the innovative Broadway production. His magnetizing performance has moved many audiences to standing ovations, but it is the artist’s commitment to using his voice as a tool to inspire social change that leaves him standing head and shoulders above many of his hip-hop contemporaries. 

Jean Binta Breeze (Jamaica/UK)Internationally acclaimed Jamaican dub poet Jean Binta Breeze is one of the most successful and prolific women writers of the Caribbean. The multi-talented artist often referred to as “a one women festival” has travelled the world with her astounding performances. With roots in Jamaica and branches that reach into dance, choreography, acting, theatre, film, television and education, Jean Binta Breeze has become famous for her explosive stage presence. She has received numerous literary awards in the Caribbean and the UK, collaborated with artists like Linton Kwesi Johnson, and received tremendous acclaim from fellow writers including Maya Angelou who describes Breeze as “pure fire”.

Joburg Show
Date: Thursday 31 July 
Friday 1 August

Saturday 2 August

Sunday 3 August

Time: 9.30pm

Venue: Bassline, Melville, Joburg
Tickets: R100

Paco Sery is one of Africa’s most gifted drummers and certainly one of the best in world. Born in the Ivory Coast, currently based in Paris, Paco has toured and recorded with acclaimed musicians such as Nina Simone, Jaco Pastorius, Diane Reeves, Joe Zawinul, Salif Keita, and Angelique Kidjo. He will be performing in South Africa for the first time with his French based band known as the Paco Sery Group for the Urban Voices 2003 tour. Pacos’ live performance is the totally inspiring and clearly distinguishes him as a unique musician. He has been defined as “The greatest drummer I played with anywhere, anytime” by jazz man Joe Zawinul.

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