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Brian Temba's quest to learn more about music

Award winning muso says knowing the theory behind his work is important

Actor and singer Brian Temba is part of the cast in The Suit Concer-tized production showing at the Joburg Theatre in Braamfontein from September 15.
Actor and singer Brian Temba is part of the cast in The Suit Concer-tized production showing at the Joburg Theatre in Braamfontein from September 15.
Image: John Hogg

After acting in various TV series, winning different accolades and releasing music, Brian Temba wants to go back to school to learn more about music. 

Temba, who hails from Soshanguve in Pretoria, has 30 years’ experience as a singer and has won two South African Music Awards (Sama) and a MetroFM Award, which he bagged in 2014.

The former Muvhango actor has scored and created original music for a film called Losing Lerato, which won Best Original Score in a film in California. He has also performed in productions such as The Lion King, Gomora and The Lion and The Lamb. 

Despite all that he has achieved over the the years, Temba wants to go back to school to learn more and understand the intricacies of composing music.

As he chats to Sowetan about his latest role in a stage production based on Can Themba’s short story, The Suit, he believes that this is the right age for him to learn more. 

“I want to write more film scores and music for theatre. That is why I am prepared to go back to school. I want to learn more about making music in general. I never went to school for everything I have done all these years. 

“I want to know the theory of what I have been doing, and it is important to me. I am willing to start from undergraduate level and go all the way up. You know when you are sitting in a rehearsal room with your band, and you hear them talking about a formation called 4-5-3 or 5-4-3 and you don’t even know what is the meaning of it. I want to be able to articulate it.”  

Temba is part of the cast of The Suit Concer-tized, alongside Vusi Kunene, Khutjo Green, Job Kubatsi and Alistair Dube. The show opens at the Joburg Theatre in Braamfontein on September 15. The show returns to celebrate 60 years since the publication of Can Themba’s acclaimed short story The Suit. In the play, Temba plays the role of a struggling musician, Thozamile, who finds himself in a predicament with Matilda, played by Khutjo Green.  

“Thozamile was in an orchestra with Matilda before she got married. They were in love but they did not want to face that. As a struggling artist, Thozamile decided to sell insurance as a side hassle. While selling insurance, he enters a house unaware that Matilda lives there. When they saw each other it takes them back to their orchestra days. They rekindle their music and love passion, and things happened.” 

Temba, who has not done theatre in a while, is excited to return to his first love with a powerful black story of Can Temba. “Theatre is my favourite. It is a good place to be. I love theatre. This is where the authenticity of acting is. TV is beautiful and nice. With theatre there is something beautiful about having to portray the same character every night and saying the same lines. I would like to be part of the stories that tell our history as black people.” 

Temba explains what audience can take home after watching the show: “It is time to go back to how times were. This is part of our history, and it is not told enough. Young people need to watch and experience this piece to learn where we come from as black people and the country.” 

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