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Claude Deppa

At the forefront of the African jazz music scene is South African born trumpeter and composer Claude Deppa. He can turn his hand to Afro-jazz, soul, funk, Afro-Cuban and even chamber music as well as many sub-genres.
Claude has worked with many bands and been on stage with top stars like Miriam Makeba, Manu Dibango, Tony Allen and Andy Sheppard in Britain (where he is presently based), Europe and also more widely internationally. He has a very hectic schedule, for example in the midst of the Grand Union Orchestra's 2002 tour (see below) he was off to Bratislava!
Claude has also developed his own three special projects and these are African Jazz Explosion, Horns Unlimited and Five Funky Fellas. Each of these bands are often on stage at top venues including London's South Bank. Five Funky Fellas were on the Africa stage at the BBC Music Live festival over the Golden Jubilee Celebrations at London's Hyde Park in summer 2002 (see photo).
Claude's story of his experiences growing up in South Africa and then coming to Britain in 1974 is printed in the book 'Celebrating Sanctuary', published in 2002. He says his family were all very musical and at first he learnt to play drums. At secondary school in London he decided the trumpet would be his main instrument, with it's loud punchy sound. Claude attended a music school for a few months but found it didn't suit the type of jazz he wanted to play. He quit and after that continued receiving trumpet tuition privately and began playing in bands. Claude is happy with the opportunities living in Europe gives him.

From his South African background he has the vocals and harmonies while he has got the jazz improvising skills from his time in Europe. Another very vibrant project that Claude is a part of is the Grand Union Orchestra. It produces a variety of new and exciting cross-cultural shows and projects such as 'Where the Rivers Meet' with over 200 taking part, and their current presentation, 'The Call of Paradise'. Since 2004 Claude has led the brass section of Kinetica Bloco, a project which celebrates the music of the African Diaspora with themed summer schools and performances, for example 'Road to Freedom'.
Look out for Claude's CD, Toi-Toi (2003): it's a fantastic blend of funky and more mellow tracks, with some interesting printed notes by Claude himself. He particiapted in London's big African Music Festival in May 2004. Claude's energy for his music certainly seems to know no bounds!