Feya Faku 2011

Fezile “Feya” Faku is a trumpet and flugel horn player born in New Brighton, Port Elizabeth. He started playing the trumpet at a late stage of his life without any formal teaching or training. He learnt how to play with help and coaching from various local musicians, many of whom were saxophonists rather than trumpeters, which may have inadvertently contributed to Feya’s unique playing style.

In 1988 Feya enrolled at the University of Natal to study music with financial assistance from NADEL (National Association of Democratic Lawyers) and under the guidance of acclaimed musician Darius Brubeck, graduated in 1992 with a university diploma in Jazz Studies. It was in Durban that Fezile’s career as a jazz artist began to blossom as he and his fellow musicians backed and accompanied the cream of South African music including Mankunku Ngozi, Thandie Klassen, Pat Matshikiza and Barney Rachabane to name  a few.

His debut was with the Durban-based group, Counter Culture led by US saxophonist Chris Merz. Subsequently, Feya has travelled, performed and recorded extensively in South Africa and abroad with the likes of Abdullah Ibrahim, Bheki Mseleku, Mankunku Ngozi and in the Netherlands with the saxophonist Paul van Kemenade, and his Quintet. In Switzerland, he performed with the Swiss South African Quintet which he leads with the South African exile drummer Makaya Ntshoko who left SA in 1962, the year Feya was born!

He has worked in Eastern and Western Europe, North and South America, Cuba and Japan and his well-known album, Hommage was recorded following a cultural exchange programme in Holland.  In 2006, Feya was Artist in Residence at the famous Birds Eye Jazz Club in Basel, Switzerland, working with students from the University of Basel as well as other local musicians.  A hallmark of Feya’s tour and concert programme is to conduct workshops with aspiring musicians – giving back of what he loves so much.

His vision at the moment is to do an Eastern Cape tour and do performances and workshops in the townships - more specifically in disadvantaged areas - and share both his life and musical experiences and how music, especially jazz, has saved his life and moulded him as the talented musician and composer that he is.

For his contribution to society through his music and educational workshops, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University is honoured to present Feya Faku with the Council Prestige Award.