Gwen Ansell is a freelance writer, researcher and trainer. She writes about jazz (for this blog, The Conversation, the Financial Mail, M&G Friday, new pro-struggle, pro-working class online newspaper New Framehttp://www.newframe.com – and more) and reviews books – mainly science fiction & fantasy (these reviews have appeared in the Johannesburg Mail&Guardian and the Chimurenga Chronic, among others). As a Research Associate of the Gordon Institute of Business Science, she has researched and published on jazz and music policy in the creative and cultural industries sector. She trains journalists and  academic and organisational writers, and consults on music industry policy, organisational communication and training policies as well as curriculum design.

A former Louis Armstrong Visiting Professor at the Center for Jazz Studies, Columbia University, she is the author of Soweto Blues: Jazz, Politics and Popular Music in South Africa and the textbook Introduction to Journalism,, as well as various book chapters and journal articles. Watch out for her chapter on jazz in Johannesburg in the forthcoming second volume of Sounds and the City.

2 thoughts on “About

  1. Hi Sisgwen,
    i just noticed your wonderful and insightful review of “King of Xhosa” and I really appreciated your thoughts and especially hearing about the reaction of the Xhosa gentleman who saw the cover. First off let me say that, all though I know very little about the Xhosa people, I have a great deal of respect for Feya, Nelson Mandela, Miriam Makeba and other wonderful people of Xhosa lineage. I think writer Carol Martin best put into words the feelings I was trying to express about my feelings about Feya – that I think if him as a musical “king”. Also in his most humble and regal bearing as a human being. I wasn’t attempting any political statement – though I realized there have been many Xhosa Kings over the centuries. At the recording session Frya told me his people are known as prophets. From that knowledge, plus my awareness of my photographer friend Todd Weibstein’s recent photo exhibit about biblical Prophets I asked to see his work. The cover photo (a piece of paper seen on a street I imagine) Todd had reimagined it as a prophet. To me it had feeling of spirituality, the colors of African clothing, and a sort of nobility I guess. Plus I thought it was eye catching. Todd’s street photography is all about seeing images in sidewalks, reflections, rocks, papers etc. that remind him of other things. I thought it had the vibe of African spirituality especially I hoped other’s would feel as well. From what Feya has told me there seems to be some controversy as to the current King, and I was not in any way celebrating him necessarily! I hope you will share my thoughts with your Xhosa friend and I thank you once again for your descriptive narrative of my music!
    Warm regards,
    Jeff ” Siege” Siegel


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