Based: Port Elizabeth
TwoTone Music was founded in 2009 by Gareth and Ulagh Williams, both graduates of the University of Port Elizabeth. After several years of teaching music, they spent some time abroad performing across the Middle East and Asia where they started building their wide network of colleagues from across the world.
Since its birth, the TwoTone Band, directed by Ulagh Williams has nurtured and showcased dozens of young artists from Mandela Bay and it has become a successful act on the national corporate entertainment circuit. Most recently the band was selected as a Top 10 finalist in the ESP Afrika Young Legends competition and several of its members also performed at the 2017 Standard Bank Joy of Jazz festival in Sandton.
Gareth Williams is heavily involved in music education and outreach in the Port Elizabeth Northern Areas and various townships such as Zwide and New Brighton. He is currently a lecturer in the music department and works closely with colleagues from Norway, the USA and and various African countries. He regularly conducts the NMU Wind Symphony as well as the TwoTone Orchestra, as well as the Madiba Bay Jazz Orchestra.
Ulagh Williams is a part time lecturer in the music department where she teaches jazz vocals. Several of her students also perform professionally with the TwoTone Band, and will also be featured on vocals here today.
The TwoTone Band has backed many national and international acts including Khaya Mahlangu (sax) and Gloria Bosman (vocals), Esther Miller (vocals), Titi Luzipo (vocals), ethnomusician Pedro Espi-Sanchis, Sisonke Xonti (sax), SAMA award winner Phumlani Mtiti (sax), Phinda Mtya (vocals), Romy Brauteseth (bass), Xolani Faku (trumpet), pop singer Liesl Graham and many more.
Most recently, the 40 – piece TwoTone Orchestra (consisiting of the TwoTone Band and added orchestral players) appeared in the ‘Divas in Spring’ concert (September 2016), accompanying national recording artists Judith Sephuma and Lira.
TwoTone’s most recent international collaboration involved producing and directing the world premiere of USA composer Professor Ed Sarath’s work ‘His Day is Done’ for orchestra, jazz combo and choir which was staged at NMMU in August 2016. The work is a tribute to Nelson Mandela and is based on a poem by Maya Angelou.
Other performances include the Alliance Francaise Music Festival, the SA Cultural Observatory Launch, shows at NMU George campus, Grahamstown and being the official entertainment provider for the Sun International Boardwalk Mr PE campaign for the last 4 years.
The TwoTone Band has performed as the resident big band for the annual Nelson Mandela University ‘Isisusa’ Jazz concert at the PE Opera House for the last 3 years.
They perform regularly at festivals and for high profile corporate events such as the annual Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber banquet, and VIP functions for GMSA, Transnet, Investec, Continental, Shamwari and many more.
The band is known for its infectious and high-energy stage presence and its focus on vocal harmonies. The band members are all current students and alumni from Nelson Mandela University.
The band performs a wide range of music, from jazz to South African favourites and loves to explore music from other African countries. Their trademark is a fresh fusion of jazz and soul with a distinct local flavour and a proudly South African sound.