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South African Music Rights Organisation


  • The Beat Bulletin
  • August 2013

I am truly excited about our first story, the highly anticipated SAMRO documentary Notes 2 Notes, which aired on 1 September 2013 . The article may help you understand music rights better as it explains what benefits they can yield for you throughout the different mediums. 

The documentary commemorates our 50-year anniversary and is a fascinating and candid look at the organisation since it began in the early 60s to its current powerful position in the industry.     

This month we bring you member profiles of two very creative yet different SAMRO music creators. The first story features Reggae great Saggy Saggila and his massive contribution to Reggae music in South Africa, while the second story focuses on singer songwriter Steven Sterling and his inspiration behind writing CANSA’s theme song.   

Finally, I am truly inspired by the talented pianists we saw in the 2013 SAMRO Overseas Scholarships Competition. Well done to jazz pianist Bokani Dyer and Western Art Music pianist Jan Hugo, the winners of the SAMRO Foundation’s lucrative scholarships to study music overseas. Find out more about the competition in this newsletter.

Would you like to be profiled in a future newsletter? Do you have any news that you would like to share with fellow SAMRO members? Please contact us at online@samro.org.za – we look forward to your comments and ideas for possible inclusion in The Beat Bulletin.



Yours in music,

Tiyani Maluleke

General Manager: Marketing 




In this issue
SAMRO Documentary - Music made for television
Member profile: Richard Siluma aka Saggy Saggila
Member Profile: Steven Sterling
Never say Dyer for winning young jazz maestro

SAMRO Documentary - Music made for television

The arrival of spring brought with it Notes 2 Notes, a fascinating documentary on the history and development of SAMRO. It showcased perfectly just how music creators can benefit from leveraging their music in such mediums. It was screened on SABC 1

The arrival of spring brought with it Notes 2 Notes, a fascinating documentary on the history and development of SAMRO. It showcased perfectly just how music creators can benefit from leveraging their music in such mediums. It was screened on SABC 1, on Sunday night, 1 September, with a repeat screening on Wednesday, 4 September. 

Commissioned to commemorate SAMRO’s 50-year anniversary, Notes 2 Notes not only tells the SAMRO story, but tracks both the country’s political and musical context from which it grew.

The documentary was produced by Emmy Award-winning local production house Rapid Blue and directed by Sara Blecher, with assistance from respected music guru Lloyd Ross. Rapid Blue is responsible for television shows like Strictly Come Dancing and Come Dine With Me, but also boasts a reputation for fair and truthful documentary story-telling. 

The evolution of Africa’s oldest and largest copyright administration society is narrated through interviews with key players in SAMRO’s history; musicians, composers and music industry thought leaders all add their memories and insights to the story. The documentary also features music from many of South Africa’s top artists.

Feature films, television and documentaries all make use of music and this can prove a very lucrative income stream for music creators. Music used in television shows or documentaries attracts royalties from both mechanical rights and performance rights. The mechanical rights royalties are earned by music composers, lyricists and publishers when their musical works are used from one medium to another. The rights are usually negotiated by the production company with the individual record companies, RiSA or the individual copyright holder, and royalties are then paid to SAMRO for distribution to the music creator.

Performing rights royalties are earned when the musical creation is performed in public, which includes broadcast. These royalties are paid by the broadcaster to SAMRO for distribution to the member.

Music creators should look to their record companies to promote their music to production companies for use in television or documentaries. Alternatively they can approach the production companies themselves and motivate for their music to be used. Production companies often commission music specific to a production, especially for the title tracks. For instance Rapid Blue has a policy of featuring and promoting as much local music as possible and most often commission local music creators to produce it. The opening sequence of Notes 2 Notes, which won a Promox Gold for Best Graphic Design for an Opening Sequence, used some of Peter Klatzow’s music from I am an African.



Member profile: Richard Siluma aka Saggy Saggila

For 36 years Richard Siluma, musically known as Saggy Saggila, has been mixing it up on the South African Reggae scene. Singer, composer, producer and manager for the late Lucky Dube,

For 36 years Richard Siluma, musically known as Saggy Saggila, has been mixing it up on the South African Reggae scene. Singer, composer, producer and manager for the late Lucky Dube, Siluma has not only seen the roots of Reggae take hold in South Africa, but has been an enormous part of its growth. Last year saw the release of his latest reggae album I Wanna Be With You distributed by Gallo Records.

A singer from the start, Saggy Saggila was first introduced to Reggae when he was working as a store manager and later a salesperson for Warner Bros Communication. Inspired by Jimmy Cliff’s 1976 visit to South Africa, Saggy Saggila recorded his first album African Dance, which still receives airplay today.

In 1984 Siluma signed his cousin Lucky Dube and the group Stimela, producing their first record Rastas Never Die (Plum Records). He is credited for steering Lucky Dube away from the traditional Mbaqanga he was playing towards the soulful Reggae that would make him world-famous. Saggy Saggila has gone on to write, arrange, inspire and mentor many of the continent’s Reggae musicians.

His ten-track album I Wanna Be With You, recorded with the Ras Band, has been internationally available since November 2012. Featuring singles like Are you Feeling Irie, Wonder Girl and Heart Beat, the album has been garnering success particularly through the download market. 


Member Profile: Steven Sterling

How CANSA’S theme song came about - Cancer inspired Steven Sterling to make music

In 2008, Steven Sterling’s 61-year old mother was diagnosed with HER2 Positive breast cancer. The disease was aggressive and needed chemotherapy and radiation treatment, which often make the patient nauseous, tired and feeling vulnerable and alone.  Sterling’s family motto was that where science can fail, love may prevail and that where fear holds us prisoner, hope will set us free. Using this philosophy, the musical family looked for an alternative cure. 

Sterling’s brother, Ryan Walt, a prolific pan flutist in South Africa and Steven himself, a singer songwriter, contacted the Cancer association of South Africa (CANSA) and made an alliance. “I believe that artists have a responsibility,” he explains. “Diseases need awareness!” 

At the national Relay for Life and Shavathon, the two brothers saw many cancer survivors doing a lap of honour, walking hand-in-hand and celebrating being alive and well. It blew them away.  So, they decided to write a song to inspire more people to take hands and stand against disease. “Through melody and lyric we can communicate as if we’re afraid of nothing. Take a hand, stand together and let’s share a tale of overcoming the odds through the wonder of music and the power of caring for each other,” asserts Sterling. 

A portion of the sales goes to CANSA who now use the track as its official theme song.  Take my hand was released on SABC 2’s Morning Live during the annual Shavathon CANSA event in 2009. In the same year the first cause-driven album was released and boasts fifteen tracks in English, Afrikaans and instrumental. Since then, two other versions of this album have been released nationally and the music video has been flighted on DSTV as well as on SABC. O Magazine called the CD “the perfect gift for a loved one.” 

“We made music to drown out the sorrow, hurt and despair. Take my hand is a song for my mom, a song for mothers and fathers, a song for you and for families, encouraging us and making us believe in miracles,” affirms Sterling. 

The CD is available at CANSA’s head office. Contact Moshe Nchwe at mnchwe@cansa.org.za


Never say Dyer for winning young jazz maestro

It was second time lucky on Saturday for jazz pianist Bokani Dyer, who won a SAMRO Overseas Scholarship during the final round of the competition.

It was second time lucky on Saturday for jazz pianist Bokani Dyer, who won a SAMRO Overseas Scholarship during the final round of the competition.

Capetonian Dyer (27), the recipient of the 2011 Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Jazz, had first entered the SAMRO competition for keyboard players four years ago but had to be content with the runner-up prize in the Jazz/Popular Music category in 2009.

He has clearly honed and perfected his skills on the keys since, and beat out stiff competition from fellow finalist and Capetonian Nicholas Williams (27) during a hard-fought contest at the SABC’s M1 studio in Auckland Park on Saturday, 31 August 2013.

Dyer, the son of South African jazz luminary Steve Dyer, clinched a lucrative R170 000 scholarship to fund his post-graduate music studies at an international educational institution. Williams walked off with R40 000 plus a R5 000 cheque for the best performance of a prescribed work and the SAMRO/Fisher Award of R6 500.

In the Western Art Music section, Bloemfontein-born pianist Jan Hugo (22), who is currently based in Italy, blew the judges away with his virtuoso performance of four piano works and was declared the winner of the R170 000 scholarship in that category.

However, he faced a stiff challenge from the mesmerising musician Megan-Geoffrey Prins (also 22). The youngster from Riversdale in the Cape claimed the runner-up prize of R40 000 and cleaned up the subsidiary prizes, claiming the SAMRO/Flink Study Award of R28 000, the R6 500 SAMRO/Fisher Award and the R5 000 prize for the best performance of a prescribed work.

The musical duel in the two categories played out in front of an appreciative audience, who were constantly kept guessing about who the winners would be thanks to the high calibre of performance. The four finalists were captivating, showing all-round excellence on the keys, while being put through their paces with a selection of works of their own choosing as well as prescribed compositions.

The four had made it to the finals of this prestigious annual competition after first being evaluated based on original recordings they had submitted to SAMRO, and then competing against 10 of their fellow pianists in the intermediate round, held at the same venue two days previously.

The evening’s entertainment opened with the Western Art Music category, which saw Hugo performing Mozart’s Sonata No. 14 in C minor, KV. 457: I Molto Allegro, Rachmaninoff’s Etude Tableau Op. 39, No. 3 in F-sharp minor, Bartók’s Klänge der Nacht and Die Jagd from Im Freien, as well as the prescribed work, klavierstuk 2 by the late South African composer and 1972 SAMRO scholarship winner Roelof Temmingh.

Prins followed with a performance of Haydn’s Sonata in E-flat major, Hob. 52: I. Allegro (Moderato), Chopin’s Étude No. 5 in E minor, Op. 25, Hamelin’s Étude No. 9 in F minor: La Danza from Twelve Études, and the Temmingh prescribed work.

Then it was the turn of the Jazz/Popular Music finalists, and Dyer kicked off with renditions of Bheki Mseleku’s Cycle, Thelonious Monk’s Trinkle, Tinkle, Hoagy Carmichael and Johnny Mercer’s Skylark and the prescribed piece, Carlo Mombelli’s Quick Study No. 2.

Williams opted to perform Charles Lloyd’s Forest Flower, H Schiller’s Grassy Park, Herbie Hancock’s Dolphin Dance and the Mombelli composition. Both candidates were accompanied by Victor Masondo on double bass and Rob Watson on drums.

Other prizes handed out on the night to promising candidates who had made it through to the intermediate round but not the finals, were the Jazz/Popular Music merit award of R10 000 that went to Durban’s Sibusiso Mashiloane (29) and the Western Art Music merit award also of R10 000 that was given to Daniel Strahilevitz (24), who is originally from Johannesburg but it currently based in Israel. The SAMRO/De Waal study award of R7 000 was secured by jazz candidate Lifa Arosi (24), who hails from Johannesburg.

The SAMRO Overseas Scholarships have been awarded every year to deserving candidates since 1962. Presented by the SAMRO Foundation, which promotes music education and development in the country, these coveted awards have launched and elevated many a young musician’s career over the years.

They rotate on a four-yearly basis among different music disciplines: the 2013 awards rewarded keyboard players, while the 2014 scholarships will focus on composers, the 2015 competition on singers and the 2016 awards on instrumentalists.

For more information, email the SAMRO Foundation on samrofoundation@samro.org.za, visit www.samrofoundation.org.za, or follow @SAMROFoundation on Twitter or Facebook.