first_imgTHIRTY YEARS AFTER HIS 1989 SANTA ANITA DERBY ROMP, BRILLIANCE OF WHITTINGHAM-TRAINED SUNDAY SILENCE HAS NOT DIMINISHED ARCADIA, Calif. (Sept. 12, 2019)–It’s been 30 years since Charlie Whittingham’s brilliant Sunday Silence parlayed victories in Santa Anita’s San Felipe Stakes and Santa Anita Derby to victories over eastern-based rival Easy Goer in the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Breeders’ Cup Classic, but even though three decades have passed, his achievements continue to rank as some of the most compelling in the annals of American racing.A near jet black colt by Halo, out of the California-bred multiple graded stakes winning mare Wishing Well, Sunday Silence was purchased for $32,000 out of the 1988 California March 2-year-old in Training Sale at Hollywood Park by a partnership that eventually included Whittingham, Earnest Gaillard and Arthur Hancock III.Born under a lucky star, Sunday Silence twice avoided death as a youngster, the first time as the result of a virus while still a yearling at Hancock’s Stone Farm in Kentucky and the second, when riding in a horse van at age two in California, as the driver suffered a heart attack, resulting in the van overturning.This proved to be a highly fortuitous mishap, as Hancock, who bred the colt, decided to let Sunday Silence stay in California with his old friend Whittingham, instead of shipping him back to Kentucky as was originally planned.Under Whittingham’s guidance, “Sunday,” as he was affectionately referred to by those close to him, would be center stage 14 months later as he and his impeccably bred eastern-based rival Easy Goer, would thrill the racing world as a result of their epic Triple Crown and Breeders’ Cup battles which enabled the sport to transcend racing’s narrow boundaries and become one of the world’s biggest sports stories in 1989.A free running horse with incredible natural speed, Sunday Silence was second, beaten a neck in his debut, a 6 ½ furlong maiden allowance at Santa Anita on Oct. 30, 1988.  He would break his maiden two weeks later on Nov. 13 at Hollywood Park, as he stretched out to win going a mile and one sixteenth under Patrick Valenzuela.Subsequently freshened by “The Bald Eagle,” Sunday Silence returned to action ready to roll on March 2 at Santa Anita, taking a 6 ½ furlong allowance in 1:15 2/5 over a sloppy track by 4 ½ lengths. From there, it was storybook time, as Sunday Silence and Valenzuela overcame an awkward start to team for a 1 ¾ length win in the 1 1/16 miles San Felipe (Grade II) on March 19 and a devastating 11 length romp in the Grade I Santa Anita Derby April 8.The second choice in the 1989 Kentucky Derby wagering at 3-1, Sunday Silence exploded off the turn for home over a muddy track at Churchill Downs to win by 2 ½ lengths over 4-5 favorite Easy Goer, thus setting the stage for one of the greatest Classic duels of all time in the Preakness Stakes two weeks later at Pimlico on May 20.In what Trevor Denman often referred to as the greatest race he’d ever called (prior to Zenyatta’s 2008 Breeders’ Cup Classic win at Santa Anita), “Sunday” and his arch rival Easy Goer, hooked up head and head at the five sixteenths pole, with Valenzuela applying outside pressure to Pat Day and his striking chestnut colt the length of the stretch.  In the end, it was Sunday Silence prevailing by a nose as Valenzuela celebrated wildly.Incensed, Day lodged a claim of foul for rough riding, by it was disallowed by the stewards, setting off cries of joy up and down the West Coast as the normally understated Whittingham prognosticated a Triple Crown sweep three weeks hence at Belmont Park.Alas, it wasn’t to be, as the huge, long striding Easy Goer seemed very much back at home on the big, sweeping Belmont turns and Sunday Silence had to settle for a non-threatening second, beaten eight lengths.With Horse of the Year and another Eclipse Award for top 3-year-old Male at stake, Sunday Silence and Easy Goer squared off for their fourth and final meeting in the 1989 Breeders’ Cup Classic. Staged in near-darkness at Gulfstream Park, it was Whittingham and Sunday Silence again, as Chris McCarron, who had replaced a suspended Valenzuela, orchestrated a desperate neck victory over the late charging son of Alydar before a massive television audience on NBC.(With Easy Goer dispatched as the 1-2 favorite, Sunday Silence was the second choice at 2-1 and paid $6.00 to win).Second to eventual Horse of the Year Criminal Type in the 1990 Hollywood Gold Cup, Sunday Silence was then retired, with earnings of more than $4.9 million. A winner of six Grade I stakes, Sunday Silence won a total of nine races from 14 starts and was second five times. Subsequently sold for $31 million, he spent his entire career at stud in Japan, where he became that nation’s leading stallion for a record breaking 13 consecutive years.A clear sensation in the Orient, Sunday Silence would also have a wider ranging international impact at stud, as he produced the winners of major stakes in Australia, England, Hong Kong, Dubai and the United States as well.Sunday Silence joined his trainer in the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 1996. One of the greatest horses to ever compete at Santa Anita, his legend was greatly enhanced by his rousing 11-length romp in the 1989 Santa Anita Derby and by the steady, reassuring influence of Santa Anita’s all-time leading stakes winning trainer, the great Charlie Whittingham.last_img read more

Norwegian delegation due in Guyana next week

first_imgA Norwegian technical team is due in Guyana next Tuesday for a series of engagements with the Guyana Government, the Ministry of Natural Resources said Tuesday in a statement.The team comprises officials from the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) and Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative.The focus of the April 26 to May 4, 2016 visit is to work with the Natural Resources Ministry, the Office of Climate Change (OCC), the Project Management Office (PMO), Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) and other stakeholders, “to improve capacity in executing the Joint Concept Note and taking advantage of REDD+ opportunities.”The statement said that since it took office in May, 2015, the Government of Guyana has been making steady progress towards creating a stronger agreement and better outcomes for Guyana’s green growth.“To date, the Government has facilitated several meetings and discussions with Norwegian Official,” it said.The statement said during a recent exchange with Minister of Natural Resources Raphael Trotman and Norway’s new Minister of Climate and Environment Vidar Helgesen recognised the efforts being made by government.“I would like to congratulate you on your initiative to review and make public all information on logging concessions,” the statement said.Minister Helgesen was also quoted as saying he was encouraged that the Guyana government intended to review the Amerindian Act, in close consultation with affected stakeholders.Minister Trotman, who has responsibility for the Guyana/Norway agreement is also encouraged by the progress to date and looks forward to the visit, which will continue to advance the partnership in a way that is supportive of Guyana’s “green growth” vision.Meanwhile, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo is quoted in other sections of the media as saying he will maintain his call for a suspension of the Guyana-Norway Partnership until Trotman apologises or an international probe is launched into his claim that the former People’s Progressive Party/Civic had given out all of Guyana’s productive forest.Trotman told Guyana’s National Assembly during the 2016 Budget debate in February that when the APNU/AFC (PPP/C) took office it found that all of the productive forests were allocated.The PPP/C has since rubbished the claims as “wild”.Guyana and Norway entered into the forest partnership back in 2009 and this country has already earned up to US0 million.Of that amount, US million has been transferred to the Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund (GRIF).US million has been transferred to the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) for the delayed Amaila Falls Hydropower Project.last_img read more

FIFA to choose North America or Morocco for 2026 World Cup

first_imgThe United States, Mexico and Canada are the frontrunners, boasting modern, established stadiums and well-developed transport links.Morocco’s bid exists largely on paper — many stadiums will need to be built and critics question how it will cope with a tournament that will be expanded to 48 teams in 2026.FIFA inspectors have classified the north African nation’s stadiums, accommodation and transport as “high risk”, awarding it just 2.7 out of five, with red flags raised over several critical aspects of the bid.A FIFA taskforce warned last month “the amount of new infrastructure required for the Morocco 2026 bid to become reality cannot be overstated”.The report left the US-Canada-Mexico bid as the clear front-runner after giving it a rating of four out of five.But the North American bid fears it could lose out if the vote essentially becomes a referendum on the popularity of US President Donald Trump.Bid leader Carlos Cordeiro has urged FIFA members to vote on the “merits” of the bid, not Trump’s divisive policies.“We believe strongly that this decision will be made on its merits,” Cordeiro said in a conference call. “This is not geopolitics, we’re talking about football and what is fundamentally, at the end of the day, the best interest of football and our footballing community.”The US lost out to Qatar in 2022 in a vote now tarnished by corruption allegations that spelled the beginning of the end of the once all-powerful FIFA president Sepp Blatter.It prompted a change in the rules. Whereas previously the 24 members of the FIFA executive committee used to determine World Cup races, the host will now be decided by a vote of individual FIFA member nations.FIFA President Gianni Infantino is believed to strongly support the North American bid because the three countries involved backed him for the presidency in 2016 when he took over after the reign of Blatter.Critics of the Morocco bid also point to the fact that the 2026 World Cup will be the first to be expanded to 48 teams, posing a severe test for the hosts.Bid leader Hicham El Amrani argues its 12 host cities are “very close to each other, with for example Casablanca a maximum 500 kilometres from another venue” compared to the vast distances involved in North America.France, in particular, has lobbied behind the scenes for French-speaking Morocco and the bid has the support of most of Africa in line with a call from the head of the Confederation of African Football, Ahmad Ahmad.It will likely need heavy support from European nations to pull off a shock win — and its proximity to Europe is a plus for many supporters.Aleksander Ceferin, the president of Europe’s governing body UEFA, says he has not directed his members which way to vote.“UEFA delegates are smart enough to choose what is best for football,” he told the BBC.Morocco has tried, and failed, four times before, in votes for the 1994, 1998, 2006 and 2010 tournaments — it lost out in the latter to South Africa, the only African nation ever to have hosted football’s global showpiece.North American bid leaders countered by promising to deliver a record $11 billion profit.0Shares0000(Visited 2 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Delegates attend the 68th FIFA Congress at the Expocentre in Moscow © AFP / Mladen ANTONOVMOSCOW, Russian Federation, Jun 13 – FIFA members vote Wednesday on whether to award the 2026 World Cup to a slick North American bid or to Morocco, which has African support to bring football’s showpiece event back to the continent.On the eve of the 2018 World Cup, delegates from 207 nations gathered in Moscow are faced with a clear choice.last_img read more

Messi, the superstar illuminating a small Russian town

first_img0Shares0000Lionel Messi and Argentina have sprinkled stardust over a small Moscow town not used to such celebrity © AFP/File / JUAN MABROMATABRONNITSY, Russian Federation, Jun 15 – Lionel Messi’s arrival in Bronnitsy, a quiet town with 20,000 residents some 50km southeast of Moscow, has brought an unprecedented level of attention to a place most renowned for its Archangel Michael cathedral.But as the euphoric shouts echoing around a temporary stand suggests, its selection as Argentina’s team base camp has transformed it into one of the epicentres of the World Cup. Flags bearing Messi’s face hang over barriers, while a giant mural of the Barcelona star towers above the people of Bronnitsy as they come to terms with the intense spotlight now fixated on their hometown.Never has it been subjected to such scrutiny, and perhaps never again will this town founded in the middle of the 15th century attract such global recognition.Around 400 fans flocked to Argentina’s base camp on Monday for the team’s first open training session, each and every one desperate to steal a glimpse of Messi in the flesh.None of them were yelling “Aguero”, “Mascherano” or “Higuain”. They were all waiting for Messi to emerge from a building by the training ground and began to eagerly chant his name.“Messi! Messi!” they screamed, trying to draw the attention of the five-time Ballon d’Or winner. He duly obliged, staying behind to sign autographs and posing for photos at the end of the hour-long session, during which his every touch was warmly applauded.The bleachers were full to overflowing and trembled with emotion. But supporters there weren’t the only ones who didn’t want to miss out, Argentina’s ambassador to Russia, Ernesto Lagorio, was also in attendance.“It was great, it went very well, it’s been a nice afternoon,” he told AFP.Others like physical education teacher Lucas Ledezma, who waited for the team’s bus to arrive last Saturday, repeated that same sentiment.“We dream that we can do it, I think it’s a World Cup the national team deserves, that Messi deserves and that all us Argentines deserve,” said the 30-year-old Ledezma, who left the Argentine city of Cordoba in on January 5 and cycled 14,000km to follow the Albiceleste.– ‘Painting a legend’ –A larger-than-life version of Lionel Messi greets passers-by in Bronnitsy © AFP/File / JUAN MABROMATAIf anything is on a par with Messi these days it could be the enormous mural of him that stares out at passers-by on one of the streets adjacent to Bronnitsy’s main road.“When I was painting Messi, I was painting a legend of my time. Messi is one of the best players (in the world),” said 29-year-old street artist Sergey Erofeev, who was commissioned to redesign the wall after winning a competition.Erofeev, still with paint splattered on his trousers and in broken Spanish that he only recently learned, confessed he has a dream of his own.“I want Messi to come and see my work,” he said.Close to Argentina’s training base is a house that has been converted into a makeshift sports bar serving “Mate Listo”, a version of the caffeine-packed drink popular in South America.It’s impossible to walk through Bronnitsy without hearing Messi’s name, mostly in conversations between locals, and his image is everywhere you turn.Only his presence, and the stringent security surrounding him, have managed to alter an otherwise peaceful day in a town that has openly welcomed the striker despite struggling to get close to him.0Shares0000(Visited 3 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

California air regulators adopt new global warming standards

first_img Although they approved the regulations by an unanimous vote, several board members warned against moving too quickly on what they described as incremental rules. They suggested the board take a more a comprehensive, industrywide approach when it crafts future global warming regulations. “There is a greater chance to miss an unintended consequence, and that is a big concern of mine,” said board member Sandra Berg, who is also president and chief executive officer of a paint company based in Los Angeles. The new measures would require: Vehicles serviced for a tune up, smog check or oil change, to leave the shop with fully inflated tires. Gas-guzzling trucks and trailers to be fitted with aerodynamic devices like shield guards that are designed to make them more fuel efficient. Cargo ships docked at ports to turn off their engines and use electrical outlets for power. A ban on the chemical sulfur hexafluoride, which is used to make aluminum, magnesium and semiconductors. More stringent rules on using the greenhouse gas perfluorocarbon, which is used to make microchips and circuit boards. Changing the kinds of propellants that are used in spray cans. In addition to the mandatory regulations, the board is also pursuing 35 other so-called early action measures that consumers and business could take on their own. One of the biggest items was the adoption Thursday of forestry standards crafted last year by the California Climate Action Registry, a nonprofit group created by the state seven years ago. The standards provide a method for land owners to measure how much carbon is be stored when forests are conserved, management practices are improved or trees are planted in areas where forests once grew. “When it comes to offsets of carbon sequestering, there are a lot of cowboys out there,” said Diane Wittenberg, president of the California Climate Action Registry. “We spell out how a project can measure reductions and certify those reductions.” The new forestry program will be limited to lands managed by nonprofit organizations, which critics complained was a small slice of the state’s forest lands. Regulators said they would address industrial forest lands, public lands and urban forests in later rules.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m. The new suite of global warming regulations – coupled with three other initiatives adopted in June – could prevent an estimated 16 million metric tons of greenhouse gases from going into the air, according to an analysis by the Air Resources Board. That’s about 9 percent of the target California is trying to reach under its 2006 global warming law to cut emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. “I think this set of measures we put out there is a big bite,” said board chair Mary Nichols. It’s a much broader goal than initially was proposed earlier this year by the board. Regulators decided to expand the list after board members and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger were criticized by Democrats and environmentalists for moving too slowly to implement California’s global warming law. The additional regulations will come at a cost of billions of dollars for those who will be forced to buy new equipment or change how they do business, said Matthew Schrap, environmental affairs manager at the California Trucking Association. SACRAMENTO — Car tires must be fully inflated, trucks fitted with aerodynamic devices and cargo ship engines silenced when docked at port under global warming proposals adopted Thursday by state air regulators. The California Air Resources Board approved six new mandates that manufacturers, shipping and trucking companies will be asked to follow beginning 2010 as a way to help the state get an early start at cutting greenhouse gases. The board also approved rules that nonprofit groups must follow if they want to get credit for growing trees or changing how private forest lands are managed to store carbon dioxide. “We see a lot of proposals and schemes on paper to reduce emissions, but it’s in California where rules are being put in place to reduce greenhouse pollution,” said Bill Magavern of Sierra Club’s Sacramento division who testified in favor of the regulations.last_img read more

Napoli preparing a raid of their own on Chelsea with £26m defender bid

first_imgNapoli are prepared to pay Chelsea £26million for David Luiz.The defender fell out of favour under Antonio Conte last season and made just four appearances since the start of 2018.The 31-year-old is now ready to leave Chelsea for a second time in his career and was recently linked with a sensational move to Arsenal.However, according to Italian publication, Il Mattino, it is Serie A side Napoli who are leading the race for Luiz.New manager, Carlo Ancelotti who managed the Blues between 2009 and 2011, has prioritised signing a centre-back and is ready to raid his old club to get his man.Napoli president, Aurelio De Laurentiis, is now set to make contact with Luiz and Chelsea to see if a deal can be struck.The Italian club have set aside £26m for the transfer and believe that will be enough to get it over the line.Luiz has been at Chelsea since being re-signed for £34m in 2016, two years after joining Paris Saint-Germain for a reported £50m.last_img read more

Some Chelsea fans call on Maurizio Sarri to make Olivier Giroud No.1 striker

first_imgGreat finish it’s an absolute no brainer that he starts in front of Morata #giroud #cfc— Risey 99 (@Risey99) November 29, 2018 tense This better be the night Sarri decides to start Giroud and sell Morata in January! Giroud proves every single time he deserves to start. He shows passion… desire to win unlike Morata. I also hope Fabregas stays 👍🏻 Good job team @ChelseaFC #CFCvPAOK #cfc #EuropaLeague— Desiree (@desireereyes1) November 29, 2018 However, Giroud’s exploits have caused these Chelsea fans to make it very clear who they feel should be the No.1 striker, particularly with their west London derby at home to Fulham on Sunday.Below you can see some of the best Giroud tweets, with many of them stating Maurizio Sarri should start him ahead of Morata. Green reveals how he confronted Sarri after Chelsea’s 6-0 defeat at Man City Tottenham issue immediate ban to supporter who threw cup at Kepa I honestly give up if we play Morata over Giroud against Fulham. #CFC— Jake Heasman (@jakeheasman) November 29, 2018 Giroud has always been our number one striker, leave Morata on the bench from now on please #cfc #CFCvPAOK— Wade Sargent (@Wade_Sargent99) November 29, 2018 He also stuck a penalty away on international duty with France earlier this month to move ahead of Zinedine Zidane in the charts with his 32nd strike for Les Bleus.And the tall frontman has been in sharp form in Chelsea’s Europa League match against Greek side PAOK at Stamford Bridge – scoring two goals.Giroud’s first saw him sweep the ball into the bottom corner from the right and his second saw him latch onto Cesc Fabregas’ exquisite chip and lash home the volley giving the keeper no chance.The lack of firepower going forward is something that has haunted Chelsea ever since Antonio Conte told Diego Costa he was no longer part of his plans at the end of the 2016/17 season, with Giroud and to a larger extent Alvaro Morata unable to emulate the likes of Costa or club legend Didier Drogba’s form. Chelsea fans are running out of patience for Morata Lampard appears to aim dig at Mourinho for handling of Salah and De Bruyne at Chelsea REVEALED Giroud Hat Trick pls & to start over Morata in the Prem until we get a world class striker in Jan 🙂 #CFC— 2WO 5IVE (@RILEY25) November 29, 2018 gameday cracker REVEALED shining Giroud needs a few tonight ready to play at the weekend.Morata cannot play. #CFC— Geoff Barnes (@Geoff_Barnes) November 29, 2018center_img Giroud celebrates his second goal of the night 2 JIBE Giroud playing like a man who wants to banish Morata to the shadow realm. Keep it up fella! #CFCvPAOK #CFC— Kevin (@KevinKT29) November 29, 2018 REAL DEAL Boxing Day fixtures: All nine Premier League games live on talkSPORT Latest Chelsea FC News punished They’re coming like buses now.Olivier Giroud couldn’t buy a goal three weeks ago but now he’s got the scoring touch back with four strikes in his last three appearances for Chelsea. Premier League Team of the Season so far, including Liverpool and Leicester stars Where Ancelotti ranks with every Premier League boss for trophies won 2 Real Madrid ‘offer’ Isco to Chelsea in bid to ‘make room’ for Tottenham star One thing is for sure. Giroud >> Morata!! #CFC— ☀️deep (@Sandyp132) November 29, 2018 Which teams do the best on Boxing Day in the Premier League era? last_img read more


first_imgA judge has told a Falcarragh man he needs to get straight ‘A’s in his probation report when he comes before him again or he could face jail.Manus Doohan, 19, of Ballina, appeared at Falcarragh District Court charged with a number of offences including assault and causing criminal damage.They included striking the owner of Josie’s Bar, Josie Gallagher, and also putting a gas cylinder through the window of a taxi-rank after asking local Gardai to arrest him. On another occasion, Doohan, the youngest of five boys, was found in a ditch by Gardai and claimed he had been the victim of a hit and run and was seriously injured.But when Garda traveled to Letterkenny General Hospital to check on him, they discovered he had not been injured at all.Solicitor Patsy Gallagher told the court that drink was the problem with his client but that he had been dry since last July and hadn’t gone out since.The court was told that Doohan was facing a total of 23 charges before the court.Judge Paul Kelly said a number of those charges related to offences which were committed on bail for other offences.“I heard all this in April 2011 and I decided he was a young man worthy of being given an opportunity to see how things go but within a month he is engaged in assault and public order matters.“You are building up a lot of trouble for yourelf and given numerous opportunities to adjust your behaviour but you seem determined to throw it back in our faces. You are on bail and it doesn’t seem to be changing,” said Judge Kelly.He adjourned the matter until April 17th but warned Doohan it was his final chance.“I am strongly considering a custodial sentence for the offence committed on bail. If his behaviour is good I might be persuaded to suspend it but depends on him getting straights A’s in his probation report and that he is doing something about alcohol,” warned the judge.* Comments on this article are closed as the case is ongoing.JUDGE TELLS FALCARRAGH MAN HE NEEDS STRAIGHT ‘A’s OR FACE JAIL was last modified: January 17th, 2013 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:assaultcourtcriminal damageFalcarraghJudge Paul KellyManus Doohanlast_img read more


first_imgANTI-Irish Water protestors take to the streets of Donegal again tomorrow – not knowing just yet how forced Government u-turn has affected the appetite for further widespread protests.There will be protests on Saturday afternoon in Letterkenny, Carndonagh, Ballybofey Castlefinn and Gaoth Dobhair.“We are giving the people of Donegal the opportunity to send a clear and unequivocal message to the Government that we want water charges abolished now,” said Cllr Gary Doherty from Donegal Right2Water. Doherty has been leading protests against water meter installations in east Donegal in recent weeks.The protest locations are designed to maximise the number of people coming out onto the streets – ahead of another ‘mass rally’  in Dublin next month. PROTESTORS HOPE GOVERNMENT U-TURN WON’T DAMPEN SATURDAY’S DONEGAL WATER PROTESTS was last modified: November 28th, 2014 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:donegalIrish Waterprotestslast_img read more

Malunga follows the music

first_imgA classically trained pianist and cellist who has put in years as an entertainment lawyer, Unathi Malunga is adding new notes to her score. She is studying orchestral conducting, and plans to be the first black African woman to conduct a professional orchestra. Unathi Malunga found success as an entertainment lawyer, now she is working to be one of a handful of women orchestral conductors. (Image: Gavin van Haght) • Art helps children paint a better future• Bringing music to the youth• The joy of music reigns in Kinshasa’s veins • Luthando Jackson is a mini music maestro• A Pretty amazing talent Sulaiman PhilipThere is a photograph of Unathi Malunga, taken on a plane, the score of the Magic Flute open in the cramped space between rows of seats. She is conducting an orchestra only she can hear. It captures so much of who she is: committed, enthusiastic, passionate and engaged, but most of all, a dreamer.Her laugh is musical, charming and self-effacing. “It’s a skill a conductor needs,” she says, “to be able to read the music notes, musical line and know what it will sound like. I can hear the music when I read a score. I can auralise it, hear the whole orchestra in my head.”Malunga will become the first black African woman to complete the orchestral conducting course at Stellenbosch University. She is on track to become one of the few female conductors and, as far as we know, the first black woman to join the ranks of professional orchestral conductors.Conducting an orchestra is about leading a team. It is the art of combining the interpretation and experience of many musicians, guiding that diversity to create a single harmonised experience. “What turns a score into a performance is not the notes. It’s the shaping of the notes. Do you want to highlight the call and answer between the flute and the clarinet? The musicians can play the notes; it’s the conductor who has a vision of how a particular performance should be interpreted, how to make it beautiful. It’s about that team making the music.”Her personal story is a compelling one. In front of our bedroom mirrors is where most people’s musical dreams begin. It is also where they usually fade. Not for Malunga, whose mother chose the schools she attended based on their ability to nurture her musical ambitions. She is a classically trained cellist and pianist, but she found success as an entertainment lawyer before answering the call to return to music.Malunga began playing classical piano at six, the cello a little later, and knew early on that classical orchestral music was always going to be an important part of her life. “I love the way instruments blend together. I love the way composers blend instruments. I just love the sound those instruments make.”It was always in her, this love of classical music. And she says it has everything to do with being exposed to it from an early age, and the way that the music is able to touch on eternal themes such as love, friendship and tragedy.She – and she laughs as she says it – bought into the myth of the starving artist. After finishing matric (with two music subjects, subject music and cello performance) she chose to study law at Rhodes. “I’m ashamed to say I bought into the starving artist myth. I chose law and entertainment law was the perfect way of blending the two.”Despite success as a lawyer – she worked on the opening and closing ceremony of the 2010 World Cup, on the African Union 50th celebrations and the movie Blood Diamond– she was beginning to find music more compelling than the law, a score more interesting than a statute. Music, she says, is visceral. You can touch the emotion.Something was missing from her life. “My friends were saying it was babies and I would say ‘No, it’s not that.’ It was music that was missing in my life. That was the call that was growing stronger every day.”Malunga went back to Rhodes to study music education and to retrain what she calls her ear, although she points out that she did not retrain her ear at Rhodes. “I’m retraining my ear now at Stellenbosch.” It is a most important tool for any musician. One of her electives was conducting, which is when her path became clear.She wants to be the first black African woman to conduct a professional orchestra, but would be just as pleased if another stole a march on her. She speaks passionately about widening the audience for classical music, about diversifying the voices and widening the conversation about its place in society. She wants to prove it’s not an exclusive, restricted club.She mentions a recent, well-supported performance by renowned soprano Pretty Yende sponsored by Wiphold (Women’s Investment Portfolio Holdings Limited), the many orchestral programmes run in townships and the classical music heritage of some black families such as the Nkuna and Masote families. There have always been black people who have loved classical music.“I mentor young black women as an entertainment lawyer – not past tense! I still am one – women who now have someone to show them the way. I have seen the hunger. I have seen what it means to have someone show you it’s possible. So if I am the first black African woman conductor, great; if not, at least my journey, and it has been a painful personal journey, shows other women it is possible.”One day, Malunga hopes she will get to conduct all the Beethoven symphonies – there are nine of them and just over six hours of music. Along the way she will discover new composers and be reminded old favourites. She will still continue to jive to kwaito or Motown, but it’s not the kind of music that really moves her. Asked whether she “sees the music” when listening to other genres, she answers: “I don’t see the music; I just feel the beat. It doesn’t get into my soul. It has purely entertainment value for me.”Not like orchestral music. When they fly, when they take off together, an orchestra is truly moving. “I had to make choices when I was growing up. While my friends played, I practised. As a child it’s difficult to see the end result of that sacrifice, but I see it now. And I wouldn’t change anything.”last_img read more