Last spring, the inductees for the inaugural Georgia State 40 Under 40 Alumni Awards included School of Music graduate Darren English (M.A.’14), recognized as one of most influential young graduates to represent Georgia State. Influential indeed and rightfully so, as the Cape Town-born trumpeter received a 2018 Global Peace Song Award for his song “Pledge of Peace” in the jury voted jazz music category. English wrote the song in honor of freedom fighter and South African president, Nelson Mandela, and shared the award dedication in memory of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.
The artist learned of the recent passing of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela soon after receiving the 40 Under 40 Awards and just prior to Global Peace Song Awards ceremony which took place in April at the First Congregational Church of Los Angeles.
“I felt it only fitting to dedicate the Global Peace Song Award to Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s life and legacy together with Nelson Mandela,” said English. “I’m extremely grateful to have received the award, especially this being Mandela’s centenary birth year. My heartfelt thank you to all who have supported us on this journey.”
The song “Pledge for Peace” is the second movement of a 3-part suite from the Darren’s debut album Imagine Nation (Hot Shoe Records). The first movement is the title track “Imagine Nation” and the third movement “The Birth” evokes the birth of a new nation, one without apartheid and racism. The album features trumpeters Russell Gunn and Joe Gransden, vocalist Carmen Bradford (Count Basie Orchestra), saxophonist Greg Tardy, pianist Kenny Banks Jr, drummer Chris Burroughs, bassist Billy Thornton and the recorded voice of Nelson Mandela.
Imagine Nation was on the official ballot for the 2017 Grammy Awards and nominated for Best Jazz Album for the 2017 SAMAs (South African Music Awards).
The Global Peace Song Awards is a ProjectPeaceOnEarth.org initiative designed to create awareness about music’s power to inspire and create peace.