Over the years, Nando’s has expanded our efforts to nurture and showcase Southern African creativity. We started with our artist development programmes and these have naturally grown to incorporate similar initiatives to support emerging designers and musicians.

On the music front, we partner with Bridges for Music, a non-profit organisation gathering key players from the music industry to support emerging talents and build new-age learning programmes.

The new Bridges for Music Academy campus is based in Langa, an informal settlement in Cape Town, and officially launched on 1 August 2019. We spoke to Bridges for Music founder, Valentino Barrioseta, to find out more.

Valentino has worked in the music industry for the last 20 years, doing everything from running some of the biggest nightclubs in the world, such as legendary Barraca in Valencia (Spain) and the globally renowned Amnesia in Ibiza, to founding a music and design magazine (LaMilk Magazine) and a record label (Barraca Music).

Now, he is focusing on others to find their way in the music industry. “The Bridges for Music programme is designed to equip future creative leaders with the necessary skills set to co-create their future,” he explains. “We use new-age methodologies like Theory U to create a field where our co-creators (students) can work visualising the emerging future and re-imagining it. We have 16 students enrolled in our music and entrepreneurship program, five of whom are sponsored by Nando’s. This first programme is a pilot that will serve us to start enrolling not only local students, but international students in 2020.”

Valentino says the curriculum includes music production and music business, but has a strong focus on mindfulness and entrepreneurship too. “Music is the magnet and acts as the thread throughout the whole programme, promoting interconnectedness and sparking creativity, and the mindfulness side helps the co-creators develop self-awareness and a more conscious approach to life,” he says. “In the entrepreneurship part of the programme, we expose the participants to all the opportunities existing in creative industries with a special focus on the music industry, and always looking at the possibilities they have to impact their communities as activists.”

Students are also exposed to guest speakers, including international artists and industry leaders from the Bridges for Music community.

“In 2020, we are aiming to see the first international students enrolling in the programme, creating a pioneering model based on the exchange of knowledge and culture through music,” Valentino says. “Nando’s involvement has helped us to speed up the process of impacting lives and taken the project to a new level, where the opportunities to create something world-class and pioneering are more exciting than ever. Their involvement has allowed the Bridges Academy to open its doors this year. Beyond that, the involvement of Tracy Lynch, Creative Director at the Nando’s Design Programme and the Spiers Art Trust, which manages the Nando’s art initiative programmes, has allowed the Academy to be an incredible showcase of Southern African art and design. We see Nando’s as the ideal partner to re-shape creative education and bring this concept to other areas in need.”

Valentino says he and his team are grateful for the support of Nando’s, along with other key players in the music industry, like Resident Advisor and Pioneer DJ, as well as all the artists who have visited to share their knowledge, from Ed Sheeran to Skrillex and Themba.

For more information on Bridges for Music, its Academy and how you can get involved, visit the website.