Monday, 30 March 2009

For jazz festival, Cape Town hots up



BY CHUKS NWANNE

ALL is now set for this year’s edition of the annual Cape Town International Jazz Festival, scheduled for April 3 and 4 at the Cape Town International Convention Center, South Africa. By now, all the artistes billed to gig at the festival will be fine-tuning their songs towards the 10th edition of the show that has grown beyond the imagination of all, the founders inclusive.
Meanwhile, the community concert, part of the build–up to the festival proper, will again be held at Green-Market Square on April 1, with some of the top headliners for the main event billed to mount the stage. Performing at this popular, social and community gathering are 70s Soul group, the Stylistics, along with The Incredibles, Nomfusi, Claire Phillips and Pete Philly & Perquisite.
To complete this year’s lineup, organisers of the Festival revealed that Zaki Ibrahim will join the other 39 bands on stage. While she declined to categorize her music, what Zaki dishes out is a fusion of hip-hop, earthy soul, deep house, broken electro-acoustic beats with jazz-inflected vocal intonations. Still in her 20s, the Toronto-based South African singer has taken up as her mission, the creation of smooth hip-hop.
Born to an exiled South African father and Scottish mother, Zaki spent her early years shuttling between Cape Town and the city of Nanaimo on Vancouver Island in the British Columbia and Canada. She was drawn to hip-hop at early age and started to perform when she moved to British Columbia’s largest city, Vancouver.
Among other bands scheduled to perform include
Hugh Masekela (South Africa): Few local musicians do as Masekela does in taking South African music to the rest of the world. A member of the first jazz band to record an LP, Masekela consciously decided to focus during his exile on familiarising foreign audiences to local sounds. Since his return, this mission has not stopped. The 69-year old trumpeter travels and performs all over the world.
Freshlyground (South Africa): The seven-member outfit has come to represent what the new South Africa is all about. Not only is the band cosmopolitan in composition of its members, Freshlyground fuses various musical styles lacing familiar instruments such as drums, keyboard, guitar and saxophone with sounds of violin and mbira. The group participated at the first edition of the Lagos International Jazz Festival organised by Inspiro Productions.
340ml (Mozambique): The group describes its music as “Southern African contemporary sounds.” The four band members have worked hard to fuse reggae inflections with dub, ska, Latin and Mozambican marrabenta music. Now based in South Africa, the quartet keeps their music rooted Maputo beat.
Abigail Kubeka (South Africa): She has shared the stage with great singers such as Sarah Vaughan and Eartha Kitt. After Skylarks, an all-female vocal group led by Miriam Makeba in 1957at 16; Kubeka has remained one of the most revered vocalists in South Africa. She has worked to set the t stretch from jazz to cabaret. In addition to her singing abilities, the 67-year old artist has appeared in numerous films and theatre productions. Recently, Kubeka received the Order of Ikhamanga – the highest arts award in South Africa.
Cape Town Jazz Orchestra (South Africa): This is the first professional and city-wide jazz orchestra in post-apartheid South Africa. The 16-piece unit is a brainchild of the legendary pianist Abdullah Ibrahim. With the support from the Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) and under the baton of guitarist Alvin Dyers, the orchestra has the best of the Mother City’s young jazz talent.
Others are Carlo Mombelli & Prisoners of Strange (South Africa), Goldfish (South Africa), Jonathan Butler/Dave Koz Collaboration (South Africa/USA), Kyle Shepherd (South Africa), Magic Malik (France) and Mike del Ferro/Sibongile Khumalo/Shannon Mowday Collaboration (Netherlands/South Africa). Mos Def (USA), Napalma (Brazil), Ndumiso Nyovane (South Africa), Pete Philly & Perquisite Live Band (Netherlands), Dr Phillip Tabane (South Africa), Robert Glasper & The RCDC Experiment (USA), Shakatak (UK), Siphokazi (South Africa), Southpaw (South Africa), Stewart Sekuma (Mozambique) are also part of the lineup.
Unfortunately, after Femi Kuti, no other Nigerian band has participated in the festival since the inception.

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