Naima Kay is set to perform at the first ever Jazz in July concert in Durban.

AS if Durban won’t already have enough going on over the Vodacom Durban July weekend, residents and visitors now have one more thing to add to their list of things to attend. The first annual Jazz in July concert will be taking place on Sunday, 2 July and will see some of the biggest names in jazz and afro-soul descend on Durban’s Botanical Gardens. The concert will feature performances by the legendary Ringo, Ray Phiri and Thandiswa Mazwai and multiple award winners Naima Kay, Zonke and Amanda Black. Also confirmed are old school greats Joe Nina and Robbie Malinga. Swaziland’s Sands Mondli will also be performing.

We spoke to award winning jazz artist, Naima Kay, who said she was excited to be apart of such a huge lineup. “Oh my goodness I am extremely excited to be performing, I actually can't wait to get on stage. Jazz in July is a big deal for me, I am going to be introducing my new songs to the audience,” she said.

Naima Kay released her third studio album, All about Love, late last year. “I named it All about Love because I have grown in love, I now understand what love is, it all makes sense to me now. And I know that might come across as being very deep for some people, and it absolutely is, but I didn’t want that to come across in the sound of this album. I wanted it to be vibey and happy but I also wanted it to be a true representation of what love is. So there are songs that aren’t the most cheerful, because love isn’t always cheerful, but overall it's a vibey album,” she said.

Kay said that her favourite song on the album is Ithuba, which was written by her brother. “My brother and I are very close, in fact he has influenced my love for music a lot. He is a producer and Dj. He wrote Ithuba for me in 2012, and I only released it in 2016. I just felt that it was perfect for All about Love and now was the time to release it.”

The young star said that plans are afoot to record a live dvd for All about Love. “I am more than ready to do a live dvd and that is in the pipeline for this year. I have put three albums out now and have won awards, I feel like now is the right time, people know of me and my music and my fans have been asking me to do a live dvd for a very long time. Doing a live dvd is not easy, there is so much that has to go into it and I am always busy and always booked so that’s why it’s also taken a while to get to this point,” Kay said.

The jazz singer also said that she was happy to see jazz concerts and festivals becoming an important part of South African culture. “I think that jazz has always been an important part of our culture, as a young jazz musician, I am happy that I get to put a modern spin on jazz music and people enjoy it. It’s really great that there are these sort of concerts and festivals that appreciate jazz music,” she said. She also said that even though she considers herself a jazz musician, she will definitely be looking at making music in other genres that suit her voice. “Jazz is my first love, no one can change that. However I have been privileged enough to write music for house dj’s, and for Afro pop and soul artists, so in the future I would love to look at making music in a different genre”.

Anyone attending the Jazz in July concert is encouraged to take their camping chairs, umbrellas and cooler boxes (free before 2pm, R100 thereafter). Several braai stands will be available on site so guests are also welcome to ‘bring and braai’. Hospitality marquees will also available.

Tickets are available from R290 – R850 from Computicket.