Experience vibrancy of jazz’s Heels over Head

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TO NDR Heels over head

JAZZY and snazzy – this is the great combination of qualities that the four-piece all-women band Heels over Head embody perfectly.

When I heard they were a jazz band, I was expecting to see the usual crowd of people in their mid-40s and more.

However, I was pleasantly surprised to see a mixture of age groups all coming together for the pure love and appreciation of their music.

And, as I guess you’ve figured out, Heels over Head are not your everyday jazz band. They’re dynamic and have real star quality that shines through when they perform.

The fantastic foursome from Durban are: Thulile Zama and Nomkhosi Mazibuko (vocals), Lindelwe Ngonelo (keyboards and piano) and Rebekah Pillay on drums.

Speaking at one of their rehearsals at the University of KZN Jazz Centre, they explained what their music represented and who they were as artists.

“The core of our music is contemporary jazz,” they said.

“We’re all young, so we are influenced by other genres as well, like gospel and soul. So we sponge off all genres but our music is very South African.

“It’s almost a bridge. It’s so accessible to the young generation as well as the older group.

“Generally, young people shy away from it because mostly older people enjoy jazz, but our gigs are so different in that they are colourful and vibrant and it’s for everyone. A truly South African audience attends.”

From performing at the International Convention Centre in Durban to featuring at the SA Jazz Education Conference at the University of Cape Town, Heels over Head have come a long way since they won the Yamaha competition, which recognises outstanding young musicians in classical, jazz and contemporary music.

Being nominated in the Best Contemporary Jazz category for the MTN SA Music Awards has also been a great highlight.

Zama says: “Sometimes you’re still in disbelief when something so huge happens to you. We were nominated for the award along- side really talented artists, so it feels unreal. It just shows that hard work does pay off.”

For the group, being on stage and performing for their fans is the best experience and they consider it their calling.

“The biggest crowd we performed to was at the final night of the World Cup at South Beach main stage,” said Zama and Mazibuko.

“That gig was just filled with adrenalin. It was madness... but the cool thing is that people are always bringing new people and, in that way, more people know about us.

“We love making the circle bigger. It just feels like home when we’re on stage.”

On stage, the group are powerful and dynamic, show- casing their immense talent with ease. Lead vocalist Zama has an amazing voice and the entire group is bubbly, delivering a great and interactive show.

Their work uses different languages, such as English, Zulu and Swati, making them versatile and easily accessible to fans.

All in all, Heels over Head are sure to take the SA music industry by storm.

• Catch the phenomenal Heels over Head tonight at Howard College UKZN, at the Centre for Jazz and Popular Music, Level 2, Shepstone at 6pm. Tickets R35; R20 for pensioners; R10 students. On Saturday, August 25, at the Jazzy Rainbow, and August 31 at Live – The Venue.


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