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Aside from the high standard of international artists to appear at this year’s Standard Bank Joy of Jazz, there is also an exciting South African line-up. The local artists set to perform include the fabulous Zonke on Friday night when the festival really starts.
Having recently watched her again at the Sony showcase, this fiery singer is on top of her game. She has grown in confidence which, in turn, has resulted in an even stronger live show. Zonke is having fun on stage, teasing her audience with her wicked wit in between singing her big hits. She is fast on the trail of the queen of South African music, Lira. Zonke will be heard on the Mbira stage.
Another top South African female singer, Sibongile Mngoma, will also be a highlight on Friday night. Her big honeyed voice will have jazz heads in a state.
Then there is the legendary Themba Mkhize. I always love watching him perform. Not many musicians can rival him in intensity, sensitivity and intelligence when he is on stage.
The gospel voice of Swazi Dlamini is always a joy to experience.
On Saturday night look out for Adam Glasser, a jazz musician who happens to play the harmonica. Although based in the UK, his sound is still very much Afro-jazz.
Stimela make a welcome return and another South African legend, Abdullah Ibrahim, will open the festival.
A beautiful and emotional experience should be Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse’s tribute to the late Zim Ngqawana, while Kabomo has fast become a regular feature at all major South African jazz festivals. Asanda Bam is a rising star on the music scene and is well worth checking out.
Tomorrow night the festival begins with three of the top artists at the festival including Ibrahim who is always a firm favourite with South African audiences.
The two other artists are Amina Figarova who replaces Ahmad Jamal and Terence Blanchard from the US.
• The Standard Bank Joy of Jazz takes place in Newtown and is expected to attract more than 20 000 people. If the tickets (R300 to R450, Computicket) is too steep, but you still want to be part of the event, then Nikki’s Oasis in Sophiatown and Shikisha have undiscovered gems. And besides the great music a bonus is that its free entrance.