NIGHT birds came out in their hundreds last night to listen to UK jazz-funk band Shakatak on Greenmarket Square as this year’s Cape Town International Jazz Festival hit all the right notes.
Shakatak are known for their 1982 hit Night Bird among others.
Last night’s free concert was the start of the 15th international jazz festival hosted in the city. The main festival will run tomorrow and Saturday at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.
All tickets have already been sold out but a
lucky few won places in one of the six Urban Jazz Master Classes.
These are interactive classes where top performers will talk about their life in the limelight and reveal what it takes to perform and sell albums.
The classes will be hosted tomorrow and Saturday in the mornings and run into the early afternoons.
Tomorrow musicians like Graeme Gilfillan, Bianca le Grange, Amaru da Costa and Black Coffee will talk about “growing the industry” while Rakesha Chaurasia from India will teach the bamboo flute and US musician Kenny Garrett will present a saxophone lesson.
Kirk Whalum, John Stoddart and Shelea from the US will host a class on Saturday about the “not-so-short cuts to real success” in the music industry. The CTICC will play host to more than 40 acts performing on five stages over evenings.
This year the headline act is Texas-born Erykah Badu.
Other artists from the US, Australia, India and Mozambique will perform.
Badu’s groundbreaking debut, 1997’s Baduizm saw her winning two Grammys for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance and Best R&B Album.
South African artists like jazz trombonist legend Jonas Gwangwa, local vocalist Jimmy Nevis, Mi Casa and Black Coffee will also perform.
Festival organiser Rashid Lombard said this year’s line-up was great because they had listened to festival fans. “We think we’ve got an even more exciting – and crowd-pleasing – festival. After all, it is called Africa’s grandest gathering,” he said.
The City of Cape Town said it expected about 35 000 jazz enthusiasts to descend on the city. The event contributes more than R520 million to the local economy and creates about 2 700 temporary jobs.
Mayoral committee member for tourism, events and marketing Grant Pascoe said the festival was a highlight on the city’s events calendar.
He encouraged festivalgoers to stay longer.
Economic Development MEC Alan Winde said events like the festival had a significant impact on the province’s economy. “In the previous financial year, events generated R1.3 billion and attracted 196 600 tourists.”