Laura Mvula

When a human being turns 18 years old, it is seen as a coming of age.

They usually finish their formative school years at that age. They join the struggle that we all now know as adulting. They are even finally able to legally imbibe. When the Cape Town International Jazz Festival (CTIJF) turns 18 next year, the world-renowned fest will have grown in leaps in bounds. Probably at a speed more impressive than a human being.

One of the ways in which that is evident is in the way the festival disregards trends and follows the heart of the music through its line-ups. Billy Domingo, who is the CTIJF’s director, said: “We are undergoing a musical renaissance, when different musical genres and performers are collaborating to create new sounds for new audiences who may come from different walks of life, but who all appreciate what music has to offer.

“The Cape Town International Jazz Festival has led the live musical journey on the African continent for the past 17 years, and now in our 18th, we are continuing to showcase new talent, new sounds, while staging them alongside music masters.

“I couldn’t be happier with this line-up as it’s a reflection of where we have come from, where we are now and where we are going.”

The much-anticipated announcement of the first batch of acts that will grace the various stages at CTIJF took place yesterday in Sandton. Without further ado, here’s who you can look forward to at the 18th annual CTIJF:



Jazz Funk Soul: Three players – Everette Harp (saxophone), Jeff Lorber (keyboard) and Paul Jackson jr (guitar) – from the US formed this supergroup to feed the appetite of fusion lovers.

Escalandrum: All the way from Argentina, this sextet are bringing a different vibe to the festival. It is helmed by Daniel “Pipi” Piazzola, a drummer who is also musician and tango composer, Astor Piazzola’s grandson.

En Vogue: Some say things haven’t been the same since singers, Dawn Robinson and Maxine Jones, left the group, but the current line-up of the American R&B/funk group, which is made up of Cindy Herron, Terry Ellis and Rhona Bennett, have successfully been touring like it was 1990.

Sekunjalo Edujazz Band: Under the direction of arranger and pianist, Andrew Ford, this young South African band keeps growing from strength to strength.



Siya Makuzeni: The South African musical maverick, trombonist, vocalist and composer was named this year’s Standard Bank Young Artist of the Year for Jazz.

Rudresh Mahanthappa: The American saxophonist will present his tribute album to Charlie Parker, which is entitled Bird Calls, at the CTIJF.

Skyjack: A Swiss and South African collaboration, Shane Cooper (bass), Kyle Shepherd (piano), Kesivan Naidoo (drums), Marc Stucki (sax) and Andreas Tschopp (trombone) play under the name, Skyjack.

Gretchen Parlato: As the first vocalist to be admitted to the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance, this American has established herself as one to watch.

Tune Recreation Committee: Hailing from South Africa, this collab band includes Mandla Mlangeni (trumpet) together with Keenan Ahrends (guitar), Nicholas Williams (bass) and Claude Cozens (drums).

Jonas Gwangwa and Friends: South African arts activist, veteran band leader and Oscar Award-nominee, Jonas Gwangwa, recruits a few of his friends for an unforgettable performance.

The Rudimentals: Long-standing South African group, The Rudimentals, celebrate a new body of work under their belt and bring reggae, rock and dancehall to the fest.



Laura Mvula: The UK-based singer-songwriter and MOBO (Music of Black Origin) Award winner has a new album out and she’s never performed on Mzansi soil.

Judith Sephuma: Her new album might be called One Word, but through song, this South African Afro-soul, gospel and jazz singer has much more to say.



Taylor McFerrin and Marcus Gilmore: Bobby McFerrin’s oldest son is a beatboxer, producer and keyboardist. He will perform alongside Gilmore, a drummer.

Dope Saint Jude: Capetonians will be glad to find that the homegrown rapper and social commentator, Dope Saint Jude, is also on the line-up.



Ernie Smith and VuDu: Smith, the multiple award-winning guitarist, will be joined by VuDu – which is made up of Sisanda “Sunda” Myataza (vocals), Kristo Zondagh (drums), Wesley Keet (keyboards) and Grant Allison (bass player) to fuse traditional jazz with contemporary genres. VuDu won the 2017 espYoungLegends competition.

Manu Dibango and Moreira Chonguica: Cameroon and Mozambique, respectively, combine with the fusion of sounds by the Grammy Award-nominated Dibango and the South African Music Award-winning Chonguica.

Marcus Wyatt, Ranjit Barot and Deepak Pandit: Wyatt is no stranger to collaboration and now, the South African trumpeter joins forces with Indian classical violinist, Pandit, and Indian drummer, Barot.

Soweto String Quartet: The veteran kwaijazz quartet recently lost Reuben “Ompie” Khemese, but the beat goes on with Sandile Khemese (violin), Thami Khemese (violin), Makhosini Mnguni (viola) and Themba Machobane, who will replace the fallen member.


• The Cape Town International Jazz Festival will take place at the Cape Town International Convention Centre – which has been revamped – Convention Square, 1Lower Long Street, from March 31 to April 1?. Weekend (R1 190) and day passes (R690) can be booked at Computicket outlets or online.