With the 20th celebration of Cape Town International Jazz Festival (CTIJF) this weekend, music lovers are spoilt for choice. There are over 40 artists in the line-up, some performed on Friday night, and the rest will perform on Saturday night at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC).
The jazz festivities began on Wednesday with a free concert held at Greenmarket Square in the CBD, followed by a glamorous Fashion and All That Jazz gala dinner on Thursday evening.
The fashion and dinner gala is an initiative by Southern African Clothing and Textile Workers' Union (SACTWU) in collaboration with Wear SA, an umbrella body that promotes locally manufactured clothing. The aim of the dinner is to celebrate the textile industry and to promote local designers who are fighting hard to survive the tsunami of fast fashion. Held at the CTICC, guests enjoyed a three-course meal while enjoying fashion shows by Magents, Blue Collar White Collar, Keedo Kids, Plus Fab , Cenza and live music and dance acts.
The festival headline act is US soul diva Chaka Khan arrived in the Mother City on Thursday morning dressed in black and tossing about her trademark maroon locks.
With an illustrious career spanning 40 years, Khan has collaborated with many artists, from Ray Charles to the late Whitney Houston. But it seems it’s her love of hip hop that gets her the most excited.
"Hip hop is second nature to me. I grew up in Chicago listening to the Lost Poets. I lived with rap, so getting involved was a natural progression for me. It’s communication and connecting with people through the word," she said during a press conference. Khan performed at the festival last night at the Kippies stage.
London based saxophonist and composer Nubya Garcia was also last night’s favourite. Garcia and her accompanying band are one of the international acts at this year’s jazz festival.
Coming from a musical family, her eldest siblings grew up playing classical music, as did she. But she moved on to playing jazz when she was nine or 10. She does, however, give credit to other bands that have influenced her musical style, including United Vibrations and A Thousand Kings.
*4 artists to look out for on Saturday at the CTIJF
1. Ntsika Ngxanga: A member of a capella group, The Soil Ngxanga has gone solo and has released his debut album titled “I write what I dream”. For tonight’s performance at the Moses Molelekwa stage he says he hopes to teleport the festival lovers to a spiritual world they never even knew existed. “It will be an emotive performance and it will leave people with so much joy and pride.”
2. Don Laka at Kippies. Don is a legend who, born in 1958 in Pretoria, suffered first -hand the horrors of apartheid. Refused entry to university he taught himself to play classical guitar and recorded his own record label. He has written many musical arrangements for top artists from Ray Phiri to the late and great Brenda Fassie.
But it is his influence on the jazz scene and his remarkable ability to fuse genres that is his major influence in the world of music. He has helped pioneer kwaito music and developed kwaai music - a fusion of kwela, marabi, soul, jazz and classical music. His concert promises to be a total auditory treat.
3. Ibrahim Khalil Shihab 9 pm at Rosie's. Born Chris Schilder this is a jazz icon to be reckoned with. He started his amazing musical career at age 14, playing at the Normandy nightclub in Rondebosch, Cape Town. In the 1970s, he started the group Pacific Express, rooted in the Cape Flats, which had a cult following defying apartheid laws but also suffered aggression and antipathy for breaking the harsh laws of the day.
4.Gypsy Kings at Kippies: Performing for the first time in South Africa, French-Spanish band consisting of Nicolas Reyes and Tonino Baliardo, is ready to entertain.
* The CTIJF kicks-off on Saturday night with the Sekunjalo Edujazz Band at 5 pm on the Basil “Manenberg” Coetzee stage. For more information visit www.capetownjazzfest.com.