Legendary jazz duo, Letta Mbulu and Caiphus Semenya. Picture: Supplied
Legendary jazz duo, Letta Mbulu and Caiphus Semenya. Picture: Supplied

5 songs to celebrate International Jazz Day

By Thobile Mazibuko Time of article published Apr 30, 2020

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Growing up in my grandmother’s house in Mfolo, radio was the preferred form of entertainment because chores could still go on without any distractions. 

Sundays were dedicated to Metro FM because they played old school R&B and the night time was reserved for jazz. 

At the time, I didn't understand how people made songs with no lyrics even though it still sounded amazing

There was something soothing about the rhythm until I realised that just like house music, jazz also has vocal and instrumental songs. 

To celebrate International Jazz Day, I wanted to share some of the best memories of my favourite jazz artists.

Sipho Gumede

My grandmother played Sipho Gumede almost every day and "When Days Are Dark Friends Are Few" was my favourite. 

That song will forever be in my heart, it has no words but you can feel it talking to you. Everyone loves it. 

Ringo Madlingozi 

My father’s younger brother had a full collection of Ringo Madlingozi’s CD’s and since I spent most school holidays at his house, I was forced to listen to Ringo every day until the sounds of the talented Capetonian started to grow on me. When Baleka dropped in 2004, all the other albums took a back seat. It was on play 24/7 and I knew lyrics to every song, word for word. 

Oliver Mtukudzi

I wasn’t even born when 'Neria' dropped but Tuku did something with that song, his guitar game is elite and his voice is just as soothing. I don’t know the full meaning behind it but it still gives me goosebumps. However, I sometimes feel like "Todibangs more.

Letta Mbulu and Caiphus Semenya

I’d like to think that I’m not the only person who thinks Letta Mbulu and Caiphus Semenya sing better live than in the studio. I remember in 2017, driving back home at midnight after a fashion show in Sandton. I was a bit scared so I stopped by the garage, downloaded “Music in the Air” live performance album, and hit the road. One of the best drives ever! 

Jonas Gwangwa 

When I saw him perform for the first time at the Moretele Jazz Festival I understood why my cousin said she wanted him to play at her wedding. When he performed “Kgomo” I declared it as my wedding song, too. 

To celebrate jazz day with us, make sure you include these few songs on your playlist. You can thank me later.

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