Gabisile to present her fusion of classical music and jazz at Cape Town jazz fest

By Sam Spiller Time of article published Feb 23, 2020

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The Cape Town International Jazz Festival (CTIJF) is not only an event to see world-renowned artists, but it is also a glimpse of South Africa’s up-and-coming music talent.

Take 27-year-old Pretoria singer Gabisile “Gabi” Motuba for instance. She will present her fusion of classical music and jazz on the big stage.

“You can expect from my music a string influence as well as a heavy rhythmic influence,” she said. “The music has grown immensely from the recorded material, because through many live performances, I have been exposed to various interpretations of the music from my album, Tefiti.”

Motuba is one of 2 000 artists who make submissions annually to perform at the festival, an event that not only gives a boost to their careers, but also gives them access to both local and international media coverage and an audience of over 30 000 people. Thus, the festival conducts a rigorous selection process.

Festival director Billy Domingo said the selection process ensures that the festival stays true to its vision.

“We start by looking at the goal of the festival, which is to be as original as we can, as there are so many festivals for people to choose from while sticking to the core of the festival, which is jazz and jazz-related music,” he said.

“We must be sure to anchor our line-up with names who are historically popular choices both internationally and locally. South African festival-goers are fiercely loyal supporters of our local talent and so creating an environment where international and South African artists have the opportunity to headline is a priority.”

“CTIJF is a great festival. I have had the privilege of seeing and meeting great artists,” said Motuba.

Motuba recorded her debut album in 2015 titled Sanctum Sanctorium, and would go on to appear alongside drummer Tumi Mogorosi at the 2016 CTIJF.

“All our recurring artists are extremely relevant and current,” Domingo explained. “We have and will always have current artists whether they have performed before or not. On the occasion that an artist returns to the festival, it is because there has been popular demand for the artist and because they have released new and exciting material. Every new body of work should be celebrated and so one should not look at whether an artist is recurring but whether a new body of work is being showcased.”

Domingo also said that outreach and school projects were essential to promoting young musicians. This year, attendees at the Free Community Concert would be able to see the Wynberg Secondary School jazz band perform, following their involvement in the festival’s training and development programme.

“These young musicians have gone on to incredible heights, performing with some of the best local and international artists,” he said. “Master classes are incredibly important, where young artists relate to and interact with international artists. Our programme is all part of the tools young artists require to grow and find their careers in the music industry.”

Motuba said that her work is the result of watching and listening to those around her. “My music is in conversation with many other artists works in South Africa,” she said.

“As long as the festival showcases artists who are creating beautiful music that audiences want to experience, there will be artists who will want to perform on our stages,” Domingo concluded.

Tickets for the festival are available at Computicket.

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