Samthing Soweto. Picture: Supplied

Celebration of 21 years of South Africa’s most well-loved festival next year the Cape Town International Jazz Festival made the first announcement of artists on Thursday.

Lighting up the stage at Africa’s Grandest Gathering will be some of the best local and international music icons.  

Including PJ Morton from the USA, Jacob Collier from the UK, Abdullah Ibrahim, Jonathan Butler – with special guest Candy Dulfer from the Netherlands, Kwetu Trio (featuring Aaron Rimbui, Herbie Tsoaeli and Ayanda Sikade), Lira, Mandisi Dyantyis, MF Robots from the UK and South Africa’s Nduduzo Makhathini.

More top artists will be announced ahead of the Cape Town International Jazz Festival (CTIJF), which will take place on 27 and 28 March 2020 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC).

Picture: Supplied

Over the last two decades, the CTIJF has brought some of the greatest names in jazz and jazz-related music to the Mother City, with 2 649 musicians taking to the festival stage over the years.

Joining South African jazz legend Jonathan Butler on stage is Dutch saxophonist Candy Dulfer. 

The Grammy-nominated Butler draws on a vast repertoire, while constantly exploring new genres. Dulfer has performed with musicians such as Dave Stewart, Prince, Van Morrison, Lionel Richie, Chaka Khan, among others.

Kenyan-born Aaron Rimbui is a self-taught pianist, keyboardist, drummer, bandleader, producer, and composer. In 2017, Rimbui joined South African jazz icons Herbie Tsoaeli on bass and Ayanda Sikade on drums to create the Kwetu Trio.

Jacob Collier has been dubbed as one of the most innovative musicians of his generation. 

A self-described autodidact, Jacob taught himself to play over a dozen instruments in his music room in London. In 2012, he began making YouTube videos which have achieved legendary status in the music world, attracting the praise of such luminaries as Herbie Hancock, David Crosby, Steve Vai, and Quincy Jones, who manages Jacob to this day. 

MF Robots (Music For Robots) is a soulful project by the Brand New Heavies founder Jan Kincaid. The drummer, songwriter and producer has teamed up with vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Dawn Joseph.

Grammy Award winner PJ Morton is the busiest man in R&B. Alongside performing with pop powerhouse Maroon 5 and collaborating with the likes of Stevie Wonder, Solange, and Erykah Badu. 

Joining these international acts in celebrating 21 years of the finest jazz is some of the best home-grown talent that South Africa has to offer.

Abdullah Ibrahim, South Africa’s most distinguished pianist and a world-respected master musician, has toured the world extensively for more than a quarter-century. 

Songstress Lira, whose music career spans 15 years and includes six studio albums and three live DVDs, has established herself as one of South Africa’s foremost female artists and a formidable presence on the global music scene.

Port Elizabeth trumpeter and vocalist Mandisi Dyantyis blends traditional gospel with new age Afro-pop to create an award-winning sound for jazz lovers.  His album Somandla was nominated for Jazz Album of 2019 at the SAMAs.

The Ndlovu Youth Choir, who won hearts across the globe when they appeared on "America's Got Talent", have been performing to sold out shows on their first international tour. 

KwaZulu-Natal jazz musician Nduduzo Makhathini was raised in a musical family, where his love for music began at an early age. He completed his Diploma in Jazz Piano in 2005, and a decade later was awarded the 2015 Standard Bank Young Artist Award. 

“Since its inception, the Cape Town International Jazz Festival has been a platform to showcase emerging and established talent from the continent and further afield. Over the last 20 years, we have shown the world that this festival is about more than just live music – it's about building a community of music lovers and developing the next generation of acclaimed musicians,” says Billy Domingo, CTIJF Festival Director.

“The 2020 CTIJF promises an unforgettable line-up. The CTIJF is passionate about developing local talent and the learners who attend our Sustainable Training and Development programme will have outstanding local examples on stage to inspire them,” adds Billy Domingo.

The following artists will take to the CTIJF 2020 stage: 

  • MF Robots UNITED KINGDOM 
  • Gabi Motuba SOUTH AFRICA 
  • AusTebza SOUTH AFRICA 
  • Ndlovu Youth Choir SOUTH AFRICA 
  • Lady Zamar SOUTH AFRICA 
  • Femi Koya NIGERIA 
  • Lira SOUTH AFRICA 
  • Mandisi Dyantyis SOUTH AFRICA 
  • KWETU TRIO feat. Aaron Rimbui, Herbie Tsoaeli and Ayanda Sikade KENYA/ SOUTH AFRICA 
  • BirdSong Ensemble SOUTH AFRICA/ SWITZERLAND/ GERMANY/ SWAZILAND 
  • Reising, Ntuli, Cooper; Baumann SOUTH AFRICA/ SWITZERLAND 
  • Elementaal INDIA/ SOUTH AFRICA 
  • Seba Kaapstad SOUTH AFRICA/ GERMANY 
  • Nduduzo Makhathini SOUTH AFRICA 
  • Samthing Soweto SOUTH AFRICA 
  • Abdullah Ibrahim SOUTH AFRICA 
  • Jonathan Butler with special guest Candy Dulfer SOUTH AFRICA/ NETHERLANDS 
  • PJ Morton USA 
  • Jacob Collier UK
  • Come and experience this once-in-a-lifetime jazz spectacular. 

General access tickets for the 2020 festival are available at Computicket at R999 for a Weekend Pass and R649 for a Day Pass.