Nurturing young musicians

Gifted saxophonist Linda Sikhakhane will headline the KZN Schools Jazz Festival at Durban High School from March 22-24. | TSELISO MONAHENG

Gifted saxophonist Linda Sikhakhane will headline the KZN Schools Jazz Festival at Durban High School from March 22-24. | TSELISO MONAHENG

Published Mar 17, 2024


Durban — The vibrant and culturally rich province of KwaZulu-Natal is set to host the highly anticipated KZN Schools Jazz Festival, a celebration of musical talent and diversity featuring world-class artists.

Headlining the event is the gifted saxophonist Linda Sikhakhane, known for his soulful and innovative approach to jazz. Joining him is Reqteq (Yassine Reqati), a multi-instrumentalist DJ hailing from Morocco, bringing a fusion of global influences to the stage.

The annual event will also incorporate daily workshops and student band rehearsals, enriching the experience for jazz enthusiasts aged 13-18.

From March 22-24, public concerts will be held daily from 5pm-9.30pm at AJ’s at Durban High School, 255 St Thomas Road, Berea, Durban.

Sikhakhane has garnered international acclaim for his ability to weave traditional and contemporary jazz influences seamlessly. His participation in the KZN Schools Jazz Festival is a homecoming celebration, promising an unforgettable experience for jazz enthusiasts and newcomers alike. His performances are a captivating journey through the rich tapestry of South African musical heritage. He will also lead the KZN Schools Jazz Band, which will be selected after an audition process at the festival.

Adding international flair is Reqteq. With a unique blend of traditional North African sounds, electronic beats, and a mastery of various instruments, Reqteq is set to enchant audiences with a genre-defying performance. His inclusion in the lineup highlights the festival’s commitment to showcasing diverse musical styles and fostering global connections.

Other featured artists include Andile Yenana, Romy Breuteseth, the Nick Pitman Quartet, Beat Route, Platform Jazz, UKZN Alumni Jazz Band with Neil Gonsalves, Debbie Mari and Thulile Zama, and The KZN Youth Wind Band.

Made possible through funding from the Oppenheimer Memorial Trust and Nabak Arts, the KZN Schools Jazz Festival is a platform dedicated to nurturing young musical talent, fostering a love for jazz, and providing a stage for renowned artists to inspire and collaborate.

Under the direction of jazz artist Natalie Rungan, the festival aims to create an immersive musical experience, creating a sense of community and appreciation for the arts.

In addition to the star-studded performances, the KZN Schools Jazz Festival 2024 is committed to nurturing young musical talent. Daily workshops will provide students with invaluable insights, lessons and hands-on experiences.

Led by the festival artists, who are themselves music teachers, these workshops aim to inspire and cultivate the next generation of jazz enthusiasts.

“We are honoured to have Linda Sikhakhane as our KZN Schools Band leader and featured artist this year,” said Rungan.

“Linda epitomises the type of role model that students can model themselves on and aspire to be like. It’s also the first time we will feature an international artist. I first met Reqteq at Visa For Music in Morocco in 2023 and was delighted to discover that he also worked with young musicians in his country.”

“We want to build and grow a local festival along the same lines as the National Youth Schools Jazz Festival in Makhanda, and we want it to be inclusive and remove the stumbling blocks. Many talented children can’t attend the national festival, so Nabak Arts set out to create a festival here in KZN. Our artist line-up includes world-class musicians coming together to help children develop their passion for music,” she said.

Tickets from R50-R120 are available through webtickets. Early booking is recommended.

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