The Grammy Award-winning Soweto Gospel Choir performs at the 2019 Cape Town International Jazz Festival. Picture: David Ritchie/ African News Agency (ANA)
The Grammy Award-winning Soweto Gospel Choir performs at the 2019 Cape Town International Jazz Festival. Picture: David Ritchie/ African News Agency (ANA)
International R&B artist Chaka Khan performing at the 2019 Cape Town International Jazz Festical. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)
International R&B artist Chaka Khan performing at the 2019 Cape Town International Jazz Festical. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)
Thousands of Jazz lovers attened the 20th Cape Town International Jazz Festical, hosted at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)
Thousands of Jazz lovers attened the 20th Cape Town International Jazz Festical, hosted at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)
Popular singer Shekinah perfoming at the Cape Town International Jazz Festical. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)
Popular singer Shekinah perfoming at the Cape Town International Jazz Festical. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)
Jonathan Butler performing at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)
Jonathan Butler performing at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)
Cape Town - Cory Henry & The Funk Apostles were the last sound to echo in the ears of jazz lovers from across the country as the 2019 edition of Cape Town International Jazz Festival came to a close last night.

The two-day festival, which also featured a free concert and masterclasses and workshops throughout the week, had performances from R&B diva Chaka Khan, local jazz legend Jonathan Butler, Grammy Award-winners Soweto Gospel Choir and the darling of the South African pop music scene, Shekhinah.

Crowds flocked to Shekhinah’s performance on Friday night, while last night Butler was the main attraction, with French group Gipsy Kings, featuring Nicolas Reyes and Tonino Baliardo.

The 20th edition of the festival featured more than 40 acts and crowds in excess of 37000 people.

Festival director Billy Domingo said he was surprised at the enormous success.

“Not in our wildest dreams did we think we would reach one decade, let alone two. Not because we did not have faith in ourselves, but because the music industry is known to be fickle,” he said.

The festival was marked by some sadness this year, as was the case last year when Hugh Masekela died. His death was marked with a tribute act that featured Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse and Oliver Mtukudzi in the line-up.

Mtukudzi died in January and a tribute act was performed last night, with Mbeu, Berita, Vusi Mahlasela and Maduvha all taking part.

Originally, the festival started as part of the North Sea Jazz Festival held annually in the Netherlands.

The event was initially held at the Good Hope Centre and by 2003 it was attracting over 14000 to the festival. It outgrew the venue and by 2004 the festival had been moved to the Cape Town International Convention Centre.

Across five stages, some of the headliners over the years have included Earth, Wind & Fire, Corinne Bailey Rae, Herbie Hancock, Stanley Clarke, Miriam Makeba, Mos Def, Hugh Masekela, Lauryn Hill, Yvonne Chaka Chaka and En Vogue.

The festival has also been a conduit for promoting local artists with more than 2300 local musicians having performed since the inception.

The festival has also grown to include training and development programmes for aspiring youth wanting to get a footing in the music industry.

More than 11000 have participated in the programmes

Last year, it contributed more than R60million to the Cape Town economy while, since 2007, the festival has contributed more than R3.8billion to the Western Cape economy and created more than 34000 direct and indirect jobs.

Weekend Argus