Summarised Artist biographies.
Jitsenic is the collaboration between Capetonian, Jitsvinger and popular Hip-Hop producer Arsenic on the decks. Award winning performer, Afrikaans vernacular wordsmith; Jitsvinger (Quentin Goliath) is a versatile artist who lists poetry and composing among his many very obvious accomplishments.
Aresenic’s unique style is an undeniably jazz sound, grounded and contextualized in his personal HipHop signature. This popular beat-maker, Hip-Hop producer has teamed up with Jitsvinger for an experimental project that explores their combined musical influences from within South Africa and mixes them with their Hip Hop influences.
MIKE DEL FERRO FEATURING TONY LAKATOS (Netherlands/SA)
With Kesivan Naidoo on drums and Romy Brauteseth on bass
Mike del Ferro (Amsterdam) is a pianist and composer who performs an impressive array of musical genres influenced by some of the most exotic places on earth. To date, he has explored 110 countries searching for musical collaborations and the results have been an eye-opening musical bridge between cultures. This eclectic combination of styles has led to a series of 10 Wandering the Globe inspired albums. No stranger to the world of music and what it can offer – his father was opera singer Leonard del Ferro who sang with the likes of Maria Callas and Leonard Bernstein – Mike began his career at the age of nine studying classical piano. After falling in love with jazz he went onto study attaining a Masters and several subsequent awards and accolades. To date he has released 15 albums under his own name and countless others as a sideman.
Tony Lakatos was born into a musical family in Budapest, Hungary. His father and brother were famous gypsy violinists whose music and passion influenced Tony from an early age who started violin at six. But it was the saxophone that caught his attention when he was 15 years old and led him to a professional career as a musician. To date he has released over seven CDs, with a number of them appearing in the Top Ten in the American Jazz Music Radio. Now resident in Germany, he travels the world appearing at music festivals (no less than 19 over the pas few years) as well as several master classes and workshops. Wherever he is, people are inspired and mesmerised by the mastery of the saxophone in Tony Lakatos’ hands.
MIKE PERRY'S TRIBUTE TO WINSTON MAKUNKU (SA)
Award winning Winston “ Mankunku” Ngozi was born in Retreat, Cape Town in 1943. His musicality emerged early in life and he played several instruments before concentrating mainly on his beloved Selmer Mark V1 tenor saxophone. Winston’s early influences included the great John Coltrane and his respect and admiration for “Trane lasted all my life”. In 1968 he recorded the famous title track “ Yakhali ‘Nkomo” together with Lionel Pillay, Agrippa Magwaza, and Early Mabuza . It became a huge hit and is still one of the best-known SA Music compositions.
Winston worked extensively with pianist, producer and band leader, Mike Perry and this long collaboration led to the formation of Winston and Mike’s own label, Nkomo. Over a 15-year period, three albums of original material were independently produced– Jika 1987, Dudula 1996 and the SAMA award winning Molo Africa 1999. Mankunku’s international status grew performing internationally with Mike Perry, growing a following wherever the duo went. He passed away at the age of 66 and Mike Perry’s tribute, which will be performed at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival in 2015, will be a masterful acknowledgement of not only the musical genius but of his friendship and working partnership with the legend.
MR CHEEKS (USA)
Mr. Cheeks, who was mentored by his uncle Gil Scott-Heron, along with band mates Freaky Tah (1971–1999), Spigg Nice and Pretty Lou made up The Lost Boyz. The Lost Boyz practiced a sincere, literate, non-sensational style of New York hip-hop and produced a number of singles including; "Lifestyles of the Rich and Shameless" (1994), "Jeeps, Lex Coups, Bimaz & Benz" (1995) and "Renee" (1996). Lost Boyz gained worldwide critical acclaim following the release of the albums; Legal Drug Money in 1996, Love, Peace & Nappiness in 1997, and LB IV Life in 1999.
In March 1999, Lost Boyz member, Freaky Tah, was murdered while leaving Mr. Cheeks' birthday party. This resulted in the break-up of the group. Mr.Cheeks resurfaced in late 2001, as a solo artist releasing several albums off Universal and his own label. In 2010, Lost Boyz reunited, and released a single called "Haaay". His most recent activities as a solo musician have included collaborations with R&B singer Ryan Michael ("Sweet Luv"), Stephen Marley ("Iron Bars") and The SWATZ Brothas ("My Crew Is Tight," "Fantasy Time"). He will be joine din Cape Town by New York based DJ, Jason Smith.
NAIMA MCLEAN (SA)
Naima is a South African talented writer, poet, and vocalist and has been heralded as ‘The First Lady of Urban Soul’. With a Degree in theatre and the performing arts as well as gender studies, McLean is a talented artist who brings a deep intelligence to her performances (in South Africa and abroad), which she infuses with soul, spoken word, hip hop and pop among other genres, to create a distinct style she calls “Urban Soul”. She released her debut album in 2013 showcasing a collection of authentic tracks with a Pan-African flavour and appeal.
She has undoubted star power as evidenced in her appearance in leading advertising campaigns who have recognized her for the draw card she is. She is an ardent speaker, engaging youth on topics such as love and life in the times of HIV/AIDS. The songbird is also no slouch when it comes to acting, having just completed her first leading role in a movie released in South Africa and in the USA.
PROPHETS OF DA CITY (POC) (SOUTH AFRICA)
POC is a Hip Hop African rhythms group hailing from the Mother City, Cape Town, South Africa. The crew of Ishmael Morabe (vocals), Vous (B Boy)- Tebz (MC)- Shorty (B Boy) - Jazmo (Beatboxing) - Junior (MC), Shaheen Ariefdien (MC), Ramone (B Boy) and DJ Ready D. launched in 1988 with South Africa’s first Hip Hop release – Our World. The album (1990) had the first recorded Cape slang (local Afrikaans dialect) hip-hop song called 'Dala Flat' (do it thoroughly). It also consisted of an uptempo goema inspired 'Stop the Violence' and the featured DJ A-ski on the turntables. They have four albums to their credit, including Boom Style (1992), which was banned shortly after release.
As musical ‘prophets’ of our time, the crew are well known for their outspoken political commentary encapsulated in foot-tapping cadence and beats that speak to the heart of current affairs affecting the country’s agenda. They have performed at a number of international festivals including the Montreux Jazz Festival (invited by Quincy Jones and Caiphus Semenya), and were invited to perform at the inauguration of President Nelson Mandela. Here, they sang their song Neva Again, which has been considered the song that brought Hip Hop into the mainstream of South Africa. The group has also performed around famous artists like James Brown, Public Enemy, The Fugees, Ice-T, Quincy Jones and more. Their performance at the Cape Town International Jazz festival marks their first Mother City performance in over 15 years.
RINGO MADLINGOZI (SA)
There are few South African artists as in tune with the “rhythm of their soul” as Ringo Madlingozi. From his debut solo release, Vukani, in 1996 to his latest offering, Qhubeka, Ringo – as this artist is affectionately known – has carved out a niche for himself crafting songs that are rooted in an authentic African voice, yet appealing to a broad audience. The key message coming through loud and clear throughout his music is ‘love’. He also wishes to see a united society, striving for the betterment of all mankind without regard to one’s race, religion, language, sexual orientation or creed and injects hope and belief into the heart of his music. Ringo has over ten albums to his name and continues to experiment with various rhythms and collaborations.
THE PACIFIC EXPRESS (SA)
The Pacific Express, formed originally in the 1970’a, was a jazz-rock band based on the ‘Cape Flats’ in Cape Town. The band were ground breakers in both musical and political fields. The founder members, Paul Abrahams (bass), Jack Momple (drums) and Issy Ariefdien (guitar) were joined by Chris Schilder (piano) and Zayn Adams and Kitty Tshikana on vocals and percussionist Vic Higgins. Together they became somewhat of an informal ‘jazz school’ – the first of its kind and a tradition that still continues on the Flats today.
As musical narrators recording the turmoil of aprtheid, the band often fell foul of the laws, even having a video banned from television as they were of mixed race, which was against the law at the time. Notwithstaning this and the times, The Pacific Express continued to track its way to musical success, splitting a few years later with Schilder and Ariefdien leaving and Butler and Cedras replacing them. Three albums followed, and their support grew to include fans in Nigeria and as far afield as France and Japan.
Playing the express at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival in 2015 are: Ibrahim Ghalil Shihab.(keyboard), Issy Arifdien (Guitars), .Jack Momple(drums), Zayn Adam(lead vocal), Greg Higgins(bass), Mark Goliath (synth&effects), Dnaveno Prince (sax,flute), Bjorn Peterson(drums Percus) and Didier Richards(seeds).
THE CITY (SA)
The CITY is an evolving musical statement between an unlikely group of musicians. Consisting of: Clement Carr on keys and synth, Bonj Mpanza doing lead vocals & percussions, Ryan McArthur on bass and Ruby Crowie on drums and samples, TheCITY are a Future Afro story. They take the common musical language of their generation – pop, hip-hop and electronica – and tell a different story with it through the sounds of Afro-urban-electro fusions. Sometimes the narrative includes Zulu lyrics, cowbells or an extraordinary event, which they make their own.
Having been close friends for many years, playing together in various other bands, but not their own, they finally got together in 2010, turning original ideas into a unique blend that they could all enjoy – and everyone else out there too.
Talent runs deep in the Bruner family - Bassist/songwriter/vocalist Stephen Bruner, aka Thundercat, father’s, Ronald Bruner, Sr., is an internationally renowned jazz drummer who has played with the Temptations, Diana Ross, Gary Bartz and Gladys Knight. His brother Ronald Bruner, Jr. is also a Grammy-winning drummer. Stephen joined his brother as a member of West Coast punk vets Suicidal Tendencies, playing bass on their worldwide tours while still in high school. He also toured through Japan at the age of 16 with Stanley Clark.
As Thundercat, Bruner takes his jazz roots and works with a mix of artists that suit his wildly experimental sensibilities. The kindred spirit between fellow artist, Flying Lotus and Stephen led to Thundercat’s 2011 solo debut The Golden Age of Apocalypse. In 2013, he once again teamed up with Flying Lotus to form a profound body of work – Apocalypse. The second album straddles lines and pushes genres further blurring the confines of pop, funk, electronica and progressive rock, and creating something else entirely. Both vulnerable and fearless, a comedy and tragedy, ‘Apocalypse’ is an intimate portrait of an artist who will continue to take music to a new place; the beyond.
VICTOR MASONDO AND FRIENDS, A JOURNEY THROUGH MUSIC CELEBRATING OUR RICH HERITAGE AND LEGACY, FEATURING THEMBI MTSHALI (SA)
Victor Sibusiso Masondo, was born into a musical family. From an early age he wanted a career in music and this he surely has. Victor studied music under Darius Brubeck at Natal University and on one trip to the US with the university jazz band, caught the attention of Max Roach and Clark Terry took advantage of an invitation to tour the US and Europe with the South African band, Friends First.
On returning from exile in 1990, Mama Africa, Miriam Makeba, commissioned him to produce her first album at home. This featured Hugh Masekela, Nina Simone and Dizzy Gillespie. This sparked the commissioning and production of many bodies of work over the years, including FreshlyGround’s third album, and his appearance as a solo artist and with the likes of he band Stimela with Ray Phiri.
With the guitar, Masondo has entered the Yamaha hall of fame, which includes Fourplay front man Nathan East, who also plays in the Eric Clapton and Phil Collins bands; John Patitucci; and Billy Sheehan. His new album that he is busy finishing is called Family! S and his appearance at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival will salute Friends and Legends. A Year journey Through Music.
YVONNE CHAKA CHAKA (SA)
‘The Princess of Africa’ is a multi-award winning performing artist, entrepreneur, and humanitarian. Her music awards include the SAMA, KORA, OKTV, Autumn Harvest, and a host of others for musical excellence, which have translated into numerous, platinum, gold, and silver hit records. Yvonne has been in the music industry for more than 25 years. She has shared the stage with megastars such as Bono, Angelique Kidjo, Annie Lennox, Youssou N'Dour, the classic rock band Queen, and South Africans Johnny Clegg, Miriam Makeba, and Hugh Masekela, and more. As a young performer Yvonne was the first black child to appear on South African television, in 1981. Since then she has consistently developed her creative capabilities and expanded her media repertoire to include musician, record producer, talk radio and television shows, and acting in several South African television dramas.
As an entrpreneur and businesswoman, Yvonne is holding the torch high for women everywhere. She has formed her own promotions compnay, record label and Foundation. She also sits on the boards of several companies. Her philosophy is to live life to the fullest, which she conveys in everything she does. Most notably, her music.