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. From performing with Kippie Moeketsi, Hugh Masekela, Jonas Gwanga, Johnny Gertze and Makaya Ntshoko and Sathima Bea Benjamin in South Africa in the 1950s, Ibrahim has gone on to appear at major concert halls, clubs and festivals, as solo artist or with other renowned artists – notably, Max Roach, Carlos Ward and Randy Weston. An icon of the South African resistance movement, his song “Mannenberg – ‘Is where it’s happening’” became an unofficial national anthem for black South Africans under apartheid.
INDIA / SA
Elementaal is a coming together of two of the most indomitable forces in World percussion today, with Indian musicians Ranjit Barot and Tauﬁq Qureshi. These masters bring you a vibrant, hypnotic mix of world rhythms, drawing from an ancient reservoir of energy that connects us all. Merged with electronic sound elements and featuring modern interpretations of traditional vocal compositions. The performance at Cape Town International Jazz Festival will further explore the crossover elements of jazz and indigenous African and Indian sounds and features progressive pianist Kyle Shepherd as part of the band and India child prodigy and bamboo flautist Amith Nadiq.
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. Jacob produced, performed and recorded his debut album “In My Room” entirely by himself. This went on to win two Grammys. In January 2018, Jacob began creating a quadruple album called “DJESSE”.
A house vocalist, songwriter and an academic, Lady Zamar started singing at six years old. Inspired by music legends such as Tracy Chapman, Lady Zamar was drawn to emerging and aspiring hip hop artists in her hometown of Pretoria. Her initial popularity began after the release of songs such as “Mamelodi, and Cotton Candy” with Junior Taurus in 2011. She has gone on to work with the likes of Prince Kaybee, Mshega, DJ Fortee, Lulo Café, Tira, Vetkuk vs Mahoota and Dominic Neill. Her latest offering, Monarch, was released in 2019, combines her hallmark sound – rich vocals, with the infectious danceability of a Saturday night in Mamelodi.
MF Robots (Music For Robots) is a soulful project by Brand New Heavies founder Jan Kincaid. The drummer, sonmgwriter and producer has teamed up with vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Dawn Joseph. The band’s name is a reference to their belief that today’s music industry produces a generic sound, which their hits songs, such as “The Night is Calling”, “Believe in Love” and “Whatcha Sayin’”, are anything but. The United Kingdom-based band embraces soul, with vibrant rhythms and an eclectic, modern take on traditional classics. Together the duo creates a new sound that draws inspiration from across a range of musical styles and influences.
Grammy Award- and Dove 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, his solo career has taken off as 2017’s “Gumbo” garnered two Grammy nominations and 2018’s “Gumbo Unplugged” garnered three Grammy nominations. 2018 saw PJ play NPR’s Tiny Desk and release the orchestral live album “Gumbo Unplugged”. In November of 2018, Morton released “the year’s surprise stocking stuffer” (Entertainment Weekly), “Christmas With PJ Morton”.
Seba Kaapstad is more than a band, telling the stories produced when cultures collide. Their songs embody stories from the lives of Palesa Modiga (South African), Ndumiso Manana (Swazi), Philip Scheibel and Sebastian Schuster (both German). Seba Kaapstad is the coming together of worlds and experiences whilst appreciating just how alike we are as human beings. It tells the story of how we go through life’s escapades such as love, identity, freedom, loss and self – appreciation. Through the global perspective of Modiga, Manana, Scheibel and Schuster we are able to explore a soundscape influenced by soul, groove, electronic undertones, jazz and African music.
Tebogo “AusTebza” Sedumedi is a vibrant, energetic and passionate musician. Raised in Mafikeng, AusTebza has loved music since a child. She joined the Mmabana Cultural & Arts Centre, where her dynamic voice placed her as the lead singer for one of their bands. The Bass Queen has worked with many artists, including HHP, Gang of Instrumentals, Laurie Levine, Kelly Khumalo and Swazi Dlamini. Her astounding talent is matched by her perseverance and hard work, and this shows in songs such as “Crazy in Love”, “Lerato” and “Areyeng”. She is excited to be releasing her new album Motheo at CTIJF.
Versatile saxophonist and dynamic vocalist, Femi Koya is the new face of the African Renaissance, combining West African highlife and Jazz, South African Sofiatown with a nostalgic Afrobeat root sounds. Koya has shared the stage with the likes of Yvonne Chaka Chaka and John Legend and is known for songs such as “Ori Mi” and “Iba”.
Koya sees himself as part of the new Africa on the move, where home is not just one place but a multiplicity of places and influences. His musical influences include Fela Kuti, Bob Marley, Manu di Bango, Hugh Masekela. Baaba Maal and John Coltrane.
JONATHAN BUTLER with special guest CANDY DULFER
SA / NETHERLANDS
Since starting a band at 13, Dutch saxophonist Candy Dulfer has performed with muscians such as Dave Stewart, Prince Van Morrison, Maceo Parker, Sheila E., Mavis Staples, Lionel Richie, Beyoncé, Pink Floyd, Chaka Khan, Aretha Franklin, and many others. She will be joining South African jazz legend Jonathan Butler on stage.
No stranger to the urban contemporary or gospel scene, Butler is just as comfortable singing an R&B song as he is showing off his jazz skills on stage. In concert the Grammy-nominated Butler draws on a vast repertoire, while constantly exploring new genres.
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.
Lira’s debut album All My Love topped SA Charts. She has since racked up three Platinum albums and has won 11 South African Music Awards.
Lira has performed at numerous high-profile events, including the Nelson Mandela Centenary Dinner and the SAMAs, opening for R Kelly on his South African Tour and at the Ambassadors Ball in honour of former US President Barack Obama’s second inauguration in Washington DC.
NDLOVU YOUTH CHOIR
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. Their infectious energy and toe-tapping, uniquely South African musical performance, combined with mesmerizing choreography, have made this Limpopo choir a household name. From their rendition of Toto’s “Africa” to more traditional melodies, the Ndlovu Youth Choir infuses the beauty and energy of Africa into every performance. The choir recently won at the Hollywood Music in Media Awards for their video collaboration with Wouter Kellerman on a Zulu version of Ed Sheeran's “Shape of You”.
REISING, NTULI, COOPER, BAUMANN
SA / SWITZERLAND
This group brings the sounds of South Africa and Switzerland together in an elegant, yet eclectic jazz fusion. Saxophonist Benedikt Reising was born in the Black Forest and grew up playing baroque sonatas on his recorder while listening to German punk music before finding jazz. South African Thandi Ntuli is a pianist and a singer, a composer and a producer. She comes from a lineage of rich musical heritage. Fellow South African Shane Cooper is a bassist, composer and producer, known for his work in the electronic/ dance music world. Rico Baumann grew up in a family of musicians and was exposed to a wide variety of music before taking up Jazz.
Trumpeter, composer, arranger, and bandleader Mandla Mlangeni, together with an intergenerational mix of young and old musicians, creates The Bird Song Ensemble. In a rousing performance The Bird Song Ensemble plays together in free form to create melodic free jazz. Apart from Andile Yenana (piano), Vuma Levin (guitar) the ensemble includes German counterparts Max Treutner (tenor sax) and Felix Wolf (drums) and Oz Yehiely (bass) from Switzerland. Mlangeni adds an artistic/acoustic dimension to “Bird Song,” turning the project into a synthesis of the arts. The Bird Song Ensemble’s key mission is to stoke the young generation’s enthusiasm for shared human experiences while drawing on the abundant well of the South African musical legacy.
Award-winning jazz vocalist, arranger and composer Gabi Motuba draws inspiration from the likes of Gretchen Parlato, Esperanza Spalding and Concha Buika, as she explores the themes of femininity and womanhood through her work. Born in Pretoria, the creator of songs “Flower Goddess”, “Nefertari” and “Letters to Akani” began to explore her vocal abilities during her early schooling. This led to her choosing music as her profession, after exploring her passions and musical tastes at Tshwane University of Technology. Motuba has worked with prominent jazz musicians in Pretoria and Johannesburg, such as drummer Tumi Mogorosi, with whom she worked on her debut album, Sanctum Sanctorium.
Kenyan born Aaron Rimbui is a self-taught pianist, keyboardist, drummer, bandleader, producer, and composer. Rimbui released his first project, Keys of Life, in 2005 – the first jazz piano album of its kind to emerge from East Africa. He has produced a steady stream of work since then, with hits such as “Simama”, “Nani Nani” and “Mugithi Hybrid”. In 2017, Rimbui joined with South African jazz icons Herbie Tsoaeli on Bass and Ayanda Sikade on drums to create the Kwetu Trio. The group delicately mixes mainstream bebop, Afro-funk, and soul ballads to create a sound that speaks to their different geographic influences.
Port Elizabeth trumpeter and vocalist Mandisi Dyantyis blends traditional gospel with new age Afri-pop to create an award-winning sound for jazz lovers. His album Somandla was nominated for Jazz Album of 2019 at the SAMAs. Mandisi began playing the trumpet at the age of eight. He studied classical music at school and completed a degree in Jazz Studies. A versatile musician – who is also a composer, arranger and producer – not only in Jazz but Western Classical and African Indigenous Music, Mandisi has played with some of the country’s top musicians. These include Jimmy Dludlu, The Abdullah Ibrahim Big Band, Robbie Jansen, Max Vidima and Moreira Chonguica.
KwaZulu-Natal jazz musician Nduduzo Makhathini’s love for music began at an early age in a community in which music and ritual practices were symbiotically linked. Makhathini work is prolific: He has released nine albums, the latest of which is “Modes of Communication: Letters from the Underworlds”, which will be released through legendary American label Blue Note Records. He was awarded the 2015 Standard Bank Young Artist Award and is the head of the music department at Fort Hare University. Makhathini has toured extensively and recorded with jazz icons such as Zim Ngqawana, Feya Faku, Carlo Mombeli, the late singer Busi Mhlongo, Salim Washington, Herbie Tsoaeli and Somi.
Samkelo “Samthing Soweto” Mdolomba is a multi-award-winning South African musician. Named after his hometown, Samthing Soweto’s unique and esteemed RnB and Jazz vocals, as well as his infectious, uplifting and evocative song writing make him a formidable force to be reckoned.
His talent has won him several major awards including three South African Music Awards and a Wawela Award. His debut album Isphithiphithi broke the South African Apple Music record for the highest number of users "pre-adding" the album to their personal libraries.