ARTISTS 2017 (PG4)
(First Artists Announced) (Second Artists Announced)
First Artists Announced
POPS MOHAMED (SA)
Composer, multi-instrumentalist and producer “Pops” Mohamed was born Ismail Mohamed-Jan in the vibrant East Rand community of Kalamazoo in 1949. Kalamazoo was sadly soon uprooted to bleak Reigert Park and demolished, but Mohamed’s memories of the community’s vibrant hybridity have shaped his envelope-busting concept of music ever since. “Migrant miners playing their mouth bows with jazz musicians jamming on Count Basie…these sounds are always in my mind.” He learned guitar from jazzmen at Dorkay House, and subsequently worked in multiple hit-making pop outfits, sometimes alongside bassist Sipho Gumede. After cutting albums such as Black Disco (recently reissued: https://matsulimusic.bandcamp.com/album/night-express ) and Movement in the City, Mohamed’s music took a more roots turn. “I figured that protecting and preserving our indigenous music could be my contribution to the struggle. We must know our heritage. I thought: if the Boers take that from us, we’re fucked!” He mastered traditional instruments from kora to mouthbow and didgeridoo, while continuing to arrange and produce for a galaxy of South African jazz artists (including the late Moses Molelekwa’s debut, Finding Oneself), as well as working with, among others, Andreas Vollenweider, the London Sound Collective and ex-Blood Sweat and Tears trumpeter Bruce Cassidy. Most recently, he has been working with the representatives of Kalahari San communities to both preserve and expose their healing sounds, and in Cape Town with Dave Reynolds and Tony Cedras (The Urban Khoisan Project: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HDhIT_uwHfU ; At Bluebird Garage https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Up6H8_Jze4 ).
SONIK CITIZEN (SA)
Sonik Citizen is one of the many musical identities of multi-talented performer, composer and teacher, Mark Fransman. (who also makes a guest appearance with Mandla Mlangeni’s Tune Recreation Committee). Double SAMA winner, former Standard Bank Young Artist for Jazz and winner of the FNB Vita Award, the Johnnie Walker Musician of the Year Award and the UCT Adcock Ingram Jazz Award, Fransman has consistently resisted genre labels and boxes for his music, but Sonik Citizen (who released an eponymous album in January 2015) definitely reflects what they call “a lyrical soul-rock” feel (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QzUF62wOY6U ), showcasing husky-voiced lyrics and driving guitar in the company of bassist Gino Ackerman and drummer Paul Tizzard (https://www.facebook.com/sonikcitizen/ )
City festival Battle of the Bands 2016 winner S.T.T.A. is a live concept band comprising drummer Jstar, turntablists DJ Raiko and DJ P–Kuttah, 3 live beat machine samplers, versatile vocalist/ Nasty J aka Joniq and a moveable feast of well-known guests. The members have over 20 years of collective experience, alongside some of South Africa’s most recognised musicians. S.T.T.A. describe their performance as “unique live performance (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=va4ZqFYhcOo ) that hasn’t been done before on SA shores.” (https://www.facebook.com/STTALive/ )
THANDISWA MAZWAI (SA)
Multiple award-winner Thandiswa Mazwai was born in the Eastern Cape but grew up in Soweto in a highly politically conscious and active family. Thadiswa produces modern music that still manages to remember and acknowledge a heritage that stretches from split-tone singing and bow music to jazz, soul and jive. She studied literature and international relations at Wits, and first came to public notice with Kora, SAMA and Metro winning kwaito music trio Bongo Maffin, formed in Cape Town in 1996. Mazwai released her debut solo project, Zabalaza, in 2004; it reached double platinum sales and won a Kora Award and four SAMAs. Zabalaza was followed by Ibokwe, Song of the Forgotten Free and, late in 2016, Belede, her debut for Universal Music. Belede features pianist Nduduzo Makhathini, bassist Herbie Tsoaeli and drummer Ayanda Sikade: a sensitive and imaginative jazz trio. It is primarily a tribute to Mazwai’s late mother, who died when she was young, as well as other women, such as Miriam Makeba, Busi Mhlongo and Dorothy Masuka who created rebellious and questioning music. The album revisits historic South African classics including Nontsokolo and Makeba’s West Wind in a sharply contemporary context that includes acknowledgment of struggles such as the #FeesMustFall movement. The Mail & Guardian’s Kwanele Sosibo said of Belede: “It is a jazz album, yes, but not in the way one might expect.” Mazwai told IOL “I aspire to be a part of a group of musicians that sound entrancingly South African. I grew up in a very strong pan- African and black consciousness home. My mother was a radical Pan Africanist. She wore African clothes.” Mazwai recalled that even when she started out with Bongo Maffin, “I thought about my mother and preserving the memory of what she taught me”. (https://www.facebook.com/Thandiswa-Red-Mazwai-142738035837/)
TOM MISCH (UK)
UK-based singer/composer, multi-instrumentalist and producer Tom Misch had an unlikely start for a rising star of digital mixes: at four, he started learning violin after being taken to classical concerts by his parents. He added other instruments and by 11 had acquired a loop pedal and was beginning to create his own compositions. By his mid-teens, he had discovered Erykah Badu and J Dilla; two years later what he calls his take on “soulful electronic music” was going out on Soundcloud, attracting the attention of Berlin producer Lamnobodi. That led to the release of Beat Tape 1 via Bandcamp; later Beat Tape 2 (https://tommisch1.bandcamp.com ) appeared – Misch calls it “a combination of beats and more fully-fledged songs” – and now the EP Reverie (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sa5HNkGrl8E ). The Edge described Reverie as “Chipmunked vocals, slap bass, jazz guitar, G-funk synths, a breathy sax, trip-hop beats, hand claps, a string quartet, steel drums, maracas…such is the heady cocktail that Tom Misch has here concocted…Misch has somehow managed to balance it all perfectly, keeping things afloat.” But Misch’s career is still growing. He is developing his voice via singing lessons, and playing live much more : “I think a big pressure to me right now is the live stuff, because I’ve built up a reputation as a producer and a sort of bedroom music maker guy. Now I’m actually leaving the bedroom and playing shows, and I want to live up to the expectation people have. That’s what’s really shaping how I write my songs,” he told rwdmag.( http://www.tommisch.com )
SAMA-winning, Congolese-born, Cape Town-based vocalist/composer Tresor has scored Top 20 hits on just about every local radio popular music chart in the Mother City: 5FM; AgoaFM; Good HopeFm and HeartFM with his singles Mount Everest, Never Let Me Go, and Evergreen. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CkMCzkBgi90 ). He’s also performed impressively on the Italian charts: the only South Africa-based pop artist to break into that market. Tresor began playing guitar at the age of 8, and his early influences included all the classic heroes of black popular music: Fela Kuti, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Marley and Michael Jackson. He moved to South Africa seven years ago, and after a stint doing any work available – car guard, gardener, security guard – his dedication, determination (he entered every talent contest available) and talent soon saw him performing with top-rated local outfits such as Freshlyground, Goldfish, Lira and HHP. He was composer and collaborator with Zahara on her smash-hit debut, Phendula. In 2016, his album VII (featuring Kuli Chana, The Soil, Beatenberg and AKA) scored the SAMA for Best Pop Album, and Tresor was selected to open for Seal on the visitor’s 3-city South Africa tour. Tresor says of his music: “This is a sound moulded in Africa for the world to enjoy.” (www.tresorofficial.com)
TSEPO TSHOLA (SA)
Tsepo Tshola will join the line-up for an energetic, musically-masterful Cape Town International Jazz Festival (CTIJF) over the weekend of 31 March and 1 April 2017. The award-winning jazz musician who appeared with Mafikizolo at CTIJF 2016, is back by popular demand, to host his own set that is certain to appeal to devoted followers and new fans alike.
In a year espousing a billing of musical social consciousness, Tshola’s raconteur prowess and energetic stage presence stand out. Born in Lesotho, Tsepo Tshola grew up in a musical family with both his parents involved in choirs. Joining the Lesotho Blue Diamonds as a vocalist in 1970, then touring with the band Sankomota and relocating to London in the 1980’s, Tshola’s instantly recognizable baritone has dominated the music scene and thrilled audiences across South Africa, Lesotho and Europe for more than 40 years.
THE INTERNET (USA)
Defying easy categorisation of their crossover multi-genre sounds, The Internet was christened as a result of the two producers – Syd (Sydney) and Matt Martians (real name Matthew Martins) - meeting on the net, then officially forming the band in 2011. They have since released three studio albums and three extended plays, with Ego Death, nominated for a Grammy – Best Urban Contemporary Album.
Of Ego Death Pitchfork contributor Craig Jenkins remarked that: “The band's purposeful instrumentation clears room to showcase her [Syd] words, and she has a war story for every stage of love and loss.”