All set for Cape Jazz Fest

Billed as the region’s premier jazz event, the 2006 edition was being haunted by the possibility of power blackouts that have hit Cape Town almost incessantly since the beginning of the year. However, organisers of have said they are taking no chances and arrangements have been made to cater for the possibility of power cuts. Generators have been hired for each of the five stages that have been lined up for the week-long show and arrangements are also being made to prevent the massive overcrowding that has rocked the show in the past. The festival has apparently gained international repute for its capacity to bring together some of the biggest names on the international jazz scene, with established stars such as The Commodores and Roberta Flack having graced the event in the past. The festival is expected to bring together some of the best African jazz musicians with internationally reputed artistes like Miriam Makeba, Manu Dibango and Caiphas Semenya among the list of performers. A special tribute to jazz legend Ray Charles has also been lined up, and will be performed by Joe McBride, Gerald Veasley and Kenny Blake. Show officials also said a “youthful” line-up of emerging Afro-pop artistes had also been added to this year’s show featuring Thandiswa Mazwai, Ntando Bangani and the Kwani Experience. Mazwai first emerged as the dynamic lead vocalist and songwriter of Bongo Maffin, the internationally acclaimed award-winning group that became best known as one of the most innovative and successful names in kwaito. She went on to release her solo project album, Zabalaza, with its range of influences from traditional Xhosa rhythms, upbeat mbaqanga, a touch of reggae, thumping kwaito and gospel sounds, which proved to be very successful in the South African market. “Bangani was up for four Metro-fm Awards, namely: best album, best African pop song, best male vocalist and best song. Ntando proved to be the man of the hour, after walking away with all four awards. This distinguished vocalist has sold over 75 000 copies,” the organisers’ website said. Kwani Experience has emerged as a diverse eight-piece band, hailing from the inner city of Johannesburg, playing a unique fusion of jazz, soul, funk, hip-hop, traditional and modern African flavours with some experimental touches of African folk, contemporary African, hip-hop, soul, jazz, experimental jazz (drum and bass) and funk. Their latest album is interestingly titled “The Birth of The Motherland Funk”.

March 2006
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