Jazz has always been an essential part of the National Arts Festival and this year, the National Jazz Festival Makhanda returns to reunite musicians from across the country and the world.
This year, the National Arts Festival, set to kick off on Thursday 23 June, promises to be a big drawcard for audiences who have missed the live experience of jazz.
NATIONAL JAZZ FESTIVAL MAKHANDA
National Arts Festival CEO, Monica Newton says the return of the National Jazz Festival Makhanda is a much-needed reunion for jazz musicians.
“With a big focus on local talent and local jazz excellence, the 35th National Jazz Festival Makhanda has assembled an exciting programme of artists from across South Africa,” said Newton.
“Our celebration of jazz this year is bitter-sweet; as musicians once again take to the stage of the festival to engage with live audiences for the first time in two years, we will also be remembering and celebrating lives lost during the pandemic.”
DEVELOPING JAZZ MUSICIANS
The Jazz Festival includes an essential programme that is key to the development of professional jazz musos in South Africa.
The National Youth Jazz Festival brings together talented young musicians from across the country who meet and connect with successful and diverse jazz musicians.
These musos also audition for the National Youth Jazz Band – a springboard that has helped shaped the careers of Kesivan Naidoo, Siya Makuzeni, Tutu Puoane and Kyle Shepherd.
FIVE JAZZ MUSICIANS ON THE LINEUP THIS YEAR
Dubbed “The Groove Queen”, Krugersdorp-born musician AusTebza is known for her spectacular vocals and skills on the bass. She played the bass guitar for hip-hop legend HHP and launched her solo career in 2019.
2. OUTENIQUA HIGH SCHOOL
Based in George, Outeniqua High School’s jazz band is well-known in the Garden Route area and performs at events in the Southern Cape. Learners have composed music and performed at festivals like the Herold Saxophone Festival and the Artscape Youth Jazz Festival.
3. MBUSO KHOZA
Award-winning vocalist and songwriter Mbuso Khoza grew up amongst the rolling hills of Eshowe in KwaZulu-Natal and was taken the music circuit by storm. Khoza’s music is a unique mix of amahubo (Zulu indigenous music) and jazz.
4. BOKANI DYER TRIO
Born in Botswana, Bokani Dyer is one of the youngest musicians to receive the Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Jazz. He performs regularly internationally and is constantly finding new avenues to explore.
5. UCT LITTLE BIG BAND
For decades, the University of Cape Town Music School has produced some of the finest young musicians in the country. This year, a selection of UCT’s top jazz vocalists and Big Band music was coordinated by Amanda Tiffin, the Head of Jazz at UCT.
Take a look at the full programme in Makhanda here