Cape Town jazz festival delivers a good time

(This article was published in the Weekend Argus, a weekly newspaper in the Western Cape province, South Africa, on April 2 2016.)

Written by Yazeed Kamaldien

Young musicians experimenting on a guitar and piano in one corner, a few tables away from them the famous American singing group Sisters With Voices (SWV) order a meal.

Up to the second floor, another well-known American singer, Angie Stone, does interviews with journalists.

These were some of the scenes at the Cape Sun hotel on Strand Street in the city centre yesterday.

Needless to say, the hotel was energised as the 17th annual Cape Town International Jazz Festival moved in.

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American singers Sisters With Voices at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival. Picture by Yazeed Kamaldien

Music stars from various genres and parts of the world were on hand to talk about their craft at the press centre, bringing with them an aura of the magic that is music.

Most of the artists were very approachable and talked about their careers and songwriting without needing much prompting.

SWV and gospel singer Lizz Wright, also from the United States, even sang snippets of their music for a small audience of journalists.

Festival organiser espAfrika said it has sold 37,000 tickets for the two-day festival of local and international musicians performing at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC).

Musicians were lined-up to start playing on the main festival last night (FRIDAY) but during the week a host of festival-related events had already been underway.

The festival’s support for the Wear South Africa campaign culminated in the third annual Fashion & All That Jazz Gala Dinner at the CTICC on Thursday night.

Apart from a heavy dose of government propaganda from one minister, the event focused on fashion and its related industries. Factory workers were highlighted and praised for their contribution to the fashion and clothing industry.

The fashion show itself has grown into a top-notch affair, with the best local models hired to take to a ramp that could match – and even better – any other production of its kind.

Fashion designers part of the Wear SA campaign showcased their work, including Magents and Bhooka Creations.

Wear SA is an initiative of the Southern African Clothing and Textile Workers Union (Sactwu) and was launched to promote local fashion and secure factory worker jobs. SWV performed to a room filled with fans who knew every line of their 1990s hits.

Local one-hit wonder kwaito singer Mandoza also made a comeback on the night performing music he said he now hates.

Either way, government ministers and officials, diplomats, business executives, the fashion crowd and others at the dinner got up and danced.

The focus on music started already on Wednesday night though with a free concert on Greenmarket Square. Festival director Billy Domingo said this was their way of thanking Cape Town for making their event “Africa’s grandest gathering”.

That same night, the Duotone photographic exhibition also opened at Artscape Theatre. It closes along with the rest of the festival today (SATURDAY).

Domingo said developing young people and talent has been a major festival component over the years. Photographic and arts journalism workshops had been running all week, with participants covering the event’s press conferences and performances.

Golf development also featured this week when struggling local golf clubs were offered donations at an event organised for businesses linked to the festival.

It all concludes tonight (SATURDAY) across five stages at the CTICC. In total, 43 performances would have been witnessed. The festival’s line-up included Amadou and Mariam, Dr Victor and the Rasta Rebels and Mafikizolo.

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About Yazeed Kamaldien

Self-employed journalist and photographer from South Africa.

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