Arguably Africa’s biggest musical festival, “Joy of Jazz”, returns to the Sandton Convention Centre after a two-year hiatus.
The 23rd instalment of the “Joy of Jazz” will solely feature African stars, including Thandiswa Mazwai, Brenda Mtambo, Zamajobe, Gloria Bosman, Ntsika, Wouter Kellerman, Selaelo Selota, Bhudaza Mapefane, Msaki, Jimmy Dludlu, Sipho "Hotstix" Mabuse, Dr Sello Galane, Maleh, Jaziel Brothers, Maleh and many more.
Festival producer Mantwa Chinoamadi-Mutsinya told IOL Entertainment the “Joy of Jazz” 2022 edition would, for the first time in just under two decades, not feature an international act.
“We see this as the year of recovery for us as a festival, but also for the whole local music ecosystem.
“The industry has been under severe strain for the past two years. We’ve chosen to use this year’s festival as a catalytic investment in the recovery of local talent,” Chinoamadi-Mutsinya explained.
“Joy of Jazz has also been a central platform for the development of jazz talent over the past 23 years. As we rebuild from the hiatus of the pandemic, we thought it prudent to prioritise local music and talent.
“And it wouldn't have made sense for us to book an artist because they have been performing even at the height of Covid. They were fortunate to have platforms that could sell tickets online.
“When our artists were doing online shows, it would be just a few people buying because we’re not from the culture of watching shows online. It was all of a new concept for us. South Africans enjoy their music live. So this was our recovery plan.”
Chinoamadi-Mutsinya added that this is a full circle moment for the festival as it started in the late 90s as a ‘solely’ African festival.
“I think for the first three years, we had African artists only performing at the State Theatre. As the festival started growing, we decided to bring international stars.
“And then again, we wanted to expose our people to the artists that they love internationally.”
In a chat with award-winning jazz vocalist Bosman, she said she was honoured to be back to perform live at this year’s event.
“Any artist would tell you, there is nothing as exhilarating as being part of Joy Jazz. It's who we are. It’s everything that you believe in,” shared Bosman.
“I am excited about the line-up. I feel it was a very bold move of the organisers to not have any international acts.
“This shows the type of faith they have in us as local artists and the fact that they believe in the audience too that they will still support the show even if it's just for local stars. That is exciting for me, and we’re not going to disappoint.”
Bosman, along with an all-female band that includes Nozipho Mnguni (drummer), Tebogo “Aus Tebza” Sedumedi (bassist) and Neo Matsatse (violinist), will be performing a tribute piece in honour of Mzansi’ “ First Lady of Song” Sibongile Khumalo, who passed away on 28 January 2021.
“We will be celebrating the life and legacy of Mama Sibongile Khumalo. We will be performing some of her popular songs and some of our original songs,” added Bosman.
Ntsika, who will be performing for the first time as a solo artist, said he is ecstatic and cannot wait to transport the audience to the spiritual world where he gets his music from.
“This, for me, is a full circle. It speaks to the journey thus far, it speaks, it speaks to the light that I've been given by God and my ancestors. It speaks to the music and how receptive people have been towards my gift,” shared Ntsika.
“The last time I did Joy of Jazz, it was around 2013 with my group, The Soil, and I've seen a lot of amazing artists perform on that stage but then to hear my name mentioned in the conversation and then to get that call, and that nod from the team at the Joy of Jazz is a dream come true.”
He continued: “And what I also loved was the fact that Aus Mantwa and her team, didn't just book me. They picked my brain. They wanted to know what I could stage, and I told them that there is a concept that I am already touring around with.
“I told them it’s called the Gathering With Ntsika. It's an exploration of two worlds, the physical plane as people know it and this ancestral spiritual plane that my ancestors only take me to in my sleep.
“It feels like I'm dreaming, but in essence, that's them taking me to their world and just singing for me, teaching me and showing me what these songs will do to people when they hear them, how medicinal this music is.
“It's literally the gathering with my ancestors. The audience will be seeing me in my element when I get these songs in the spiritual world and gift them on that Joy of Jazz stage.
“Those are small, intimate, and beautiful conversations that people will be privy to. And I’m excited to share this with the audiences.”
No stranger to the festival, Charl du Plessis said he was thrilled to be back at the “Joy of Jazz” after nearly five years.
“I’m looking forward to sharing our music with the public who don't usually hear our music because we perform a lot internationally, but in South Africa, we perform a lot on the classical circuit,” he explained.
“My performance with David Cousins is such an unusual combination because you don’t normally get two grand pianists on the stage at the same time. Hence the show is called ‘Double Trouble’.
“And I hope the fans will get some of my signature crossover music which combines classical music with jazz, and I cannot wait to share the audiences this weekend.”
For ticket prices and the full line-up, please visit: www.joyofjazz.co.za