South African jazz pianist and two-time Metro FM Music Award-winner, Nomfundo Xaluva headlines this year’s Jazzy July series at the Market Theatre in Newton. Owing to the country’s Covid-19-related lockdown regulations, this year’s festival will happen from 14-28 August.
In 2014, Xaluva performed her haunting rendering of Winston Mankunku’s classic, Yakhalínkomo at a special BBC show on South African arts in a democratic South Africa. The Port-Elizabeth-born University of Cape Town academic will share the stage with leading fellow jazz and popular musician, Siya Makuzeni and sensational Afro-soul and R&B vocalist Ami Faku.
Cross-over Makuzeni has played with some of the top jazz musicians in South Africa and abroad. She has also performed at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival and with Themba Mkhize in Germany. In 2016, she was named the Standard Bank Young Artist for Jazz.
Season Dates: 14, 21 & 28 August @ 18:30
Faku recently gave a memorable performance at this year’s South African Film and Television Awards (SAFTAs), especially in her moving tribute to the late acting icon, Mary Twala. In her soulful 2019 album, Imali, she shares her journey of trials and tribulations. Her hit son, Inde Lendlela, tackles the subject of unrequited and often abusive love.
The Market Theatre’s artistic director, James Ngcobo says this year’s Jazzy July is an integral part of the theatre’s Market 45th birthday. At the official evening to mark the birthday in early June, Ngcobo directed a cast of six women in the telling of the history of this world-renowned institution.
Ngcobo is happy about the growing recognition of jazz at the theatre: In 2021, we launched the Sophie Mgcina Emerging Voice Award, to recognize this world-class jazz composer, bandleader, actor and teacher whose virtuosity easily equalled the likes of Sara Vaughan and Billy Holiday. In 2021, we are honouring some leading black women in jazz, Afro-soul and R&B in South Africa today. Patrons are in for a great treat, and better ensure to reserve tickets well in advance.”
Since Jazzy July was launched in 2018, some of South Africa’s hard-working jazz musicians have made the bill. They include Nduduzo Makhathini, Thandi Ntuli, Billy Monama, Khaya Mahlangu, Andile Yenana, Mandla Mlangeni and Afrika Mkhize.
He says the Market Theatre seeks to keep jazz alive in Newtown, especially, following the closure of Kippies Jazz Club in 2005.
“Without the tenacity of my dear sister, Nikiwe Rwaxa, owner of Niki’s Oasis Restaurant & Jazz Bar, there would be no jazz to speak off in Newtown. What the Market Theatre is doing, is to enhance this jazz conversation, thereby filling the void left by the demise of Kippies.
How can one forget that Newtown used was the inaugural home of Peter Tladi’s powerful Standard Bank Joy of Jazz Festival! Jazz is all of us. It says so much about our shared historical pain as black people in Africa and the African Diaspora. Jazz is a universal language that speaks to the human spirit no matter where you come from. Jazz must be the soul of Newtown.”
James Ngcobo says the festival will be held at the Barney Simon. “I wanted to give it that old-school intimate and smoky jazz ambience. Just get your ticket now and be part of our joyous Jazzy July this August.”