Absolute Zero is a jazz-fusion ensemble formed by jazz pianist and physicist Mervin Naidoo and bass guitarist and electrical engineer Angelo Angelos. The two compose their own material, a fusion of smooth African, Latin American and European jazz. Their first album, Spirit, featured the popular track Picasso, which appears on the Cape Jazzathon 2001 African celebration CD. The track has received extensive airplay on local radio stations and its music video, which was released in 2001, has since featured on Channel O (DSTV International) and SABC 1.
The group has played to audiences at numerous jazz clubs in and around Johannesburg, at music festivals for private and corporate functions including for the North Sea Jazz Festival in Cape Town and several jazz festivals around the country. Their second album, Ballad for Africa, is dedicated to their loyal fans and was released in 2002.
Absolute Zero currently performs with Stephen Berliner on guitars and flute, drummer Philip Meintjies, saxophonist Chris Luke and percussionist Mabeleng Moholo.
The African Jazz Pioneers
The African Jazz Pioneers have come a long way since the trying times endured during the apartheid era. When other South African bands disregarded the cultural boycott by touring apartheid-friendly venues, the international platform for the Pioneers became anti-apartheid events such as Culture in Another South Africa in Amsterdam.
The Jazz Pioneers released their first album in 1989 entitled “The Jazz Pioneers”, the second album called “Live in Montreaux” was released in 1991, the third “Sip ‘n fly” in 1993. “Shufflin’ Joe” the fourth album was released in 1995.
There are 10 members in the band with the fantastic lead vocalist Giant Molokomme, who joined the band in 1991. The line up comprises 3 saxophones, 2 trumpets, drums, keyboards, guitar and a bass guitarist.
The band’s musical styles are marabi mixed with American swing. Their most recent album is entitled Africa Vukani and was released late in 1999.
The band has toured Australia, Japan, France, and England. Holland, Switzerland, Canada, Belgium, Germany, Nigeria, Namibia, Mozambique, Botswana and Swaziland.
AVZAL ISMAIL & THE LATIN FIRE BAND
Avzal Ismail, leader of and pianist for The Latin Fire Band has enjoyed critically acclaimed performances locally and internationally. The Latin Fire Band is all about Latin jazz and salsa and is the only authentic Latin jazz band to emerge from South Africa, which emulates the style of great Cuban bands. This six-piece band consists of some of the country’s finest musicians. Neill Ettridge is the drummer, Dennis Lalouette the bassist, Mauritz Lotz the lead guitarist, Brendan Ross is on saxophone and Buks Botma on trumpet.
The Latin Fire Band perform a mixture of original material and classic Latin standards in the Cuban and Brazilian tradition. This band is a must for your next functions if you want to do the cha cha, rhumba, bolero or bossanova. Hot, passionate, exciting and full of Latin Fire, this band creates a sensation wherever they appear.
Don Laka was born in 1958 near Pretoria in Mamelodi, the first child in a family of five. In 1969 he formed his first band and made his first recording in 1972 which featured Ray Phiri on guitar.
After passing his matric in 1978 he started formal music lessons, obtaining his licentiate in high school music teaching in 1979. From 1980 to 1981 he joined the afro-fusion group Sakhile, that was formed by Sipho Gumede and Khaya Mahlangu. The group revolutionized South African music, and set a trend for groups like Bayete.
Don recorded his first big hit with the group which was called ‘Oneness’, before moving to form his own band with ‘Chicco’ Twala, called ‘Image’. The group lasted for 10 years. In the 10 years they have recorded no less than 12LP’s, and in 1986 they were spotted by one of the top producers in the world, Tony Visconti, who has produced 10 of David Bowie’s albums, Paul McCartney T Rex, Moody Blues and one of the classic songs of our time “I HATE MONDAYS”.
During the same period Don ventured into recording solo LP;s and producing other artists. His songs and piano playing proved to be popular with other musicians, who then asked if he could write, produce or perform on their records. Brenda Fassie is one artist who has performed some of Don’s music.
He appeared on most of Sankomota’s albums as a string and keyboard arranger. 1990 was another turning point in his career. He started writing big orchestral arrangements for Sibongile Khumalo, who performed with the National Symphony Orchestra of South Africa. In 1991 he also collaborated with Yvonne Chaka Chaka and Rebecca Malope.
His career blossomed further by producing and performing with artists such as Ray Phiri and Sipho Mabuse. He is now regarded as one of South Africa’s premier producers, having produced for Mango Groove, Sharon Dee and Johnny Clegg amongst others.
Don started a Record Company together with a friend Oscar Mdlongwa called Kalawa Records. This is a truly first successful black record company in South Africa, which recorded, produced and marketed their own product without the help of any major label. They started selling records from the boot of their cars and formed a bigger structure.
Kalawa have achieved Triple, Double Platinum plus three Gold albums and are responsible for much of the new music that has changed the country’s youth today – notably with the top selling group Boom Shaka.
Don sat on a panel together with Hugh Masekela and Mzwakhe Mbuli that submitted a draft on South African (Local Music Content) Quota to the Independent Broadcasting Authority in November 1994 and was one of the speakers regarding the issue on Quality and Standard of South African Music.
Ernie Smith started playing the guitar at the age of 13. He was inspired by a mix of jazz greats like Pat Metheny, George Benson, Larry Carlton, and Wes Montgomery as well as by the success of South African mentors Jonathan Butler, Sandile Shange, Moses Taiwa Molelekwa and many others. He has developed a style of playing and singing that is an assimilation of jazz, African music, R&B and Soul. His aim is to spawn a culture that represents the free spirit of music and celebrates life.
Ernie has featured with many famous artists, the likes of Hugh Masekela, Family Factory, Themba Mkhize, Mthunzi Namba and Joyous Celebration. He has written and produced songs for Deo Qurum, a gospel group with a number one hit on Highway Radio and winners of a South African Music Award. Ernie and Jasper Williams produced Ernie’s debut album, Child of the Light, released by Sheer Sound. The album features a duet with Gloria Bosman and appearances by Themba Mkhize, Paul Hanmer and Marcus Wyatt. The sound is a mixture of African jazz, gospel, R&B and Soul.
The Band that plays the full spectrum of music. Whatever you require, we have the right stuff. With a repertoire that stretches from the early 1900’s through the 30’s, 40’s, Glen Miller swing era, 50’s Rock & Roll, 60’s Twist and Beatles – Beach Boys – Shadows, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and into the new millennium, Latin American, Dance Sport / Ballroom, Country, Blues, Jazz, or whatever else you like. We will tailor make our act to suit your occasion. We can adapt to suit any theme (e.g. French, Greek, Beach Party, Rock & roll, 60’s, African Ethnic, etc)
The usual band is a 5 piece (keyboard / drums / bass / lead guitar / vocalist)
This can vary between :
Basic 3 piece (keyboard / drums / bass-lead vocal)
7 piece Small Big Band (3 piece + 2 sax / trumpet / trombone)
14 piece Full Big band – 3 piece + 2 Alto Sax, 2 Tenor Sax,
1 Baritone Sax, 3 Trumpets, 3 Trombones
Female Vocalist available with any of the above combinations
We have our own sound system for small and large functions
The Featherdoctors original songbook is honest, deep and well crafted. Their funky performances are uplifting and high-spirited. This four-piece band has released a nine-track debut album Silence, which is clear evidence that The Featherdoctors have mastered the art of creating timeless music. Their eclectic sound arises from the mix of their accomplished musicians and is a fusion of groove, funk, rap, hip-hop, jazz and Blues.
Drummer Brett Collings and bass player Doggit, lay down the beats and grooves. While up front is Mike Meiring on lead guitar, high-spirited rapping violinist Eliot Short and big voiced Kathy van Rensburg who sings the heart of the songs and plays acoustic guitar. Their live gigs are a standout entertainment experience. They have performed at the Bassline, the Radium and on at music festivals as well as having performed several times for television
Gloria Bosman began her singing in a church choir and in 1993 was awarded a scholarship to study opera at the Pretoria Technikon. She has performed as the leading lady for Arts Alive (1995 / 1997), The Joy of Jazz Festival in Pretoria (1997 / 1998), the 1998 Women’s Arts Festival in Durban and the Grahamstown Festival (1998). She toured France with Jonas Gwangwa and has sung for both outgoing and incoming presidents Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki. Gloria has performed at various corporate functions, for prestigious awards ceremonies and at private parties.
She has sung with the cream of South African musicians, amongst them Sibongile Khumalo, Moses Molelekwa, Sipho Mabuse, Vusi Mahlasela, James Philips, Victor Masondo, Hugh Masekela and Jonas Gwangwa.
Her debut album Tranquility won the SAMA Best Newcomer award. Gloria has performed in theatre productions including the musicals SA Love, Jubilation, Woman in Spirit and John Kani’s The Lion and the Lamb.
Gloria Bosman’s repertoire with the band
Music from her 3 CD’s including songs like (from her 3rd CD)
Time after time
Smoke gets in your eyes
Ntyilo – Ntyilo
Ilanga (African sunset)
Ain’t no sunshine
God bless the child
HUEY & THE BOYS
The five-piece band Huey & the Boys was formed by television personality Huey Louw in 2000. After spending many years performing musical, corporate and industrial theatre for companies such as Raintree, Blue Moon and Jumping Dust, Huey handpicked some session musicians to target the corporate functions market.
Huey & the Boys play genres ranging from mainstream to contemporary jazz, Afro-fusion, R&B and Pop music. The outfit comprises Huey Louw on vocals and percussion, Sipho Nkosiyane on vocals and percussion, Anton Wynkwaardt on rhythm guitar, Concorde Nkabinde on bass guitar and Valencia Ferlito on keyboards.
They have performed for Johnson & Johnson, Themi Venturas Productions, at Natal Playhouse’s New Year Eve Bash, the Castle Premier League Awards, Discovery Health’s Year-End Bash, Nemisa’s Graduation, the Lahana Trust Award, Medics Award Ceremony, Afrox Aids Fundraising, Future Packaging, Jay Naidoo’s Birthday Bash, Dr. Precious Maloi’s surprise birthday party and Monsoon Lagoon’s Rewind Programme. Huey & the Boys have regular gigs at Katzy’s in The Firs, Rosebank and Back of the Moon at Gold Reef City Casino.
IN THE MOOD
Deborah Gorman studied music at the prestigious Royal College of music in London. She is a multi-instrumentalist and plays the clarinet, saxophone, flute and keyboard. Her music adds a touch of class to any launch, wedding, conference, party, corporate dinner, christening, Christmas celebration, or whatever you have in mind. Deborah often teams up with classically trained pianist Andrew Waugh and her repertoire encompasses light classical, mellow jazz, well-known classics, ballads, contemporary music, popular hits and Christmas music. Deborah can create any mood from a relaxed ambiance to a party atmosphere.
She has performed at Des & Dawn Lindberg’s Soiree Society, the Samuel Marx Museum, the State Theatre, The Linder auditorium, Mount Grace, the Wild coast Sun, Sun City, The West Cliff, The Sandton Sun & Towers on the Blue Train and on the Rovos Rail. She performed for the opening of the Monte Casino and the Sandton Convention Centre and for the All Africa Games and the Dunhill Symphony of Fire. Deborah has played in concerts with Julian Lloyd Weber, Helmut Lotti, The Three Tenors and under the baton of sir David Wilcox. She is a regular player with Johannesburg Festival Orchestra and has played with the National Symphony Orchestra.
She has shared the stage with P.J. Powers, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Sibongile Khumalo and Vicki Sampson. In April 1999, she released the album, Saxational, a compilation of some of her favourites, including jazz and Blues. Shortly afterwards she released Merry Christmas, with Love Debi.
“Long before record companies became aware of the musical genius of Jimmy Dludlu, the media were already celebrating him as the hottest and most stylish talent amongst South Africa’ new jazz generation. Expressions being used to describe his extraordinary talent, his skills not only as a guitarist but as an insightful composer and arranger, underline the music he creates on stage with his outstanding style such as “jazz maestro”, “guitar phenomenon” or “guitar wizard of jazz” are known by now as synonyms for the self-taught musician Jimmy Dludlu.”
JIMMY DLUDLU was 13 years old when he first picked up a cousin’s home made guitar and started teaching himself to play by imitating the jazz and African music he heard on the radio. His first performances were at township weddings and functions with his cousin. His career took off in earnest in the mid-1980’s, when he worked with various southern African bands including Impandze from Swaziland, featuring Jamaican singer Trevor Hall, Kalahari and Satari from Botswana, as well as Anansi, featuring the Ghanaian saxophonist George Lee. A highlight of this period was his performance with Anansi at the Botswana Independence celebrations in 1986, alongside a range of African stars including Thomas Mapfumo.In Johannesburg in 1990, Jimmy worked as a session musician. He worked with McCoy Mrubata and his band Brotherhood, which a year later won the Gilbey’s Music of Africa Competition. In September 1990, he also took part in the Market Theatre production Conversations with Canadian Bruce Cassidy on Trumpet and EVI, and South African Barney Rachabane on sax. In 1991, he was a founder member of the highly successful group Loading Zone, which went on to tour across the continent, backing a range of South African stars including Hugh Masekela, Miriam Makeba, Brenda Fassie, Chicco and Sipho Mabuse. During this period, Jimmy also recorded with Miriam Makeba on the album “Eyes on Tomorrow”, and participated in the Sun City production Sax Appeal, appearing with the likes of Rene McLean, Winston Mankunku, Robbie Jansen, Victor Ntoni and the late Duke Makasi. A highlight of this period was Loading Zone’s Namibian tour in 1992, when they were spotted by Zairean world-music star Papa Wemba, who subsequently asked the band to back him on several dates in Namibia.In July 1993, saxophonist Morris Goldberg invited him to perform with his band Ojoyo at the Smirnoff Jazz festival in Grahamstown. He returned to the festival the following year to perform with jazz legend Herb Ellis, a long-time member of Oscar Peterson’s ensembles. Working with these jazz greats, Jimmy decided to pursue music studies, and moved to Cape Town in order to enrol in the Jazz Programme at University of Cape Town’s College of Music. Unperturbed by the intensive media coverage he was attracting, Jimmy was determined to focus on his studies at UCT, and developing his original music. From 1994 onwards, his distinctive musical style was becoming evident through a series of high-profile appearances, which eventually caught the attention of the SA record industry. In September 1994, he participated in Johannesburg’s Arts Alive and Guinness Jazz festivals with his own band, featuring Vusi Khumalo on drums, Fana Zulu on bass, Moses Molelekwa on piano, McCoy Mrubata on sax and John Hassan on percussion. In April 1995, Jimmy appeared in the Night of 100 Stars at Cape Town’s Nico Malan Opera House, a charity event which benefited organizations such as the Centre for Battered Women and Street Children. In May 1995 he was one of 30 musicians – including Hugh Masekela, Busi Mhlongo, Dolly Rathebe and Dorothy Masuka – selected to participate in a festival in Paris La Villette celebrating South African culture. An intimate documentary about Jimmy’s career was produced by Cape Town-based Revel Fox. Entitled The Birth of Jimmy Dludlu, the 30-minute portrait was broadcast on NNTV in May 1995. In October 1995, Jimmy and his own band C-Base Collective shared the stage with Senegalese singer and guitarist Ismaël Lô’s African Reconnection Tour in Cape Town. With C-Base Collective, Jimmy performed 2 highly acclaimed shows alongside Courtney Pine at the 1996 Arts Alive Festival in Johannesburg, and found himself a PolyGram recording artist by the end of the year.His debut album for PolyGram, Echoes from the Past, was released in September 1997 to a wealth of superlatives from the media. The album was also well received by the industry, as Jimmy received 2 FNB SAMA Awards for “Best Newcomer” and “Best Contemporary Jazz Album” in 1998, and by the general public, as sales figures in January 1999 indicated sales in excess of 25 000 copies. The album has since been released in nine territories on the Verve label, including United States, Italy, Switzerland, Sweden and Hungary. In March 2000, Jimmy was further acknowledged by the South African music industry, winning the “Best Male Artist” category, and with “Essence of Rhythm” taking the “Best Contemporary Jazz Album” prize at the SAMA Music AwardsJimmy Dludlu’s style includes wide-ranging influences, combining both traditional and modern elements of jazz drawn from among others Wes Montgomery, George Benson and Pat Metheny, to South African legends Miriam Makeba, Letta Mbulu, Hugh Masekela, Themba Mokwena, and Allen Kwela. He is particularly drawn to the sounds of west and central Africa, as well as Latin America, but says jazz remains his first love. His numerous original compositions fall within the tradition of what has been loosely termed Afro-Jazz.
Jonas Gwangwa is one of the most accomplished and versatile South African jazz musicians and has thrilled audiences around the world with his artistry as a trombonist/composer and all around creative genius. For over 30 years, he traversed the world as an exile, collecting accolades at every stop along the way. A product of the turbulent but musically significant 1950’s, Gwangwa came from Soweto and electrified the Sophiatown music scene until it became illegal for Blacks to congregate and South African musicians were jailed for performing. Nevertheless, he blazed a fiery path in South Africa by playing with virtually every important band of the era, including the Jazz Epistles, a group that included icons Kippie Moeketsi, Abdullah Ibrahim, Johnny Gertse and Makhaya Ntshoko.
In 1961, Gwangwa toured England with the hit musical King Kong. He then went to the United States where he resided for 15 years and studied at New York’s prestigious Manhattan School of Music. Gwangwa earned his “break” through music legend Harry Belafonte who over the years has been a staunch supporter of both the ANC and Gwangwa’s personal career. Gwangwa has been a compatriot of Ahmad Jamal, Herb Alpert and contemporaries Hugh Masekela, Miriam Makeba, and Caiphus Semenya.
His commitment to the struggle to end apartheid has always been intrinsic to his music. He narrowly escaped death in 1985 when his home was blown up by South African security forces. (Several of his close friends were killed.) Gwangwa’s lifework crystallised when he composed, arranged and was musical director of Amandla, the much-heralded worldwide ANC cultural ensemble tour to which he devoted ten years of his life.
A prolific composer, Gwangwa joined forces with George Fenton to create the original score and theme song for the Richard Attenborough film, Cry Freedom. The score achieved Oscar, Grammy, Bafta, Golden Globe and Anthony Asquith award nominations and won Ivor Novello and Black Emmy Awards. He returned to South Africa in 1991 and in 1994, his life long dream of freedom was realised when Nelson Mandela was elected president of a democratic new South Africa.
Judith Sephuma decided to make music her career at the age of 15. After reaching the finals of the Shell Road to Fame contest in 1994, and the finals in SABC’s Jam Alley Search for Talent, she attended Fuba Academy in Johannesburg for a year. She has subsequently been studying Jazz Performance at the University of Cape Town, and will be graduating in June 2000 with an Honours degree in Jazz Performance.
She has been a member of Cape Towns bands Taola, Jimmy Dludlu and the C-Base Collective (with whom she appeared at the 1996 Arts Alive Festival), and the Cape Jazz Orchestra, and is now developing her solo career. Her versatility and professionalism have afforded her the opportunity to work with many well known artists, including Sibongile Khumalo, Jennifer Jones, British saxophonist Dave O’Higgins, pianist Jack von Poll and others.
Judith has broadened her international experience, working on the Princess Symphony cruise ship in the Indian Ocean, participating in the Fin de Siecle Festival in Nantes, France, and also during 1999 appearing in the Netherlands at the invitation of the SA Embassy.
Whilst maintaining a busy solo performance schedule, she is regularly featured as a soloist with Loading Zone, Virtual Jazz Reality, and the Cape Jazz Orchestra.
During 1999, Judith was signed as a recording artist to BMG Africa, and is due to release her debut album late in 2000. She will also be travelling to the Netherlands shortly, to work with the Netherlands Metropole Orchestra.
KOPANO (UNITY) QUARTET
The Kopano (Unity) Quartet comprises of a group of outstanding musicians operating under the title The Function Collective, which offers a variety of entertainment solutions across a wide spectrum of musical genres and technical requirements. The various musicians represent some of the best players in the Johannesburg area, with the outfits headed by jazz, classical and rock guitarist Jonathan Crossley. The Kopano (Unity) Quartet features Jonathan Crossley on guitars, Sydney Mnisi on saxophones, Marc Duby on bass and Godfrey Mgcina on drums. The band is exceptionally well rehearsed and has been working as a fixed unit for a number of years. They have worked for a large number of corporate clients such as Dimention Data, Nedbank, Avon, Toyota, Alan & Alan, Gerling and Standard Bank to name a few.
Venues regularly performed at include Keystone, Fairlawns, Gallagher Estate, Helderkruin, La Habana Café, Summerplace, The Palace – Sun City and The Castle amongst others. The collective only uses top class musicians from the different genres represented, such as Avzal Ishmail on piano, The O & R Sessions DJ’s, Concord Nkabinde on bass, Godfrey Mgcina on drums, Herbie Tsoeli on bass, Iliska Crossley on Piano, Johnny Fourie on guitar, Jonathan Crossley on guitar, Marc Duby on bass, Neill Ettridge on drums and Sydney Mnisi on saxophone and Marcus Wyatt on trumpet. They can also perform as a Quintet adding a female/ or male voice to their sound.
Paul Hanmer was born in Cape Town in 1961. His musical interest started at an early age. In the early 1970’s, he began classical piano and theory lessons. After three years at the University of Cape Town, studying for a B.Mus degree, Paul started working in a variety of fields. He performed with Top-40 bands, did jazz standards and played with many original bands. He was involved in backing various cabaret acts and played in musicals as well as the theatre circuit.
Paul’s musical talents are vast. Not only is he a recording artist and session pianist, but he enjoys working as a composer and an arranger. He loves to work with other composers who have a distinctive South African voice and are proud of it.
With his love for collaborative work, Paul has recorded with the likes of Tananas, Miriam Makeba, Ray Phiri, McCoy Mrubata and Unofficial Language. He also formed part of and toured with Tony Cox’s Cool Friction and recently collaborated with Pops Mohamed, for a “Main Stage” production at the Grahamstown Festival.
Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse
Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse was born in Johannesburg on 2 November 1951. He took to music by playing drums at the age of eight and went on to form a band with school mates in high school. The band was first as “The Beaters”, which went on to achieve fame under the name of “Harare”. He started performing as a professional musician at the age of fifteen.
During his musical career spanning over 28 years, Hotstix has performed in virtually every country in Southern Africa, has toured and performed in the United States of America, the United Kingdom, France, German and Italy.
He has also recorded and produced for, amongst others, Mirriam Makeba, Hugh Masekela, Ray Phiri and Sibongile Khumalo, in addition, he has also written and performed on the institute of Human Rights Education Oratorio.
After close to ten years of silence, leading South African musician Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse has released a new album entitled “Township Child”. This album will be launched to a select group of journalists, celebrities and music retailers during a private listening later this month.
Explaining why it took so long to come up with a follow-up to “Burnout”, which sold over 500-00 copies in the early 80’s Sipho says:” After 28 years in the music industry, one is always mindful of trends, one had to outgrow certain types of music industry, and I needed this break to ponder on my musical direction”.
“This I was able to achieve because I enabled myself to learn from other people, not being judgmental about what other people were doing in music and playing different roles in other things like the organisation of the musicians association and other developmental work”.
“I still regard myself as a pop musician, but of different kind. You must bear in mind that South Africa has no defined mainstream pop because of our history as as a nation. This album attempts also to assert a particular style of South African pop music.
“I am very excited about this album. In a way it is an articulation of my aspiration in music”, says Sipho. “The fact that I have a profile in both the music industry and in the community meant that I had to make music that would sustain my credibility beyond the domain of the artist. Hence the strong social and political statements apparent in the music”.
Township Child contains 14 tracks in all and took more than a year to produce. It showcase a variety of musical style like dance, reggae, jazz, mbaqanga, kwela and gospel amongst others. Among the artists featuring on this album are Ray Phiri, Victor Masondo, Stompie Manana, Khaya Mahlangu, Umfaz’ Omnyama, Ringo Madlingozi and a new and exciting group called blood.
“I wrote all the tracks on this album, and precluded it myself because I knew what I wanted. It was and added bonus for me to rope in seasoned musicians like Khaya Mahlangu and Victor Masondo because these guys can play anything and still bring their magic touch to the finished product”, he enthuses.
On the broad range of musical styles he says: “it is always easy to play bubblegum music, but could I really call myself a serious musician, especially after so many years in the industry?” “I’ve tried to give as much of my talent as possible. I do not want to pigeon-hole myself. I want to be a total musician in the mould of Phil Collins, Sting and Al Jarreau etc.
“Another case in point is the reggae piece Suite June 16. This song reflects on a particular period in our history books. I looked for musical style that would best encapsulate that reflections. Reggae was the appropriate style in this regard because it also reflects on the tribulations of the Jamaican people and seeks to emancipate them through lyrics like: “Get up, Stand up”, “Equal Rights, and so on. This is also found in our music”. Another reason is that the South African market can influence an artist’s musical direction. One must remember that the music industry is a business, sales keep it going. It is also a reflection of what society is about. My favourite track on this album is Enchanted Garden. It is romanticized rendition of my love for nature and the environment. It is a very special to me”. “Another special track is Rainbow Nation, which reflects on what we’re trying to achieve in this country, where we’re from etc. It is a very positive song”.
Guitarist, singer and composer Selaelo Selota’s music style is influenced by the traditional singing and dancing of the gold mine’s migrant workers amongst whom he lived, the Pedi melodies with which he grew up and the jazz he heard at Kippie’s Jazz Club where he was a cleaner.
He performed with the famous Ghanaian George Lee and Anansi and in 1995 Selaelo formed Meropa who appeared on the Grahamstown Arts Festival Fringe. In 1996 he formed Taola who played at the UCT Jazz Festival in Cape Town and at the Fin de Siecle Music Festival in Nantes, France to standing ovations. He was spotted by the managing director of the North Sea Jazz Festival who invited him to perform the following year. Selaelo also performed at the Brussels Jazz Festival that same year.
Selaelo studied and taught jazz guitar at the FUBA Academy and the University of Cape Town’s College of Music. He regularly features as a soloist and is a composer and a session musician. He won second place in the Adcock Ingram Music Competition in 1996 and in 1997 came first in the Jazz category. In March 1999 Selaelo won the Instrumental Category of the Old Mutual Jazz into the Future Talent Search Competition.
Sylvia Ncediwe Mdunyelwa
Sylvia Ncediwe Mdunyelwa Jazz singer, Sylvia Ncediwe Mdunyelwa, who hails from Langa, is also a professional freelance actor (TV plays, radio voice-overs, advertisement jingles) and has also managed to fit in a busy performance schedule over the past two decades.
Sylvia started singing in the 70’s when she joined Victor Ntoni’s sextet, and has gone on to perform with a host of Capetonian musicians including Merton Barrow, Winston Mankunku, Nick Carter, and Duke & Ezra Ngcukana.
After taking a group of young aspiring musicians to the International Children’s Jazz Festival in Canada during 1990, Sylvia returned to win a scholarship from the Educational Opportunities Council and studied music for six months at UCLA. The experience led her to experience a wealth of different cultures and she attended classes with many American musicians (including Kenny Burrell), in addition to using the experience to brush up on her history of music and theatre.
According to Sylvia, going to the USA “gave me the opportunity to learn a lot of new skills, which I hope I have and will continue to channel back into the community. I’ve always been something of a community worker, helping others with achieving their dreams”.
Since her studies in the US, Sylvia has been invited to tour Germany and performed at the Berlin Festival in 1994. She was also part of a cultural exchange programme in 1997, that allowed her to travel and perform in Bogota, South America. Sylvia’s current small screen appearances include being part of a BBC production on the life of Bishop Desmond Tutu.
Currently, Sylvia is concentrating all her energies, when not performing, into establishing a school of jazz in the South African township, Langa. Every Sunday, Sylvia presents her own programme, Voice of Jazz, on Cape Town radio station, P4 Radio, and also a member on the board of Fine Music Radio, a classical jazz station. Sylvia also runs her own TV and Film Production house.
In 1998, Sylvia’s live performance at the Standard Bank Jazz Festival in Grahamstown was recorded, and subsequently released as ‘African Diva, Live in Africa’.
NCEDIWE REPERTOIRE LIST
Nearess of you
All of me
Stormy weather (in Xhosa)
Let’s fall in love
Like someone in love
Where are the children
Virtual Jazz Reality
Currently known as Cape Town’s premiere function band. Performing as a 6-piece (including Judith Sephuma or Merle Allie), or as a 5-piece band, still inlcuding a female vocalist.
They have collectively and individually performed with top international artists such as Pavarotti, Shakatak, Miriam Makeba, Jonathan Butler, Hugh Masekela and Jimmy Dlu-Dlu.
As a result of their combined expertise hey have a varied repertoire that appeals to any audience, suitable for any type of function from a concert to a party.
It can safely be said that this band boasts the largest and most versatile repertoire of any group in South Africa.
Wendy’s love affair with the classic jazz standards and swinging hits of earlier decades started when she was a young girl growing up in the smoky coal town of Witbank South Africa. While the seemingly insignificant ‘dorp’ could be considered a very unlikely birthplace for a jazz musician, it was the rich musicality of her parents and grandparents which helped form her musical tastes. Wendy grew up listening to the jazz classics, Sting, Billy Joel, The Doobie Brothers and Super Tramp. Although a regular participator in stage productions and dancing shows, she focused her attention on music making and at age 15 landed a gig playing piano and singing at a hometown restaurant every weekend. Her formal study of music was put on ice whilst completing a Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemistry, but she continued to work with various bands exploring several genres of music.
Wendy’s love for the great jazz and Blues vocalist pianists Shirley Horn, Ella Fitzgerald, Carmen McRae, Sarah Vaughn, Dina Washington and Diana Krell influenced her to focus on developing a career in jazz music. She has learnt from and worked with high profile jazz musicians including Johnny Fourie, Denis Lalouette, Avzal Ismail, Neil Ettridge, Jonathan Crossley and Brendon Ross.
Wendy created, produced and directed the musical tribute to the Andrews Sisters of yesteryear, called Sisters Sentimental. This vibrant cabaret with its dynamic harmonies takes its audience on a sentimental journey back to the Second World War era with good old favourites like Lullaby of Broadway, Chattanooga Choo Choo and Boogie Woogie Bugle Box to name a few. The Sisters Sentimental Trio, of which Wendy is a part, together with a five piece band made of the country’s finest session musicians, has enjoyed adoring audiences and country-wide publicity. Wendy is a respected and recognised jazz artist who makes her presence known with her unforgettable, deep and husky voice.
IN MEMORY OF HUGH MASEKELA
As one of South Africa’s most famous musicians, Hugh Masekela has achieved fame both locally and internationally. He went into exile during the 60’s, touring and living in the United States, Lagos, Lesotho and Botswana where he spent most of his exiled years. Hugh is a trumpeter, composer and singer who has an electric stage presence. His music is a mix of African and American jazz, township jive and Afrobeat, infused with traditional African melodies.
Louis Armstrong, whom Hugh met in New York, gave him his first trumpet. While in exile Hugh worked with top South African and international musicians including Fela A Kuti, Caiphus Semenya, Letta Mbulu, Miriam Makeba, Jonas Gwangwa and Dudu Pukwana. More recently he has worked with Sibongile Khumalo, Kaya Mhlangu, Jabu Khanyile and the Mahotela Queens. He toured alongside Miriam Makeba, Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Bakithi Khumalo on Paul Simon’s Graceland tour. Hugh has released many albums both abroad and in South Africa and has had several hits on both US and local radio.
Upon his return from exile in 1990, Hugh put on a show with Sankomota and Bayete. The show toured South Africa and performed to sold out audiences. Hugh is highly respected within the music industry and continues to record albums and perform both locally and abroad.
IN MEMORY OF DOLLY RATHEBE & PETER MAKONATELA – THE ELITE SWINGSTERS
Since 1958, the Elite Swingsters have been the most consistently popular exponents of that uniquely South African musical brew known as African Jazz, but don’t dismiss the band as a bunch of mouldy old revivalists. The Elite’s’ music may have been fashioned from the continuation of a great tradition but they’re not content to merely recreate past glories. And when you see that word “Jazz” in this context don’t start thinking about the cool, obscure, atonal variety that requires a musicology degree to “understand”.
The Swingsters’ African Jazz is quite simply some of the world’s greatest party music. Its strong on good, classic melodies – the kind that keep repeating themselves on your own mental jukebox long after the gig is over or the record is finished – served up with hot, instantly contagious rhythms that lift burns out of seats and onto a dancefloor. Stylistically speaking, its really a blend of African melodies and harmonies with American swing, together with an added dose of New Orleans rhythm and blues and even some good ol’ rock ‘n roll thrown in for good measure.
Of course, it is useful to have a well-established reputation and the Elite Swingsters have long been a household name in the townships. Thanks to this the band has featured at a number of gigs that would be right at the top of anybody’s social calendar. First there was a small party for the previous State President (where he ended up dancing with the Elite’s vocalist, Dolly Rathebe), then they played at the prestigious launch of Dr Mandela’s autobiography, “Long Walk To Freedom” (where trumpeter Hugh Masekela sat in on a few numbers). The Elite’s were also chosen to play at Westminster Abbey for the occasion marking South Africa’s re-admittance to the British Commonwealth. Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles headed the guest list and the Prince went out of his way to chat to the individual band members, then asked for some more of the music.
But what in a way is even more gratifying is the fact that the Elites are now being discovered by an entirely new audience, the result of a hectic schedule which has encompassed dozens of private parties and functions as wall as some sensational public appearances at various nightspots.
After playing for a recent gathering of local and American businessmen (at a resort in the Natal Drakensberg) some of the South Africans confided to the band that they had initially assumed the Elites were an American import! Several also added how much they regretted that the divisions of the apartheid years had kept them so completely ignorant of the band and their music.
Peter Makonatela is the bandleader and joined the band in 1961 when he was still in his teens. He’s on alto sax (not to mention an occasional outing on pennywhistle) and besides providing many of the extended solos, he forms part of an extremely well oiled saxophone section that provides the always distinctive essence of the Elite’s sound.
Peter is arguably one of the best alto sax players in the business and writes most of the band’s material. His songs have received recognition overseas where they have been used for commercial advertising and by other artists.
The other members are more recent additions who have played a critical role in modifying the band’s style to keep it ever fresh and up-to-date. Providing a melodic counterpoint to the saxes (as well as a considerable punch to the rhythm) are the almost boogie-woogie keyboards of Dan Ngema (who started his musical career as a Sotho Traditional accordion player) and the sizzling bluesy guitar of George ‘Magu Mangxola. ‘Magy is a mbaquanga veteran of hundreds of recording sessions and one of South Africa’s all-time great guitarists (His sister Mildred is one of the Mahotella Queens) The two youngsters who provide the rock solid, but swinging rhythmic underpinning for the band, are drummer Jackie Mogale and Paul Ntleru on bass guitar. They both earned their chops playing together for Nature, a local disco outfit, and got involved with the Swingsters almost by accident. Paul, in particular, hesitated at first to join a band whose style was so different from the one he’d grown up with. He says, “It was difficult for me at first but I now know that this is the music I always wanted to play”.
Last but far from least, there’s vocalist Dolly Rathebe, “The Queen of The Blues”. She was already a veteran star when she sang regularly with the Elite’s in the 1960’s, having earlier made her name as the country’s first African female jazz vocalist and film actress (not to mention magazine cover girl!). Dolly rejoined the band a few years back and today, her legendary prowess remains totally intact.
She can handle a rocker or a ballad with perfect aplomb, thanks to a voice incorporating what is undoubtedly the silkiest and most sultry low range in the business.
The concept behind the latest Elite Swingsters recording, “Siya Gida – We Dance”, was to recreate in the studio a typical program of the band’s current performances. There are several brand new tunes penned by various members of the band (“Get Me Right”, “Shebeen Dance”, “Dipholo” and “Ke Filwe”) mixed with a number of older standards. Glen Miller’s classic “In The Mood” is given an African touch “Skokiaan” is a Zimbabwean evergreen from the early 1950’s, which become internationally popular when recorded by Louis Armstrong, among many others.
IN MEMORY OF CHRIS TOKALON
Well-known South African musician Chris Tokalon is both a saxophonist and flautist. He is available as a solo musician or in ensembles to brighten up any special occasion and performs a variety of favourite jazz and African standards. Chris had been performing in jazz bands, musicals and theatre events since 1980. He is currently involved in the seven-piece band Kwassa Nkemba, which performs an exciting selection of African jazz originals from their CD entitled One World Music, released to wide acclaim from the music industry and public alike.
Kwassa Nkemba is the ideal party or function band. The band members dress in traditional West African outfits and perform a large variety of vibrant dance rhythms and styles, i.e. West African, South African and Samba. They are also able to play background music if required.
Chris is also a comedian who is able to skillfully imitate Madiba, Satchmo and the trumpet, perfectly and hilariously accompanied to music or as a “special guest” speaker to add humour and lightness to corporate presentations.
CHRIS TOKALON – SOUND JOURNEY
Famous South African musician Chris Tokalon offers a fun-filled and inspiring alternative to conventional corporate teambuilding events, his is a humorous and/or holistic approach to the often-overlooked aspect of corporate wellbeing.
The event starts with interactive music making (not drumming!) conducted by this skilled musician, comedian and impersonator. The music performed by delegates or staff members is simple and suitable for any level of musicianship and involves the use of plastic pipes of varying length and pitch, hand clapping, finger-snapping and voice. All of this is completely interactive and hilarious. Chris plays sax or mouth trumpet and does Satchmo impersonations with the rest of the “band”. The simple rhythms performed by the delegates create co-operation and rapport within the group and a wonderful sense of fun and unity is the end result.
The second phase, which is a ‘sound journey’, can be conducted as a separate event or in conjunction with the above. Participants close their eyes and allow themselves to be ‘massaged’ and mesmerised by a variety of soothing, harmonious sounds produced live by Chris and his team as they walk around the participants. Some of the instruments used are flute, didgeridoo, Tibetan bowl, bells and voice, along with evocations of natural sounds. These powerful and evocative sound-waves massage the body on a cellular level and are guaranteed to create revitalization, calmness and a sense of harmony, qualities necessary for enhanced interaction and productivity in groups or individuals. The uplifting and stress-relieving qualities of music and humour are known and documented worldwide – when combined they are bound to produce an unforgettable and transformational event.
In Memory of Sipho Gumede
was born in Cator Manor, Durban. His earliest musical memory is of playing guitar and penny whistle. The guitar was home made: a 5 gallon tin, wood and fish gut. He and his friends would play the tunes of Spokes Mashiyane, Zakes Nkosi and Lemmy “Special” Mabaso.
At the age of 12, Sipho went to stay on a farm some 30 kms from Umlazi. He was exposed to many different kinds of music – vocal and soulful traditions, the music of weddings and funerals. After school each day, he’d pass the time watching cattle practising on a borrowed guitar. This period was crucial in the formation of Sipho’s musical outlook.
Sipho returned to Umlazi at the age of 16 and met the late great jazz guitarist, Cyril Magubane who introduced him to the music of Wes Montgomery and the world of jazz. He also met Dick Khoza and landed his first professional job as a member of the Jazz Revellers, switching from guitar to bass.
In 1970, Sipho headed for Johannesburg, arriving in a strange city he headed for the only place he knew. Dorkay House in Eloff Street. There, he met the great musicians of the time. He joined Dennis Mpale and Cocky Tlhotlhalemaje in “Isintu” and worked with Dennis’ band at the Piano Culo Music Festival. Thereafter, Sipho rejoined Dick khoza who was based at the Pelican Nightclub. The Pelican was a great musical laboratory in the 1970’s. On any given night, legendary artists would pop in for a jam or perform as part of the Sunday night cabaret.
Later Sipho joined Gibson Kente and toured the country. He then left Gibson to concentrate on practising and perfecting his technique, upon hearing the music of Stanley Clarke, Airto Moreira, Flora Purim and Chick Corea. He then teamed up with Jabu Nkosi, Barney Rachabane, Duke Makasi, Dennis Mpale and Enoch Mtlelane as the short lived Roots. After the demise of the Roots, Sipho met Bheki Mseleku forming a dynamic and creative partnership which eventually led to the formation of Spirits Rejoice – a group which provided the space to create, which both artists had been looking for. Spirits Rejoice were an innovative and creative band that explored the many facets of jazz fusion. In 1982, Sipho together with Khaya Mahlangu, decided to explore fusion coupled with the African sounds he had grown up with, and so Sakhile was born. It was here that Sipho was able to merge the divergent musical paths travelled over the years and produce magical songs like ‘Mantombi’.
Since then, Sipho has continuously been creating new and challenging music through a series of inspired collaborations. He toured the United States of America, Canada and the Bahamas with Harry Belafonte and Letta Mbulu. Along with Caiphus Semenya, Hugh Masekela, Jonas Gwangwa and Letta Mbuli, he produced the musical show ‘Buwa’, which told the story of South African music in the context of South African history. The show played in Harare, Zimbabwe and several other African states before it closed in Sweden. 1987 saw the rebirth of Sakhile. They toured Switzerland, Italy and the United Kingdom. They also represented South Africa at the ‘Meeting of the World’ music festival which took place in Finland and the (then) Soviet Union. Sakhile also toured several African states and together with Abigail Kubheka, they played all the major cities in Germany. Later that same year, Sipho performed with Caiphus Semenya, Letta Mbulu and Hugh Masekela at the Montreux Jazz Festival in an African Evening produced by Quincy Jones.
In 1992, his solo album “Thank you for Listening” won an OKTV Award for Best African Fusion Album. In 1995 he was awarded with an achievement award from Johnny Walker Black Label for his outstanding contribution to the South African Music Industry.
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