Following furious voting from thousands of fans across the country this past weekend, the final five bands competing for a spot at the 18th Cape Town International Jazz Festival (CTIJF), have been announced. The second espYoungLegends competition has been met with huge support – from bands and the public – and clearly indicates a need for competitions of this nature and ones that set such a high professional standard.
These five remaining competitors face a nail-biting few days as the panel – headed by the Festival Director, Billy Domingo – deliberate on which band will win the grand prize of performing at the upcoming CTIJF 2017.
Commenting on the scope of this year’s competition, Bev Scott-Brown, who has been integrally involved in coordinating the entries and working with Domingo and his team to assess each one, says: “We had a much larger number of entries this year, from a far wider range of areas around South Africa. Genres included traditional South African jazz, hip hop, R&B, soul and mainstream jazz. The level of entries we have received is high and we are very confident that the eventual winner will fit in really well on the CTIJF 2017 stage.”
Billy Domingo agrees, remarking with his customary passion: “I’m a big supporter of local artists. We have exceptional talent in this country and on this continent. Competitions like this that seek to identify the next big thing, give their fans an opportunity to support them publicly and then provide an international stage on which to perform, helping them to hone their craft in front of large audiences, and leading the way in developing a vibrant and lasting entertainment industry.”
The Official Top 5 espYoungLegends 2017 bands, in no particular order:
Etuk Ubong Quartet – Etuk is a Nigerian born trumpeter and flugelhorn player who is fast making a name on the SA jazz scene. With his quartet that includes Ludwe Danxa on piano, Shakeel Cullis on double bass and Keno Carelse on drums, Etuk, who started playing at the age of 14, is regularly playing to packed audiences who readily soak up their intriguing sound.
Manouche – The 21st century sound of Manouche, blends 21st Century sound of traditional Gypsy jazz with tango, waltz, folk, R&B, hip-hop and electro swing to bring audiences an original, fresh and slightly spicy sound is current, fresh and totally invigorating. Bernard Kotze – composer & guitarist; Anneli Kamfer – lead vocals; Diana Nielle – violinist & vocals and, Sarah Blake – bassist & vocals.
Rhythmic Clique – incidentally, also the public’s favourite vote – are a mixed accapella jazz band whose sole purpose is to breathe life into their listeners by addressing life, love, spiritual and socioeconomic matters through their intricate jazz harmonies that carry a uniquely African rhythm. Anyone listening hears and fully understands. The group consists of: Siphuxolo Ngculu (Joe); Balungile Ralarala (lungy), Babalo Mdliva (Balo), Mcebisi Shenxane (Mce), Yonela Mbengo (Yhoza).
VuDu – a fusion of traditional American and African jazz with urban contemporary genres, VuDu was founded in 2009 by Alec Mackay (bass) who recruited Virgil Matrass (keys), Sisanda “Sid” Myataza (vocals) and Kristo Zondagh (drums) to form a straight ahead jazz band. VuDu soon started writing original material and shortly thereafter recorded their first single, “Why,” a Neo-Soul composition, followed by their first EP, “The Birth of a New Sound,” which expanded their sound into experimental territories.
Zama & The Alan – comprising Msinga(KZN) born lead vocalist Zama Madondo (26) and Harare born guitarist Alan Kupeta (26), Zama & The Alan use acoustic and electric guitars, bass, drums and a shaker to create their original music. Fusing traditional African sounds with alternative rock, jazz, soul, pop, as well as Latin American elements, they generate sounds that “make you want to dance, feel and remember.”
The overall winner will be announced on Tuesday 1st November 2016.
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