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Standard Bank Jazz Festival at the National Arts Festival, Grahamstown

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Standard Bank Jazz Festival at the National Arts Festival, Grahamstown

This year, the Standard Bank Jazz Festival programme, taking place alongside the 38th National Arts Festival (from 28 June to 8 July in Grahamstown), is developed around six distinct genres of Jazz. The themes are Youth, World Music / Gospel, Cross-over Jazz, Afro-Jazz, Mainstream Jazz and Modern Jazz.

Sibongile Khumalo

The Standard Bank National Youth Jazz Festival (SBNYJF) celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2012 with a suitably powerful line-up of musicians and teachers, gathered to perform for the audiences of the National Arts Festival, but also to inspire the 350 young South African jazz players gathered in Grahamstown – our national jazz future. The Festival celebrates two decades of jazz development with a blow-out performance of some of those who have been teaching and performing at the NYJF, putting together some of Europe’s leading performers with young South African talent in the Youth genre.

The World Music / Gospel genre is ushered in by the legendary Mango Groove, who has helped pioneer the course of South African music for over 25 years, enjoyed twelve Number 1 hits, performed to an estimated audience of a billion people via direct satellite link-up, and received every conceivable South African music and video award.

Standard Bank Arts

Known as South Africa’s “King of R&B”, the multi-awarded Loyiso Bala has broadened his musical horizons to focus on Gospel with his recent CD release. He is able to carry audiences through a musical kaleidoscope with his stage performances, and creates an astonishing blend of Jazz, Classical, Gospel, R&B, Soul and traditional South African music.

Hassan’adas epitomises the exoticism of World Music, blending original African rhythms and sounds with eclectic influences from musicians around the globe. Under Mozambiquan leader John Hassan the band produces a captivating collection of polyrhythms, sound textures, and musical colours to make it nearly impossible to stay in your seat and not start dancing!

With smooth and enchanting melodies and a beautiful fusion of Gospel, Jazz and R&B, Durban songbird Natalie Rungan compels listeners to relax, unwind and reconnect with the harmonious soul of music. Having performed on top international jazz and world-music stages, garnered a host of awards, and released her own albums, Natalie’s musical experience has earned her a place amongst South Africa’s greats. She performs with a band of exceptional musicality to create a sound described as “pure sunlight”.

Every once in a while a musician emerges who is able to surpass the limitations of traditional musical approaches to create a sound of transcendent musical feel and emotion. Steel pan player Andy Narell is one such musician. Never satisfied with the musical status quo, Narell continuously pushes the boundaries of musical innovation and performance. Here he presents a fascinating collaboration of steel pan fused with World Music and Jazz.

In the Cross-over Jazz genre, few artists can boast a résumé like Sibongile Khumalo’s. After winning the Standard Bank Young Artist Award in 1993, she has walked away with every major music award in South Africa. Able to bridge musical genres – Jazz, Opera, World, Traditional, Township – while making each her own, she has a voice immediately recognisable and always unique. Catch her once-off unforgettable performance filled with a thrilling string quartet and choir, poetry and narration.

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