Represent Review: Joy of Jazz 2009

7725_125444861107_626136107_2274947_7421398_nRepresent shimmied in amongst all the Friday night jazz cats last weekend down in Newtown, Johannesburg at the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz 2009 festival – see our photostory here and read our take below from our team Nkateko Siweya and Hloni Ditse – Sharpile guys! : It’s a Friday just after rush hour traffic – it’s the last winter weekend and there’s no sign of a cold wind or rainy clouds, I wonder why… A long stream of cars flows past in an absolutely uniform precision, going in the opposite direction. Where are they going? People are supposed to be going home at this hour! Well not these music lovers… Mhhh, maybe all these people driving towards downtown Joburg might know that something interesting is about to go down.  I’m also heading downtown, Newtown to be exact, past the dim highway lights, to arrive at a light and bubbly (no direct relation to Champagne) scene of blue and white lights: the 2009 Standard Bank Joy Of Jazz.

I step into a mass of people of all ages, walking and mingling as if it were a holiday: we are in Jozi, the city that never sleeps. Such energy and excitement is derived from just being out and about in Newtown, Johannesburg city and it can be felt and witnessed by each face that makes up this buzzing crowd. One thing you are never short of in Joburg is a fashion parade, from the young funky attires to the mature elegantly dressed- that on its own is an art form unique to Africa’s greatest metropolitan. Our bright colours call out loud: “Welcome to the southern spring season!!”

The stages are set, the guests are here, the weather is clear and warm we are out and about in an era brimming with talent and skill. The stages in Newtown boasted the most adept and diversified jazz and soul musicians from many a corner of the globe. This is one time I wish I could replicate myself just for the night so I could get to fully immerse myself in the simultaneous happenings on all four stages. I would soothe myself with the foreign and blissful featuring artists like Room 11, Somi, Brian Thusi, Level 99, MAG, Minor Band, CJC, Live Rhythm, J4Dot, Solace and Soul Tique and the many more who showcased their talent at great length.

Even though my self- morphing into four of me didn’t go down, I did manage to catch a few of the legends in action, from the very appealing Judith Sephuma’s soulful choruses to Unathi Nkayi who was just having a wonderful jol with the audience at the market theatre – taking us back down memory lane and even localising some internationally acclaimed tracks. Jimmy Dludlu gave his hyper energetic performance that always rouses everyone to their feet. His new acquaintances from Senegal and other African countries just confirmed that music is indeed a universal language that transcends any and all cultural boundaries.

Of the numerous performances, the show stopper had to come from none other than Mr. Andreas Vollenweider and our very own Pops Mohamed, their collective skills were infused into one of the greatest Jazz collaborations of our time, bringing forth trance-inducing sounds unimaginable to man, leading many in the audience to intensely meditate during the performance. This was music at its best! P.S. Wish You Were Here…

Words by Nkateko KATZ Siweya
Images by Hloni Ditse

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