Jazz has always been an expression of feelings, thoughts and a representation of cultural diversity. Mainly started in the United States, its innovation and creativity sparked a movement in communities, eventually spreading to all corners of the world and stars such as Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Miles Davis and Ella Fitzgerald, among many others, were born.
With its sultry, soothing sounds, the phenomenal genre is one Namibia holds dear and this is vividly displayed through the annual Windhoek Jazz Festival.
This year, music lovers can celebrate jazz on 5 November at the Hage Geingob Stadium where some of the biggest names will perform. To get yourself fully acquainted with who’s who at the upcoming concert, The Weekender briefly profiled the stars headlining the Jazz Festival.
She stole our hearts about two years ago with her hit track ‘Pumpkin’ and there’s no doubt that it captured national interest. Celebrating Afro-jazz in style, Chikune (24), real name, Colleen Tjikune, is a soulful singer who has competed in the World Championship of the Performing Arts and various singing competitions in the US.
Her video for the song ‘Pumpkin’ has already reached over 10 000 views and her hit ‘Kapana’ is currently making waves all over radio stations.
We know him and we love him. The ‘Moro Moro’ singer has performed at some of the biggest events in the country and never fails to entertain the crowds. Having previously opened for Hugh Masekela and performed on the same stage as Salif Keita, Johnny Clegg, Zahara, Freshlyground and many others, Big Ben has also won a number of awards at the NAMAs, including the ‘Award for Best Song with a Message’ in 2015. He also has his own band, called The Last Band, made up of other musicians.
She’s a saxophone queen and proving to be one of the very best at the art of all things sax. Suzy Eises, a household name in the music industry, broke into the Namibian industry with her performance at the Namibia Annual Music Awards (NAMAs) in Windhoek years ago and has flourished ever since.
Using her skill to incorporate the saxophone into songs which normally wouldn’t be accompanied by the instrument, she’s gone on to collaborate with big names such as Gazza and Cool Under Pressure, not to mention making cover versions of songs such as Drake’s ‘Controlla’. You have got to love her.
Fu Jazz Band
Described as having an eclectic style, the Fu Jazz band consisted of the late Jakus Krige, singers Romancia Shoong and Raymond Pande, Jeremiah Kasinda, John Kasinda, Fernandez Paulus and Jan Willem Beuke.
The loss of one of their prominent members may have been a huge blow to the group and the music industry, but fans should definitely take note of this band, as an out-of-this-world performance is guaranteed.
She has performed all over the world, from the cryptic streets of Cairo to the bustling boulevards of Lisbon, thanks to her smooth and soulful voice. In 2011, she released her album ‘Heart Mouth Dialogues’ which received quite positive reviews. She has also collaborated with UK rock group These New Puritans on their album ‘Field of Reeds’ released in 2013.
Prominent with the piano in a majority of her songs, Rodrigues performs in both Portuguese and English.
Scoring success with his hits such as ‘Imibuzo’ and ‘Nomvula’, South African singer-songwriter Nathi Mankayi’s voice is certainly one that will leave you in a daze. His three-time-platinum album ‘Buyelekhaya’ released in 2015 received critical acclaim and sold over 128 000 units. The album also won the ‘Best Selling Album of the Year’ and ‘Best R&B/Soul/Reggae Album’ awards at the South African Music Awards last year.
Caiphus Semenya and Letta Mbulu
He’s legendary and well-known among a certain circle of music lovers. South African composer and musician Caiphus Semenya’s best hits include ‘Angelina’ and ‘Matswale’. Associated with acts such as Quincy Jones, Hugh Masekela, Miriam Makeba and other big names, he has done major work in music even arranging the Swahili chant in Michael Jackson’s ‘Liberian Girl. With four albums under his name and an ACT Lifetime Achievement Award for Music and an Academy Award for Best Original Score in ‘The Colour Purple’, the 77-year-old is bound to bring the house down.
His wife Letta Mbulu is also a legend in the jazz industry.
Born in South Africa, the 74-year-old singer toured in her teens with the musical ‘King Kong’ but eventually left for the US due to apartheid. There, she connected with a legion of celebrities and proceeded to work with top producers such as David Axelrod and Harry Belafonte. Her songs have been featured in ‘Roots’ and ‘The Colour Purple.
Roman and Julian Wassefur
In 2005, they debuted with their album ‘Remember Chet’ and have been making waves in the jazz industry ever since. Brothers Roman and Julian Wassefur are skilled in the industry and are seen as one of Germany’s most renowned jazz musicians. With Julian on the trumpet and Roman on the piano, they have attracted thousands by wooing them with their skills. Prepare to be wowed.