Columns 28.3.2017 01:05 pm

Cape Town International Jazz Festival set to make jazz ‘lit’

Thamsanqa Mkwanazi.

Thamsanqa Mkwanazi.

Artists, producers, dancers, backup singers, lighting technicians and show directors are about to prove that, if we all pulled in the same direction, anything can be achieved.

Permission to attend this year’s Cape Town International Jazz Festival: check. The world’s top jazz and contemporary talent ready to rock enthusiasts such as myself: check. Being recalled at the last moment: not so cool. At least, should I get to OR Tambo Airport today and my flights have been changed, I can always say that I was not “recalled”, but rather kindly asked to “come back early, very early”.

From today until Sunday, April 2, I will be on an investment drive in the Republic of Cape Town, on a mission to uncover some of the finest arts and culture talent that will be gathered in the Mother City. I think we can agree that anyone who is willing to put the country’s needs first is doing great work, and they should be allowed to do this for as long as they are productive, right?

Indulge me for a moment, as I pretend that my mission is just as important, and I, in turn, am doing the right thing for the country. I am a firm believer that the arts and culture – in their many guises – can be used as an educational tool.

For instance, if you did not know that irresponsible statements can tank the rand, we can use a jazz composer to come up with a song that helps with this. Surely most of us know that what we say as leaders can instantly wipe out a few billions from our economy?

Perhaps the very same message of disapproval could have been sent via a mime, just to minimise international attention? These are artists who have plenty of expertise when it comes to being discreet. The Cape’s City Bowl will be full of these artists, all begging to be part of a jazz act or two.

As with previous renditions of the Cape Town International Jazz Festival, Africa’s grandest gathering is set to make jazz “lit”, for the lack of a better word. Artists, producers, dancers, backup singers, lighting technicians, show directors and hundreds of other role players are about to prove that, if we all pull in the same direction, anything can be achieved.

So what if a guitarist is in the UK and the drummer in South Africa? Let all pieces of the musical puzzle play their part wherever they are, and they can be reshuffled at a much more convenient time.

 

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