Events

The Women of Cape Town International Jazz Festival Showed the Beautiful Diversity of 'Africa's Grandest Gathering'

This year’s festival welcomed Dope Saint Jude, The Internet, Laura Mvula and Andra Day whose sets reflected the evolving genre of jazz.

This year’s 18th annual Cape Town International Jazz Festival had some heavy-hitters when it came to performers, but the highlight were the women who graced the stage.


Deviating from the traditional jazz artists, the festival welcomed lyricist Dope Saint Jude, Syd of The Internet, Ladybug Mecca of Digable Planets, En Vogue, Laura Mvula and powerhouse vocalist Andra Day.

While Saint Jude hails from Cape Town, the visit was a first for Andra and Syd of The Internet who were excited to switch up their set to appeal to the international crowd.

“Expect to be asked to participate,” Syd said in the press room. “It's always more fun when the crowd participates so we're going to be asking the crowd to participate a little.”

Syd also touched upon future shows in the country.

“We would love to come back and perform for an actual Internet fan crowd. Best believe we would love that, but it's really expensive to get out here with five of us though. [chuckles] We just have to wait for the right offers to come in. As soon as we can come back and plan some shows—I know Joburg has been really adamant about us coming there. We would love to go.”

Andra was also excited about the festival, foreshadowing her lively performance that incorporated elements of South African music.

“I think, traveling to Africa, the vibrant music scene, the sounds that people love here, you take that into consideration. And then also you take into consideration that it is a jazz festival,” she said about remixing her usual set.

“So I think, for me, I wanted to take lot of liberties with my band as far as I can. I mean you obviously have your regimented set, so the people hear the music and lyrics that resonate with you hopefully resonate with them. But you want it to be open, you want it to be fun, you want to experiment, you want to play. And, so that's kind of what was in my mind as far as preparing for this show.”

Considered one of Africa’s largest music festivals, the event held in the Convention Center of downtown Cape Town brings in thousands of attendees. In addition to lively performances, the week-long event also includes master classes and workshops all focused around the genre of jazz.

For traditionalist Nomfundo Xaluva, this year proved as another great opportunity to show the diversity in jazz.

“There's this movement in the jazz scene in South Africa now where young people are excited to sing that music and to hear that music and to reinterpret the music,” Nomfundo noted about the idea of jazz being a fading art.

“And because the struggle isn't really over, those songs from back in the '40s and '50s still ring true today.”

“This whole myth that jazz or the old music is reserved for back in the day, it's a complete myth," she added. "People are proud to be black South African, and be proud of their history and the role that jazz played in it.”

"SA Rappers Out Here Killing Y'all," M.I Abaga On Nigerian Rappers

M.I has fueled a debate about the state Nigerian hip-hop with his latest song, "You Rappers Should Fix Up Your Life."

Nigerian star M.I Abaga is back with a punch and taking aim at all of his fellow Nigerian rappers.

The track—which sees M.I. drop lines like "none of you rappers is real enough... that's why these fans are not feeling ya'll," "SA rappers out here killing ya,ll," and "rappers are singing now just to get popular, yuck"—has sparked a debate across social media on the current state of Nigerian hip-hop.

There's been some calling out M.I for not supporting young Nigerian rappers like big rappers do in South Africa. These years have seen the likes of Cassper Nyovest and other big SA stars supporting younger talent.

Others, however, have taken up the challenge and started responding to M.I's track over the "Fix Up Your Life" instrumental. M.I's been retweeting the responses and, in a way, the track's been getting a lot of the young rappers M.I calls out some more attention.

M.I and his label Chocolate City have also been in the news lately over suing Nas for not delivering a good verse.

What do you think? Is Nigerian hip-hop in decline?

See some choice tweets below.

Video: Looking at the Roots of IsiPantsula Culture Through Some of Its Leading Voices

This new video shows us why South African Pantsula is much more than just a dance move.

Pantsula is more than just a dance, it's a cultural movement and it's being revived through enthusiastic South African youth.

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In Photos: Migos' Culture Tour in Johannesburg

ATL trio Migos' Culture Tour had two South African stops–in Durban on Friday and Johannesburg on Saturday.

We attended the Joburg leg of the tour, and the group didn't disappoint, although the event itself was unacceptably disorganized. South African rappers Riky Rick and Nasty C gave great performances, especially the latter.

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