Festival-goers and jazz fans around the world have heard of the Cape Town International Jazz Festival — one of the largest jazz festivals on the planet. The fest, which has a reputation for gathering some of the best musical talent from across the globe, is held annually in South Africa’s ‘Mother City.’ Combining jazz virtuosos with groundbreaking modern artists, this event a big draw for tourists and locals alike.
While ‘Africa’s Grandest Gathering’ boasts headlines such as Herbie Hancock, Isaac Hayes, Leela James, Mos Def, and Erykah Badu — the festival is also known for elevating the careers of up-and-coming artists, providing a platform for lesser-known musicians. If you’re visiting during our March 2018 Best of Cape Town Tour, you will be lucky enough to see these incredible shows in person.
5 Artists to Watch at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival
1. The Soil
Experience a different genre. The Soil is an award-winning three-person South African acapella group. The group’s style is described as “kasi soul,” which features an eclectic mix of jazz, hip hop, African-influenced pop, and soul. Despite being perfectly harmonized, not a single member of the trio is formally trained. Unable to read even a note of music between them, the group collaborates on every song with a heavy emphasis on poetic and inspirational lyrics. The result of their labor of love is a complex, exciting, and inspiring sound. Follow The Soil on Instagram.
2. Keenan Ahrends Quintet
Show some local love. Be sure to support Keenan Ahrends when you’re at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival. Ahrends is a Cape Town native. He started playing guitar at the age of 15 and studied under Mike Campbell. If you don’t recognize the name, Campbell is the famed guitarist, songwriter, and record producer best known for his work with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Ahrends is a local favorite and is heavily involved in the Cape Town music scene. In a quartet, this modern jazz sound is amplified by the soulful rock influence of Ahrends’ guitar. Definitely worth a listen. Follow Keenan Ahrends on SoundCloud and Instagram.
3. Miles Mosely
Not your mama’s bassist. Los Angeles-born Miles Mosely is a virtuoso on the upright bass. Set aside whatever preconceived notions you have about a mellow bass soloist. Mosely’s smooth vocals, thunderous horn section, and his expert use of a variety of pedals make for a bold, upbeat, and unexpected sound. This show will not disappoint. Follow Miles Mosely on Twitter and Instagram.
4. Nicholas Payton: Afro-Caribbean Mixtape
Listen to a new sound. “Experimental” is the word that comes to mind when describing Nicholas Payton: Afro-Caribbean Mixtape. This native New Orleans trumpeter will be unlike anyone you’ve ever heard. Payton’s style can be best described as the expert trumpeting of Wynton Marsalis overlayed with rhythmic Afro-Caribbean beats. The result is an experimental Moby-eque sound, without sounding anything like Moby. Payton is absolutely a ‘must-see live’ artist and musician. Follow Nicholas Payton on Facebook and Twitter.
5. Seu Jorge presents The Life Aquatic / A Tribute to David Bowie
Bowie-approved listening. You likely recognize singer-songwriter and “father of the Brazilian samba renaissance” Seu Jorge from the films City of God and The Life Aquatic, for which he provided much of the soundtrack in the form of Portuguese language cover versions of David Bowie classics. Bowie later went on to say that “had Seu Jorge not recorded my songs in Portuguese I would never have heard this new level of beauty which he has imbued them with.” Listen to Seu Jorge’s original work on Spotify.
Experience the Cape Town International Jazz Festival as part of a stellar lineup of the best sights and activities in South Africa. In our Cape Town Tour 2018, travelers will not only get to attend the festival, but will stay in premier oceanfront lodging, experience a two-day safari, and enjoy a leisurely day in South Africa’s famed Winelands. Learn more about this incredible 10-day adventure.
For more tips, ideas, and advice for seeing all there is to see in South Africa, visit us at vacationtosouthafrica.com.