Monday, April 02, 2007
CTIJF - 4th best in the world!
Wolfgang Koenig, our world music journalist friend from Radio Multikulti in Berlin, Germany, told us that the CTIJF has been ranked as the 4th best jazz festival in the world (wow people, can I hear some applause for that please?), and that it has been positioned in the top 40 of the best events of any kind. After having enjoyed my weekend there, I can well imagine it; the timing was perfect; the organization was evident to the smallest of details; and the music this year represented one of the biggest collection of South African artists that I have seen in years.
Saturday night even showed that ESP are concerned about the health of their visitors, by once again giving us such a variety of world-class shows, that we had to run from one venue to the next! The Standard Bank National Youth Jazz Band, Stimela & the Bheki Khosa Quartet started the excitement, with Tucan Tucan and the Ernest Mothle Quartet (left) catching my ear.
Then there was a rush for the Basil “Mannenberg”Coetzee outdoor stage where Jack DeJohnette and our star diva, Sibongile Khumalo, were appearing. Lenny & I were very chuffed to see internationally renowned musician Byron Wallen, who we worked closely with at the Arts Alive Festival in JHB when he blew our minds away as a member of the muliti-cultural group PedXulu (made of the Pedi, Xhosa & Zulu clans, with international guest stars).
In one track he showed his skill by launching into an amazing duo with Sibongile playing a conch shell, instead of his trumpet, and even President Thabo Mbeki, who was ushered to the front of the stage, stood transfixed amid a writhing mass of bodyguards and police. Ministers Aziz Pahad and Trevor Manual, I noticed, had far more freedom to move – if I were Mbeki, I would have sent the guards for a beer and chilled awhile longer – because the fun had just started!
Lenny is crazy about Ismael Lo, and I couldn’t have dragged her out of the concert, if I had tried. I had been caught for the 2nd time taking photos without a Photographer badge, and felt like leaving for some fresh air. After all – if I can’t take pictures, how else are my Peak People going to see what all happened. I do this for you!
Ismael did some of his greatest tracks, and Len was especially blown away by his percussionist (who she complimented later in the new morning). It is great that the festival was able to secure Ismael, and I think, let this festival represent the African continents different styles of music coupled with international jazz – we have no other platform of the same magnitude, and we need to be able to learn more about these artists that have made such huge impact in Europe and America.
My highlight was always going to be standing in the press pit in front of Zulu maskanda master, bafo Madala Kunene, taking pics. Here my MELT 2000 Record Label pass was like a UN passport! No-one could stop me!
There were quite a number of Durbanites in the audience, and they quickly loosened up the audience by whooping, ululating and dancing every time Madala looked up, never mind play some awesome tracks with his new young band. The Sangoma who burnt offerings before the show started, obviously brought the most powerful ancestors to the party, because even Robert said that this was quite possibly one of the best outdoor concerts by Madala, that he had seen in a long time.
By 1am we found ourselves at the after party at the Cape Sun Hotel, mingling and chatting to all our artists (left - fancy bumping into Fancy Galada exAmampondo in front of her pic!), and meeting new ones. The after party is traditionally known to become one huge jam session, and I hear that it continued until well after five in the morning – by which time I was long tucked away in bed.
Looking back today, I think Cape Town should be very proud of being host to such a successful gathering of world artists. Bigger and richer cities try the same and don’t meet the standard that we are setting – I just wish that we had more throughout the year, because you can just never have enough music!
Have a great week folks!
I agree entirely about Ismael Lo (what really made my head a little wonky is that I was listening to Iso about 10 minutes ago hmmm...)
I'll be back :)