For as long as I can remember I’ve been crossing my fingers, toes, legs, arms and anything else that could be crossed, in the hopes that I’d get to see Erykah Badu perform on South African soil. After years and years of waiting and holding my breath, I had left it to some sort of musical divinity. When I found out that the musical gods had finally answered my prayers and that I would be seeing Erykah Badu on the same stage that I saw Jill Scott, Robert Glasper Experiment with MF DOOM, Gregory Porter, just last year, I thought I could finally exhale. But I was wrong, I’m still holding my breath out of sheer overzealous anticipation.
Since 2000, the Cape Town International Jazz Festival has brought some amazing musicians down to South Africa, from the likes of Lauryn Hill, Esperanza Spalding, Herbie Hancock, Bueno Vista Social Club, Monique Bingham, and many others. 15 festivals down the line, the organiser espAfrika have no intentions of dropping the ball and disappointing music lovers. With more than 40 acts performing over 2 nights, it’s difficult to choose which artists to watch. I give you my choice of the artists that I’m most excited to see.
I first fell in love with London based singer/songwriter Andreya Triana after hearing Bonobo’s Stay the Same and Flying Lotus’ Tea Leaf Dancers. Matter of fact, I fell in love with them because they feature her in a number of tracks. There are a number of other reasons why I love her. Her voice is and song-writing is poetically honest and sweetly soulful. I want her to serenade me on rainy days and summer nights.
Hailing from down-under (Australia), Hiatus Kaiyote
brings us “future soul” an eclectic mix of smooth neo- soul/R&B sounds, trippy electronic beats, tribal African jingles, and hip-hop beats. Band members: Nai Palm on vocals, guitar & keys;
Perrin Moss on percussion, electronics; Paul Bender on bass, electronics and Simon Mavin – keys, and synths look a lot like they sound- A group of futuristic hippies with instruments and feathered war bonnets/headdresses. Their tune, ‘Nakamarra’ featuring Q-Tip, was recently nominated for a Best R&B performance Grammy along with Lalah Hathaway who’s also on the festival line-up.
Popularly known as the daughter of the legendary Donny Hathaway, Lalah Hathaway has done an admirable job at blazing her own trail instead of living under her father’s shadow. Lalah, a trained pianist and vocalist has been making music for over 21 years. I was never really a fan of Lalah Hathaway until I heard her stunning cover of Sade’s Cherish the Day with Robert Glasper- (who I also got to see last year, yes I am bragging). If we’re lucky we’ll be able to see her perform Something with Snarky Puppy who are also performing.
There are very few words to describe the love I have for Erykah Badu. It probably surpasses love. It borders on obsession. I’ve always said that if Erykah Badu were to come down to South Africa, I would prostitute myself to get my way to see her perform. Extreme! I know but it’s the truth (laughs). Lucky for me, I didn’t have to go to such extreme lengths but I have sacrificed a lot, but it’s all worth it. I’m nervous anxious and excited. My soul will not rest until I see her perform at least one of my favourites. The problem is, they’re all my favourites! If I had my way she’d perform every single one of her songs from all her albums, but I’ll just have to wait and see which ones she picks to perform. Let’s hope I don’t pass out from sheer anticipation.
I’m still a bit disappointed that the Foreign Exchange won’t be performing because apparently their tour arrangements clash, but on the other hand, I’m kind of chuffed because this means I get to see them in Joburg, that’s if they don’t disappoint once again with some lame excuse. So the less we say about them the better because I can already feel the wrath of frustrated TFE fans, who bought their tickets only to find out that they won’t be performing. As a small not-so-comforting word of consolation, these things happen often. We can’t be certain what exactly happened. Maybe it was a lack of communication between the event organisers, managers/agent and performers. It’s not fair on the fans because they’re the ones left disappointed. But c’est la vie, life isn’t fair, music makes it better.
Now as much as we may be starstruck at having international artists performing on our home turf, let’s not forget our local acts because they’re pretty lekker too.
The Muffinz, The Soil, Jimmy Nevis, Matthew Gold, Reason, AKA and Da Les, MiCasa and Black Coffee will also be there.
It’s set to be a really exciting 2 nights filled with fantastic music. Especially if the past festivals are anything to go by.
For a more information on the other artists who are set to perform at the Cape Town International Convention Center (CTICC) this coming weekend (28-29 March), visit the Cape Town Jazz Fest website. To keep in touch with updates follow the Cape Town Jazz Festival on Twitter and Facebook.
To share your excitement with Lethabo Afrika follow her on Twitter @CallMeAfriKa