BAND BIOGRAPHIES

(IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER)

Asanda Mqiki

Asanda Mqiki is an award-winning vocalist and composer who has wowed audiences from Sweden to Australia, and all around South Africa, with her powerful and emotive voice. Coming from the strong choral tradition of the Eastern Cape, Asanda studied at the National School of the Arts.  She went on to join Take Note, with whom she released two albums and performed at one of SA’s top jazz festivals, the Joy of Jazz in 2013.  Having decided to solo in 2014, she has rapidly become a highly respected voice, with her signature musical style that brings together soul, jazz, R&B and even a touch of kwaito. She is backed by a band of talented young musicians including Mthokozisi Mabuza on first keys, Qaqambile Qingana on second keys, Thoba Goba on drums, Kamva Goba on percussion, Grant Allison on bass and Joash Soobramoney on tenor sax.

Mqiki is working on a new solo album, with plans to release in early 2018, whilst focusing also on continued local performances and exploring international possibilities.

Astrafunk and The Space Cats

Astrafunk and the Space Cats is a fresh new act from Cape Town. Taking influence from soul, funk, hip hop, and blues deep inside hard grooves.  The band comprises of Matthew Pople on guitar and vocals, Tumi Pheko on the trumpet, Christian Chandler on trombone, Nobuhle Mazinyane on the keys, Stephen De Souza on bass, Kurt Bowers on the drums. They have been called Cape Town’s Fat Freddy’s Drop and in just under a year, have taken the scene by storm.

Elle Deva

A husband and wife duo, formed nine years ago when Italian composer/guitarist/ producer, Michele met singer/songwriter Lauren in South Africa. The two have been working together ever since, taking inspiration from their diverse musical backgrounds. Using the fact that they are culturally diverse as an advantage, making them limitless in their creative process and even harder placing them under one genre. They have found a balance between doing gigs with cover songs which they have arranged to suit every genre (jazz, soul, pop, indie).

It Has To Be Jazz – Spontaneous Combustion

It Has To Be Jazz, based in Johannesberg, South Africa is about creating a legacy and bringing back the essence of what jazz is. It is about uncovering young, untapped raw jazz talent. It Has To Be Jazz – Spontaneous Combustion consists of Nkosinathi Emmanuel Mathunjwa on piano, Bongani Nkosinathi Ncube on electric bass and Lungile Kunene on drums and percussion.

Jarrad Ricketts

Bold, fresh and dynamic are just some of the words used to describe South Africa’s hottest new vocal talent, Jarrad Ricketts. He has been wowing crowds nationally and internationally with his slick pop delivery and captivating performance style.  On the coast of Spain, Jarrad has led a 6-month solo show on Menorca Island, where he performed at various theatres and hotels.

Jarrad also performs shows regularly on the Boltic sea between Sweden and Finland on the Tallink Silja Cruise Ship, where he provides musical entertainment as part of the main show attraction onboard theatres. Jarrad Ricketts’ latest single “NEW LIFE” is being heard nationally and internationally and has already featured and charted on various radio stations, reaching #1.

Just 6

Just 6 is a Afro-Pop/Soul, Jazz and Gospel contemporary Acapella male ensemble from South Africa, founded in 2011. A unique combination of voices that come from diverse walks of life, they have come together to give birth to what they call “Afrocal-play” (African Vocal Play), a distinct mixture of African indigenous sounds as well as smooth harmonies. As a multi-award winning group, Just 6 has left a footprint in both national and international platforms, having toured Southern Africa (South Africa, Swaziland and Zimbabwe) and parts of Europe (Germany and Switzerland) the group has won two national and two international awards. The group’s inspirational heartfelt music had been shared through two EP’s (“Stimela” and “Take Me Back”) and one award winning album (“Kuzolunga”).

Le Mpendulo

Le Mpendulo is a young Ndebele woman born from the land of melodies, Mamelodi, PTA. She can best be described as an Artist. When she is not writing, playing her guitar and singing, you’ll find her surrounded by nature in peace and tranquillity, painting and drawing, taking pictures, designing, modelling and everything else that comes with being a right brainer. She is a product of different Art disciplines that have influenced her from humble beginnings to the ever evolving creative she is.

She enrolled at Tshwane University of Technology, Arts Campus, where she was exposed to the different fields Art. This introduced her to a whole new culture and inspired a whole new sound where a fusion of isiNdebele, Jazz, Neo Soul and Afro pop all harmoniously mix together to produce music that’s unique, intriguing and soul shaking through her voice and guitar chords.

Lefa

Lefa Mosea is a saxophonist born in the Vaal Triangle(Sebokeng), South of Johannesburg but later moved to stay in Pretoria in his very early teen years. In Pretoria that’s where his musical talent was awakened and started taking music theory and guitar lessons in 2003. Under the guidance of his private music teacher Lefa played the guitar throughout his high school life till his matric year in 2005. He then joined the Vusi Mahlasela Music Development Foundation(VMMDF) at the State Theatre in Pretoria. At VMMDF he was introduced to the saxophone and instrument he was always fond of but because of lack of necessary finances he couldn’t get his hands on but through the foundation he was offered the chance of learning it and he has never looked back ever since. Lefa was part of the foundation from 2005 till 2007 taking lessons on both guitar and saxophone. In 2008 Lefa Mosea enrolled at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University(NMMU)in Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape.  In April Lefa Mosea released his debut single #Mabele taken from his debut album. Straight after that Lefa enjoyed some huge national media coverage because of his hit single that is making waves on both national and community radio stations.

Legato SA

Legato SA (Pty) Ltd is a five member acapella music group based in Port Elizabeth.  Their music is versatile as they sing many genres from gospel, to traditional African Music specializing on Afro-Soul.  They entered a music competition in 2015 Sing-Off South Africa on SABC1 which had 150 groups from all over South Africa and came 2nd. Legato has since performed on many stages in South Africa including NACMA Awards 2015.  Sharing the stage with the likes of Ringo Madlingozi, Nathi, Professor, Vusi Nova, Zakes Bantwini, HHP, Sifiso Ncwane, Zolane Mahola, Don Laka, Dr Malinga to name but a few.

Major 7 SA

Major 7 is an exciting jazz ensemble from Cape Town South Africa.  Managed and mentored by Greg Truter, these young men and women are highly committed to excellence in their musical performance.  Most of the members from the Cape flats, South Africa that is characterized by alcohol and drug abuse and extreme levels of gangsterism.  These youngsters consciously decided to use their music to commit to a clean and positive life style and to encourage young and old into making the same decisions. These musically skilled youngsters started playing as a school jazz band and decided to continue after they left school as Major 7.  Their performances include some of the well-known Jazz standards and selections of South African Gospel and Jazz music.

Manouche

For the past eight years, Manouche has been defining and redefining gypsy jazz and the beloved music of Django Reinhart for South African audiences. Django was a 1930’s troubadour in a Paris where alcohol flowed freely, and sensuality dripped from every pore. It has evolved through several iterations into a unique sextet of bass, guitar, violin and three vocals. There’s a present energy and stage presence that shine through the band members’ love for one another and their sheer joy in performing on stage. Anneli, Bernard, Sarah and Diana have crafted a toe-tapping, smile inducing sound that is rooted in the music of the French gypsies, while finding its momentum in styles and influences unique to South Africa’s diverse cultures.

Maya Spector

Maya Elizabeth Spector is a rising talent in the South African music and theatre world. Coming from a culturally diverse, musical family, she grew up in Japan, Swaziland, America and South Africa. From an early age she learnt to sing in a variety of styles, from classical to musical theatre all the way to jazz.

 

Maya continued nurturing her talent in school choirs, musicals and talent shows, while all the time feeding her ever-expanding musical taste as she travelled the globe as a child of the world.  In 2001, she returned to South Africa and furthered her music studies at The University of Kwa-Zulu Natal (UKZN), where she graduated with a Bachelor of Music degree, majoring in jazz performance and music education. Her voice has a texture that might be best described as an old soul, weathered by life and schooled by adversity, yet still so alive in vocal tone and bubbly in its expression.

Having recently finished her long-awaited EP, entitled “My Simple Little EP”, Maya is now writing new material and performing gigs in and around South Africa as a jazz/neo-soul/funk vocalist. She keeps herself vocally fit and ready for the next opportunity – wherever it may take her.

Mkizwana Ensemble

The Mkizwana Ensemble was formed in 2014 by Double Bass player Viwe Mkizwana and performs a variety of original African Jazz compositions jointly arranged by the members of this dynamic collective.

Mkizwana, who holds a National Diploma in Music from the Tshwane University of Technology, is a highly acclaimed performer who has played for the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra, the KwaZulu Natal Philharmonic Orchestra and served as the Principle Bassist in the Gauteng Philharmonic and MIAGI Orchestras. This performer’s illustrious career has seen him perform internationally in Germany, Sweden, Amsterdam and London and attend masterclasses under the tutelage of Leon Bosch, Marike Prins and Mark Duby. He has featured alongside celebrated musicians such as Rodolfo Maderos of Argentina, Gilberto Gil of Brazil, Anders Paulson of Sweden and Camille Favre-Bulle of France. In 2011, Mkizwana was part of the South African Legends Project which featured the likes of Grammy Award winner Wouter Kellerman, John Fresk, McCoy Mrubatha, Paul Hanmmer and Khaya Mahlangu. The Mkizwana Ensemble has made major strides since its inception, having performed at the Moretele Jazz Festival, Standard Bank Joy of Jazz and boasting sold-out performances at The Orbit and the State Theatre, to name a few. 2016 saw the release of The Mkizwana Ensemble’s debut album ‘African Skies, which was well received by local audiences and media alike, receiving rave reviews which led to an invitation to tour Germany and Switzerland with the MIAGI Orchestra.

The Ensemble continues to strive towards their goal of reviving an appreciation of jazz and passion for music amongst today’s youth.

Recycling Sound

Recycling Sound was established in 2012, when some of the members were free lancing on a gig, the three members were then approached to consider forming a band as they each complimented each other’s sounds. From that, Recycling Sound that heals indigenous Jazz was born. Recycling Sound deals with sound and vision in the midst of secret self. The band has worked with the likes of legendary Tlokwe Sehume (indigenous musician) at Soweto Theatre in 2013 and Gregory Maqoma (afro-fusion choreographer) in 2014. The band has also played at the Constitutional Hill gallery exhibition in 2014 and have had the honour of playing in an ANC conference at Walter Sisulu Square. The band however, does not limit itself to outside gigs as they have hosted a number of performances in their own space in Johannesburg.

Simthandile Mtolo

Simthandile holds over a decade of experience in the live entertainment industry as a professional performer and live entertainment specialist. She began her career in her 11th grade at Kingsway High School where she landed her first role in the musical “Oliver” directed by the late Themi Venturas, and staged at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre in 2004. Simtha continued with the UBR powered production again the following year with Fiddler on the Roof, and continued onto greater stages as she grew into a young adult. She made it “her thing” to land great support and leading roles in productions such as My Fairlady (2009 The Playhouse Company), Man Of La Mancha (2010- Grahmstown Arts Festival Main Stage), and more recently Mashu The Musical (2015 – The Playhouse Company).

Coming from a family that loved music, she slowly found her own interests and voice in ballads, jazz and soul music. As if music and acting wasn’t enough, Simthandile has also been very fond of creating pieces with her hands. She has since been someone who enjoys creating and designing, and often shows her skills in the events she puts together. Simtha studied as a music student at UKZN’s school of music between 2006 and 2007 but discontinued her studies to persue a more “practical career” which she felt would allow her to include all her interests without limitation, simultaneously creating new opportunities that could aid in moulding the local creative industry from where it was, to where she hoped and still works towards taking it to. Through-out the years, Simtha performed as a musician on small, corporate and festival stages.

Sylvester Aklamavo & Miton Fusion Band

SYLVESTER AKLAMAVO & MITON FUSION BAND (MFB) is a 6 piece African-Fusion jazz band with some elements of world music.The band is based in South Africa and performs mostly their original compositions and also some covers of other artists.The band was put together in 2010 by Sylvester Aklamavo  and He is also the bandleader.

This sextet consist of a Guitarist, Bass guitarist, Pianist, Saxophonist, Percussionist and Drummer. The vocals are done by Sylvester Aklamavo or other band members depending on what sound we trying to achieve on a particular song.

Presently, the band has been busy performing locally in venues like: Nikki’s Oasis, Winnie’s, Newtown Junction e.t.c and also hoping to starting their international tours soon.

Ulagh Williams & the TwoTone Band

Songwriter, arranger and musical director Ulagh Williams (keys & vocals) is a part time lecturer in jazz vocals for Nelson Mandela University as well as Rhodes University, and founded the TwoTone Band in 2009. Ulagh performed across the Middle East and Asia for international hotel groups such as Hyatt, Radisson, Hilton and Crowne Plaza before returning to Port Elizabeth and founding the production company TwoTone Music along with her husband Gareth Williams.

The TwoTone Band’s most recent international collaboration involved producing and directing the world premiere of USA composer Professor Ed Sarath’s work ‘His Day is Done’ for orchestra, jazz combo and choir which was staged at NMMU in August 2016. The band is known for its infectious and high energy stage presence and its focus on vocal harmonies.

The band has also formed the core of the annual Nelson Mandela University ‘Isisusa’ big band jazz concert for the past 3 years. The band performs a wide range of music, from jazz standards to South African favourites and music from other African countries. Their trademark is a fresh fusion of jazz and soul which has a distinct local flavour and a proudly South African sound. TwoTone performs covers as well as original material by Ulagh Williams, Kyle Du Preez and the late Eastern Cape jazz pianist Erroll Cuddumbey.

Youthphemism

Youthphemism, defined as a story or speech by the youth, is a Johannesburg/Cape Town based project founded by Manana Music (voice), Siphephelo Ndlovu (keys) and Elizabeth Gaylord (keys). These three youthful musicians come together in collaboration with different artists to bring together a fresh sound with a taste of nostalgia. The band is versatile in its approach, and live to share stories through their music.

Originally from Swaziland, Manana Music is a Jazz and soul vocalist currently based in Johannesburg, South Africa. He started his performing career at the Drakensberg Boys’ Choir School and is currently studying a postgraduate degree in Jazz Performance from the University of Cape Town. Manana works additionally as a composer, writer and arranger.

Much like Manana, Siphephelo Ndlovu attended Drakensburg Boy’s Choir school and is now completing his degree in Jazz piano at the University of the Witwatersrand. In March 2016, Ndlovu formed The Siphephelo Ndlovu Project, a collection of his original, prolific compositions which incorporate his South African culture with his knowledge of jazz.

Elizabeth Gaylord began playing piano at age 6, and underwent extensive classical training. She completed her Bachelor of Music in Jazz Piano from the University of Cape Town in 2016 and has since performed at numerous Jazz Festivals in South Africa and Europe. She currently works in Johannesburg as a performer, composer and arranger.

The three friends began writing music together in University and have come together officially to form the core of Youthphemism.

Zama & The Alan

Zama & The Alan is a Joburg-based independent band made up of South African born vocalist Zama Madondo and Zimbabwe born guitarist, Alan Kupeta. Using both acoustic and electric guitars, bass, drums and a shaker; we create original music that fuses traditional African sounds with Alternative Rock, Jazz, Soul, Pop, as well as Latin American elements. Our music makes you feel, dance and connect with the realities of being human. For live shows we work with a session drummer and bassist.

Zetina Mosia

One of the most original young female jazz vocalists to come out of South Africa in recent years.   Creating a new and futuristic sound, Zetina Mosia is quickly carving a place for herself on the local music scene.  In a husky voice influenced by jazz and classic soul, Zetina Mosia demonstrates a vocal range reminiscent of such genre-busting innovators as Simphiwe Dana or Meklit Hadero.   Originally born in Ghana, while her father, an MK cadre, was in exile, fighting the liberation struggle, under the code name Zet, the name Zetina is a combination of Zet and her mother name Faustina. Zetina’s musical career took off at the tender age of 15, when she won the Yamaha Young Talent Competition in 2004, while she was studying music at The National School of the Arts. Zetina Mosia’s album, titled The RoundAbout, was released in 2015, by Iapetus Records and is available online at BandCamp.com.  She has recently just completed an Electro-AfroFuturistic 7 Track EP entitled The B-Sides: Remixes & Reimaginings which started out with remixes of songs from her debut The RoundAbout but given her unsettling creativity some new songs crept in and a new genre evolved she labelled Trap Funk, which is upbeat dance music and trap.  Currently Zetina is working / collaborating with producer and DJ extraordinaire Eye-On-Feather as a Duo called LɔLɔ Amour.  On the side Zetina Mosia has been organizing a series of events called the Sound & Space Experience in prominent venues like Nikki’s Oasis, Good Luck Bar, J&B Hive, and, in Durban, The Jazzy Rainbow, whereby she collaborates with various jazz musicians, DJs on MPC, Live Action Painting, and Contemporary Movement Dancers, experimenting with interesting avant-garde and abstract ways of experiencing her music.  This year she screened a digital performance at the 7th Annual Chale Wate. Festival in her birth place, Ghana.

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