Imbokodo Jazz Festival aims to celebrate SA’s female jazz stars

imbokodo Spha Mdlalose

Durban-born jazz singer, songwriter and voice over artist, Spha Mdlalose, will be performing at the Imbokodo Jazz Festival in Durban on August 12. Photo: Supplied

WITH Women’s Month on the horizon, female artists are set to dominate this year’s Imbokodo Jazz Festival, which will take place at the N-Shed Cruise Terminal facility in the Port of Durban from 1 pm to 1 am on Saturday, August 12.

It is being hosted by the community based non-profit organisation, iTheku Regional Jazz Association (iTReJA), an affiliate of the South African Jazz Appreciators Association (SAJAA).

Says SAJAA chairman, Mncedi Zulu: “We’re showcasing a stellar line-up of established and emerging female jazz artists, but also striving to encourage youth participation in jazz activities, in order to offer them an alternative outlet for creative expression.

“Ultimately events like this contribute towards ensuring the sustainable development of jazz in the region and beyond.”

Zulu said the festival had evolved from the Imbokodo Jazz Session and that he hoped it would be developed over time as a unique women-only jazz showcase.

“We’re working to ensure that women will run and participate in Imbokodo, from organising to production to artists,” he added. “The Imbokodo Jazz Festival aims to join the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz and the Cape Town International Jazz Festival as the crème de la crème of South African jazz festivals.”

imbokodo Feya Faku

Feya Faku will be performing with his quartet at the festival. Photo: Supplied

Artists already confirmed for the festival include the Feya Faku Quartet, featuring the award-winning bassist/vocalist Chantal Willie-Petersen, vocalist Lindiwe Maxolo, Durban-born jazz singer, songwriter and voice over artist Spha Mdlalose, and soulful singer Xolisa Dlamini.

Maxolo was the winner of the 2002 Afro Vocal Category in the Old Mutual Jazz Encounters Competition. Armed with a Cum Laude in Jazz Honours Degree from the University of Cape Town, she has demonstrated her diversity by performing in India, Portugal, Greece and New Orleans.

Mdlalose began her career in her school’s choir and jazz band in Cape Town. She was later accepted into the University of Cape Town’s South African College of Music in 2006, to study her Bachelor of Music degree majoring in Jazz Vocal performance.

To-date, Mdlalose has performed alongside Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Micasa, Oliver Mthukudzi, Neo Muyanga, Zwai Bala, Sibongile Khumalo, Kabomo, Afrotraction, Monique Bingham and Ladysmith Black Mambazo and at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival. She is currently working on her debut solo album.

imbokodo Xolisa Dlamini

Soulful singer, Xolisa Dlamini. Photo: Supplied

One of South Africa’s most soulful singers, Dlamini hails from the Eastern Cape, where she and six siblings were raised by her mother, a music and English teacher.

Together with her co-composer, she won the Radio Metro Song Competition in 1997 and then represented South Africa in Norway’s biggest festival of traditional music in 1998.

Since winning the national finals of the Old Mutual Jazz Competition in 2000, Dlamini has recorded with Silaelo Selota, the Tehilla Praise Family, Busi Mhlongo, Serio Diaz from Brazil, Elie Kihonia from the Republic of Congo and Hanse Genzo from Australia.

Her first album Times was nominated for a South African Music Award for the best female composer and best contemporary album, while her second release, Afro Blue, was nominated in the best contemporary jazz album category at the Metro FM award.

Willie-Petersen is an award-winning composer, arranger, bassist, vocalist, arts researcher, jazz lecturer, and performer, who graduated cum laude for her Masters in Music Jazz Voice and Masters in Music Jazz Double Bass at the Royal Conservatory of Music Antwerp and at LUCA, in Belgium.

Her awards include the Oranje Beurs Scholarship, the SAMRO Merit Award and the best performance of a South African work, for the SAMRO International Scholarship Instrumental Competition.

Faku hails from New Brighton in Port Elizabeth, a town often referred to as SA’s jazz academy. He studied music at the University of Natal with Darius Bareback and graduated with a Diploma in Jazz Studies.

He has performed with a host of local and international musicians, including Barney Rachabane, Thandie Classen, Duke Makasi, Pat Matshikiza, Basel Coetzee, Winston ‘Mankunku’ Ngozi, Bheki Mseleku, Abdullah Ibrahim, the Paul van Kemenade Quintet in the Netherlands, Paul Hanmmer and Mcoy Mrubata.

Tickets for the festival are R300 from


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