Cape Town’s 16th International Jazz Festival proves yet again, why it’s Africa’s grandest gathering

The 16th annual Cape Town International Jazz Festival attracted thousands of festino’s, from all around the world, this past weekend


The two day festival was held across five stages on Friday and Saturday at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. The stellar line-up consisted of a mixture of music genres, which made festino’s do some fun stage hopping.

Headline act, Seven-time Grammy winner Al Jarreau, had us eating out of the palm of his hand. He praised South Africa for ” inspiring the world”.

” My responsibility is to work hard and get my boogie down,” he said.

Grammy Award nominated American singer, Amel Larrieux was another firm favourite. It was her performance with her daughter, Skyl Larrieux that melted hearts.

Amel Larrieux

Swedish band, Dirty Loops made the younger festino’s go gaga. They proved their versatility, as they performed a combination of their own hits such as ‘Sexy Girls’ and cover hits.

Dirty Loops

The Pacific Express provided a moving tribute to former band member, Zayn Adam. Their performance of their 70s hit, ‘Give a little love’ felt somewhat incomplete, as nothing compares to the way the late Adam performed it.

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The Pacific Express

We were also introduced to a younger, more modern version of the band. They were accompanied by new, members such as Saxophonist, Donveno prins.

Local rapper Jitsvinger impressed us with his ‘afrikaaps’ fused rap and beat boxing.

Award winning UK based saxophonist, Courtney Pine also graced the stage. He is known for blending British music with contemporary jazz styles.

Other performers included Beatenberg,The Brother Moves On, Naima kay, Cannibal Ox, Prophets of Da City, Hugh Masekela and Yvonne Chaka Chaka.

Cannibal Ox
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Naima kay

Courtney Pine (UK )  press conference Q and A

Courtney Pine poses for the media

What are your thoughts on jazz music at the moment?

“Jazz represents people, culture and society. The best musos want to communicate with musicians from all over the world. Jazz is timeless and still very relevant. Jazz is about communicating, so time does not matter.”

What was it like working with Zoe Rahman on your new album?

“I just recently released a duet album with Zoe . Recording with her has been a wonderful experience. She is a fantastic musician and a master of jazz. Working with her started five years ago on my album, Europa.”

Is it true that you wanted to be a astronaut growing up?

“When you’re young your culture defines what you want to be. My options were very limited. My ambition then was to travel and I am still travelling.”

What inspired your song children of the ghetto?

“It was a song who’s lyrics I can identify with.”

What are your thoughts on Cape Town?

“It is fantastic. I’ve had such a good time. It has been amazing. I have been walking around looking for a football top they have only got 2XL not 3XL.”

Five of our favourite CTIJF press conference quotes by Al Jarreau

“I took one of my first singing lessons a month ago. I am studying the voice now, because I did not learn some things about the proper way to sing.
Learning never stops.”

“Everybody can find something wonderful and musical inside of themselves.”

“Find something you love and do it for free. It will inspire your life.”

“I work and see things that are important to my heart and hope it reaches people and make them say I’m not alone.”

“Creativity is a very important gift. We have to foster it and offer it to young people. Give them the opportunity”


Rumour has it that the Cape Town International Jazz Festival could be held over a period of two weekends next year.

Top photo by Instagram.com/mondeluvmusic