Nandipha Pantsi
3 minute read
25 Sep 2014
12:00 pm

Honouring Brenda Fassie at Joy of Jazz (video)

Nandipha Pantsi

Performing a Brenda Fassie song to a crowd is a challenging task.

LEGEND. Brenda Fassie will be celebrated at Standard Bank Joy of Jazz this weekend. Picture: Gallo Images

Ten years after Mabrr (as she was known) died, her energy, charisma and ability to entertain is still unmatched. Any musician would think twice before signing up to honour the late singer by performing her songs to a room full of people who adored her.

Jazz musicians Asanda Bam, Brenda Mtambo, Lindiwe Maxolo, Wanda Baloyi and Nomfundo Xaluva are among the young musicians who will pay tribute to Fassie at the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz this weekend. But instead of trying to imitate the queen of pop, the singers will perform their own renditions of some of Fassie songs.

VOICES. Asanda Bam is one of the performers who will be honoring Brenda Fassie at the Joy of Jazz this weekend. Picture: Gallo Images.

VOICES. Asanda Bam is one of the performers who will be honoring Brenda Fassie at the Joy of Jazz this weekend. Picture: Gallo Images.

They will be accompanied by the Hessian State Jazz Youth Orchestra, also known as Kicks and Sticks, with jazz maestro Tshepo Mngoma as the musical director.

The performances start on Friday, with Mtambo Xaluva and Mbola taking to the Mbira stage. Bam, Maxolo and Baloyi will headline the following day.

If you’ve ever heard Brenda Mtambo sing, you know she is one of the best to have in a line-up honouring Fassie. She is a musical genius with mind-blowing vocal abilities. Having done backup vocals for jazz heavyweights such as Hugh Masekela, Sibongile Khumalo and Judith Sephuma, Mtambo knows exactly what her voice is capable of.

The energy she brings to the stage often has audiences gasping in amazement along with the urge to get up and sing along.

But more than anything, Mtambo’s ability to inspire her audiences with messages of hope and strength in her music is what usually makes sure there isn’t a dry eye in the room.

SINGER. Brenda Mtambo will be performing at the "Joy of Jazz" for the first time this year. Picture: Supplied.

SINGER. Brenda Mtambo will be performing at the “Joy of Jazz” for the first time this year. Picture: Supplied.

“I grew up in the time when Brenda was at her peak. As a musician it’s a huge honour to be chosen to honour her.”

Another artist to look out for is Nomfundo Xaluva, who is among our most underrated musicians. There’s a crispness to Xaluva’s voice. Despite being a young jazz musician, Xaluva has a deep understanding of the music of legends such as Fassie. Xaluva’s interpretation of her music will be interesting.

But the star of the show will be Mabrr. As one of the few musicians who made music that spoke to the soul of South Africa in the eighties, Fassie reached legendary status early in her career.

Fassie’s tribute to the late Nelson Mandela, Black President, was a hit in the nineties. But Vulindlela is possibly the song that best describes the sound of the township in the nineties.

The show’s producers wouldn’t do Fassie justice if this catchy song isn’t performed.

LEGEND. Brenda Fassie will be celebrated at Standard Bank Joy of Jazz this weekend. Picture: Gallo Images

LEGEND. Brenda Fassie will be celebrated at Standard Bank Joy of Jazz this weekend. Picture: Gallo Images

Info:

>  Dianne Reeves, Gregory Porter, Richard Bona, Christian Sco and Dwele are the international acts performing at this year’s Standard Bank Joy of Jazz.

> The Standard Bank Joy of Jazz will take place at the Sandton Convention Centre for the first time and will run over four stages: the
Dinaledi, Mbira, Conga and Diphala (previously known as Bassline).

> The first Joy of Jazz took place at the State Theatre in Pretoria in 1995 and moved to the Newtown precinct in 1997.

>  The Standard Bank Joy of Jazz will take place at the Sandton Convention Centre from September 25 to 27.

> A one-day pass costs R750, giving access to 16 acts. A two-day pass costs R1 250.