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Compiled by Asanda Mbayimbayi

Sho Madjozi and Vusi Mahlasela to perform at Folklore Festival in September

The Folklore Festival is a celebration of human expression, woven into a vibrant tapestry known as Folklore.

Celebrate African identity, culture and heritage at the much-anticipated Folklore Festival, returning on 16 September 2023, at Johannesburg’s National School of the Arts in Braampark.

This vibrant event, held during Heritage Month, offers an immersive experience with a diverse range of activities, including a music concert, workshops, a book fair, kids’ area with drumming circles and playtime, and mesmerising traditional dancers, promising an unforgettable and enriching cultural celebration for the whole family.

Extraordinary lineup of artists

An extraordinary lineup of artists will be showcased at the second annual Folklore Festival, where contemporary folk fusion will be brought to life.

The stage will be graced by the electrifying poet, rapper, and afro-centric Sho Madjozi, Vusi ‘The Voice’ Mahlasela (who is set to release his 8th studio album Umoya this September), the enchanting Thandeka Mfinyongo, and the uhadi, mbira, and percussive vocal trio with sis Lungiswa Plaatjies known as Ancient Voices.

The Folklore Festival is also excited to share an artist that fuses the Nyatiti (a genre of music and an 8-stringed instrument called Luo lyre) into modern sounds: Makadem (Kenya) ft. Eddie Grey, a visionary and trailblazer in the Jazz and fusion scene in East and Central Africa.

The heritage of Zimbabwe will be represented by Josh Meck, who will share a project celebrating the icons of music from his home country, immersing the audience in a symphony of cultural richness.

Lastly, but definitely not least, a daytime set by South African advocate for World Music; DJ Nicky B, will infuse the air with infectious beats and irresistible melodies.

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About the Folklore Festival

The Folklore Festival, curated by the acclaimed storyteller and creative artist Pilani Bubu, serves as a celebration of human expression woven into a vibrant tapestry called Folklore.

“With its intricate blend of traditional wisdom, customs, and captivating tales cherished by generations, Folklore reflects the essence of people’s soul.

“Through diverse mediums, this festival becomes a conduit for inter-generational dialogue, indigenous knowledge sharing, and the preservation of African folklore, fostering a stronger sense of identity for Africans,” said Bubu.

Vusi Mahlasela: The Voice, is back

Famously known as “The Voice” of South Africa, Vusi Mahlasela is celebrated for his powerful and unique vocals, as well as his poetic and optimistic lyrics.

With an illustrious career spanning seven captivating studio albums, he has left an indelible mark on the world of music. Collaborating with icons such as Warren Haynes and the Dave Matthews Band, Vusi’s talent has graced global stages, including Live 8, Live Earth, and Nelson Mandela’s historic inauguration in 1994.

In recognition of his profound contributions, he was honored with a lifetime achievement award at the prestigious Sama 18, in 2012.

Now, after 13 years, Vusi is set to release his highly-awaited album, Umoya, a deeply personal work that revisits his folk music roots.

Recorded at Flame Studios and produced by Grammy award winner JB Arthur, this upcoming album promises to be an extraordinary musical journey. The Voice is Back.

Sho Madjozi: South Africa’s global trailblazer

Experience the dynamic realm of Sho Madjozi, where African heritage blends harmoniously with cosmopolitan style.

This highly acclaimed artist has dazzled audiences worldwide, enchanting them with her unique fusion of Tsonga, English, and Swahili languages, along with Gqom beats, Afro-pop rhythms, and daring fashion choices.

With chart-topping hits and an unmatched vibrant energy, Sho Madjozi is an unstoppable force that will leave you awe-inspired. Don’t miss her at the Book Fair, where she’ll be sharing her children’s book: ‘ShoMa & The Stars’.

Discover the green cham of Thandeka Mfinyongo & with ancient Xhosa voices

Get ready for an enthralling experience as the spotlight shines on diverse sounds from across the continent.

Thandeka Mfinyongo’s mesmerising vocals and mastery of uhadi and umrhubhe will grace the stage, accompanied by the enchanting duo, Ancient Voices, who bring a captivating blend of African Indigenous Instruments and vocal harmony, featuring Kim Masala on Mbira and Percussion.

Makadem: The NyatitiNess Rises

Embark on a mesmerising journey as Makadem, the talented Nyatiti musician from Kenya, graces the stage.

His unique Afrofusion style blends Luo traditional music with afro pop and other world beats, creating a hypnotic rhythm that captures the essence of day-to-day life in Africa.

Singing in Dholuo, Swahili, and a distinct Africanised English, Makadem weaves great Nyatiti tales. Accompanied by jazz virtuoso Eddie Grey, this fusion of the Nyatiti’s rhythmic trance sound and captivating vocals promises an unforgettable experience.

Josh Meck: A Bass Virtuoso

Embark on a musical odyssey like no other, guided by the award-winning jazz/world music artist, Josh Meck.

With his exceptional blend of Zimbabwean traditional rhythms and jazz influences, his performance is sure to captivate and enchant you. Prepare to be spellbound by his unparalleled talent and musical brilliance.

On the decks South Africa’s Nicky B

Making a vibrant return to the festival with a daytime set, Nicky Blumenfeld, popularly known as Nicky B (South Africa), is a multifaceted talent as a DJ, producer, compiler, writer and educator.

For an impressive 26 years, she has been the producer-presenter of ‘The World Show’ on Johannesburg-based radio station Kaya FM 95.9, championing folk music in South Africa.

With her captivating mix of urban, archival, deeply rooted, contemporary, and cutting-edge sounds, Nicky B appeals to audiences from all around the globe.

Immerse yourself in the Folklore Festival Book Fair

Open your mind to new horizons as you delve into the intellectual realm of the Folklore Festival Book Fair. Immerse yourself in the works of extraordinary African authors, including Zulaikha Patel with My Coily Crowny Hair, Zinhle Matthews with My Family of Superheroes and the talented duo Amo and Nkuli Nkosi with Khanya’s First Day at the Park among others.

This literary haven celebrates the profound impact of words and stories, as folk tales transcend time and space, forging meaningful connections between cultures and generations.

Indulge in the Folklore Festival Food and Crafts Market

Indulge your taste buds with an array of explosive flavors at the Folklore Festival Food and Crafts Market, where talented artisans showcase unique, proudly African products.

“We are thrilled to partner with the National School of the Arts once again,” says Pilani Bubu, the visionary founder of Folklore Festival.

“Folklore Festival 2023 is delighted to announce its sponsors: The MGE, Mzansi Golden Economy, supported by The Department of Sports, Arts, and Culture, as well as The National Arts Council through Presidential Employment Stimulus (PESP4),” added Bubu.

Brenda Sakellarides, the Artistic Director of the school, expresses her excitement, saying: “The professionals involved in planning and executing this remarkable festival serve as excellent role models for our young artists.

“Their contribution to the NSA community is immeasurable. The association with their excellence and high-frequency artistry significantly benefits the NSA,” said Sakellarides.

Proudly supported by the Department of Sports, Arts, and Culture, as well as the National Arts Council, the Folklore Festival 2023 is produced by Bupila Publishing (Pty) Ltd T/A Bupila Creative Lifestyle CO.

Early bird ticket special

Take advantage of the Early Bird tickets offered at a 50% discount until August 16, 2023, for the Folklore Festival 2023.

Secure your tickets now at https://qkt.io/FolkloreFestival2023, with prices starting from R80 for kids and R100 for adults.

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