Celebrating the evolution of SA Jazz at Birchwood Hotel

The Birchwood Jazz Evening, on Friday, 4 November, will be bringing Gauteng’s jazz-lovers a taste of the evolution of the South African jazz music scene.

Jazz has been interpreted in many ways through the eras and the Birchwood stage will encapsulate this timeless genre with a star-studded line-up of local musicians. Multiple Platinum album award-winner, producer and classical musician, Don Laka, will take to the stage as the headline act and will be supported by jazz songstress, Thembisile Ntaka, ensuring the evening showcases elements of both traditional and modern SA jazz talent.

Don Laka has been a prominent figure in SA’s music scene for 44 years and, due to his continuous need for reinvention, it is difficult to classify him into a particular genre. Laka is the creator of his own genre, kwaai-Jazz, which can be described as a fusion of classical, traditional and modern jazz. He has performed with the likes of Mango Groove, Johnnie Clegg, Brenda Fassie and Yvonne Chaka Chaka. Having completed a Grade 8 in classical guitar at the Royal School of Music, Laka went on to win six Platinum awards for his albums and is known as one of SA’s premier producers.

Also taking to the Birchwood stage on November 4 is SA songstress, Thembisile Ntaka, who began her solo career in 2004. Ntaka’s modern take on the jazz genre won her a MTN SAMA Award in 2009 for her album, Thembisile – My Journey, and has enabled her to tour Europe in a tribute to the late Miriam Makeba. Social reposibility is close to Ntaka’s heart and she has participated in projects which raise awareness through music for Ebola and Xenophobia. Ntaka has worked with a number of great local artists including Ringo Madlingozi, Rebecca Malope, Mandoza, Kelly Khumalo, Zahara and Brown Dash.

Each month, the Birchwood Jazz Evening invites upcoming artists to open the evening’s festivities and highlight emerging local talent. This month, Shef and The Kitchen, who describe themselves as Afro-Poetic Soul artists with elements of jazz-funk, will do the honours. Originating from the Orange Farm community, situated just 45km from Johannesburg, Shef and The Kitchen represent the emerging talent that SA’s townships have to offer.

As always, the evening will be hosted by motivational speaker and presenter, Hector Motivator, and will also feature comedian, Khanyisa Bunu, known for making comedy history in becoming the first woman to win the Audience Choice Award at the 2015 Savanna Comics’ Choice Awards. Also lined-up to bring laughter to dinner tables is comedian Thabiso Sparks, who will be returning to the Birchwood stage.

Don’t miss out on an opportunity to experience a time-travelling evening of jazz by booking your table of 10 before 31 October to take advantage of the Early Bird Special. The festival starts at 8pm and tickets are R400 per person or R4 000 for a table of 10. For more information or to book contact Dudu Kgomo on (011) 897 0141 or on [email protected] or visit www.birchwoodhotel.co.za.