Sat Sep 23 16:29:28 CAT 2017

Rowdy fans or not, Tutu set to shine

By Patience Bambalele | 2017-09-09 08:41:58.0

Belgium-based jazz vocalist Tutu Puoane cannot wait to perform for a "very enthusiastic" local audience.

The 38-year-old globe-trotter who was born in Atteridgeville and raised in Mamelodi, Pretoria, has performed on world stages but believes there is something unique about South African jazz lovers.

SA fans are not afraid to express themselves, she observes. She says it's something far different to the crowds in Belgium who are used to a classical culture, where "you sit still until the last note".

"When performing for a South African audience, they are going to let you know right away if they like it or not. Most of the time I miss performing for such audiences," she says.

"But I still like the kind of audience who sit down and listen to what I am about to offer. Sitting and listening, or a rowdy crowd, works for me."

Speaking to Time Out from her home in Belgium, Puoane says she is excited to be part of the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz again. The annual international festival is set to take place at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg from September 28 to 30.

Puoane will kick off the show with other female stars on September 28.

She is set to mesmerise jazz lovers with her innate sense of swing and scat singing ability.

She is expected to give jazz enthusiasts a taste of her latest offering, which is a tribute to Joni Mitchell, a Canadian singer and songwriter.

The album has already hit the shelves in Belgium, and is available online. She is struggling to get a local distributor.

On The Joni Mitchell Project, Puoane has worked with her friends who include Tinika Bosma, a saxophonist from Holland, Ewout Pierreux and Clement van der Stel.

"The tribute happened by default. I was asked to do her tribute for an opening of a theatre in Holland but we had so much fun, so we thought let's continue and that is how it came to be."

Puoane says her music is inspired by her life experiences.

"When you want to sing about your deepest, dark secrets, you feel like you are opening yourself to the world."

Puoane studied jazz vocals at the University of Cape Town and the Royal Conservatory of The Hague (Netherlands) and has released albums like Breathe, Quiet Now, Ilanga and Mama Africa.

She would like to collaborate with songstress Thandiswa Mazwai: "Her new album completely blew my mind, and showed the depth, and how far she can really go."