All-female band closes off jazz festival with a bang

Zoe Modiga of Jazz Unity ,during the Standard Bank Jazz Festival in Sandton, Johannesburg.
Zoe Modiga of Jazz Unity ,during the Standard Bank Jazz Festival in Sandton, Johannesburg.
Image: ANTONIO MUCHAVE/SOWETAN

An all-female jazz band comprising of local and American stars captivated jazz lovers at the 2019 Standard Bank Joy of Jazz on Saturday as the festival was coming to an end.

The biggest jazz event in Africa started on Thursday and it took place at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg. Known as Jazz Unity, the band comprised of Zoe Modiga, Tebza Sedumedi (bass), Nomfundo Xaluva (piano), Lafrae Sci (drums) and Lakecia Benjamin (saxophone) both from USA,  the five women made sure that there was never a dull moment during their set.

Benjamin, who played saxophone, dazzled jazz lovers. The jazz chicks opened the show at Diphala stage. They paid tribute to the late music legends like Miriam Makeba and Mankunku Ngozi. Speaking to Sowetan, Modiga who plays lead guitar said the collaboration between American and South African women was made possible by American Embassy and Joy of Jazz.

“It was a heartfelt experience for me and it came at a right time when SA women are dealing with a lot of challenges. What is happening seem to explain the narrative that women are not taken serious in the society. The collaboration of African and American women tackled the issue of identity. We know that black females are the last in the food chain, but we proved that we exist and we can deliver.”

Siphokazi during the 2019 Standard Bank Joy of Jazz festival held in Sandton, Johannesburg.
Siphokazi during the 2019 Standard Bank Joy of Jazz festival held in Sandton, Johannesburg.
Image: ANTONIO MUCHAVE/SOWETAN

Xaluva added: “We are more than newspaper headlines, we are power and we proving that we are more that." Benjamin, who got a standing ovation for exceptionally blowing her sax, said: "I am so happy to be home. Since I have been here I have had the best food and met the most soulful and caring for people. Thank you for the support. I wish I could come back." Meanwhile, Siphokazi stole the show at Mbira stage.

She easily packed the venue and had everyone on their feet, dancing to her famous hit Amacala.  Jazz vocalist Sibongile Khumalo, who performed on Thursday was back on Saturday, featuring her son Tshepo Mngoma. Khumalo had Wandile Molefe on piano, Mngoma on violin and Sibusiso Sibanyoni on bass. She kept jazz lovers entertained at Dinaledi stage. 

Other people who had great performances included Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Manu Katche, RJ Benjamin, Rahsaan Patterson, among others. ​

Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments? Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

X