Joy as Matsui jazzes up fest

Gugu Sibiya

Gugu Sibiya

There is something about South Africa that keeps the diminutive Japanese singer coming back.

For the umpteenth time Keiko Matsui will jet into South Africa to perform at the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz Festival at the Newtown Cultural Precinct in Johannesburg on August 29 and 30.

Renowned for the nimbleness of her fingers on the ebony and ivory keys, the talented pianist has performed at various jazz festivals in the country, including the Joy of Jazz.

Matsui returned to the country for a holiday that was supposed to kick-start her creative spark. When it finally returned, she hightailed back to this country to record a brilliant offering entitled Moya.

Her newly dropped offering, Moya, features Gerald Albright and Paul Taylor on sax and South African trumpet legend Hugh Masekela.

While recording the album last year Matsui commented: "I could feel the nature and the landscape and the culture of the people. All those thing affected me and I was really inspired."

As if that was not enough she again returned to the country to launch the album to aficionados and the media that have grown to love her so much.

Creatively gifted, the petite musician has gathered a huge following that appreciates her brand of smooth jazz and her skills as a new-age keyboardist.

Also a composer of note, Matsui has demonstrated her staying power by remaining on the music driver's seat for the past three decades, the results of which can be heard in 20 albums.

Her mastery has jazz lovers tapping their feet to the beat, bobbing their heads in appreciation and humming along because they simply cannot resist the tunes.

Recognising her talent, the international music community has readily embraced her.

Matsui's music is powerful and introspective, blending Western and Eastern musical influences.