selota jazz mix for fest

JAZZ maestro Selaelo Selota has dazzled music lovers since he burst into the limelight a few years ago - but there has always been one stage on which he longed to showcase his talents.

Now, finally, the guitar wizard will get his chance to realise his dream at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival, which takes place in the Mother City at the weekend.

With so many stages to cater for a variety of international and local artists at the Cape Town Convention Centre, many of his followers will surely be hoping for an energetic performance since he usually dishes it out - much to the excitement of his female fans.

He has enthralled female fans with his "Ghrrr Phaa!" trademark exclamation and accompanying dance moves, which drive them wild, especially when he takes off his shirt to expose his six-pack.

With five albums under his belt Selota revealed that he was beginning to wonder if ever he would get a shot at a world stage such as the renowned international festival that draws jazz fiends and artists from around the globe.

"I have been itching to perform at this festival. It's the first time that I get to perform there," Selota says. "Artists such as Zola and others have been there twice and I haven't done it once. Not that I am taking anything away from Zola. I am just illustrating a point.

"It seems for me everything takes time. I can tell you right now that I went to the same high school as Caster Semenya.

"She has already been honoured for her achievement by the school but I have not. But that is just the point with us South Africans. We fail to honour our own."

But honours aside, Selota is relishing the opportunity to share the stage with some of the greatest musicians in the world.

That will be the ideal stage to showcase his latest offering, Lapeng Laka.

Songwriter, composer and producer Selota admits that when penning his songs it is almost impossible to translate his mother tongue, sePedi, into English without losing the impact of the messages.

A graduate of the University of Cape Town with a jazz degree, majoring in jazz composition and arrangement, Selota does not categorise his blend of music as jazz.

"My music is not jazz. When I named my first album Painted Faces, I was referring to all the traditional mixtures, people starting to learn different cultures and languages," Selota says.

He says he believes the democratic transformation of 1994 made it possible for people to live where they pleased and learn new cultures.