News

Jazz Festival Pays Tribute to Late South African Singer Miriam Makeba

The Cape Town International Jazz Festival took place late last month and played out to a sold-out crowd of more than 30 000 people. The festival featured 41 bands performing on five stages over the two nights. This year’s festival also featured a special “Tribute to Mama Africa” – to remember the music of Miriam Makeba.

Multimedia

Audio

The Cape Town International Jazz Festival celebrated its 13th year at the city’s International Convention Centre.  It included a number of renowned American musicians such as James Ingram, Patti Austin, Lenny White, Allen Stone, Lauryn Hill and more. South African artists ranged from Hugh Masekela, Zahara, Lindiwe Suttle; Dorothy Masuka, Adam Glasser and Herbie Tsoaeli to name a few.

South African musician Hugh Masekela
South African musician Hugh Masekela

Trumpeter and singer Hugh Masekela, who also performed last year, teamed up with three South African vocalists - Vusi Mahlasela, Thandiswa Mazwai, and Zolani Mahola - to present a musical tribute to the late African songstress Miriam Makeba.

Hugh Masekela was the tribute's musical director.

"Two or three years ago," he said, "we were playing at a South African festival in Toulouse in France. There was a cross-section of South African artists for the whole week, and they asked if we could put an impromptu tribute to her [Makeba]. So we rehearsed it on the afternoon of the performance and it just took the whole place by storm. Then there were requests for it all over Europe."

After France, they toured Barcelona, London and Berlin, to sold-out shows, in 2011. This year was the first year the tribute to Miriam Makeba came to South Africa.

"The very first person to really bring South Africa to the world’s attention was Miriam Makeba,"  said Masekela. "She invented us most musicians of today. She gave her life and a very lucrative career to talk about the struggles of Africa.

"She raised money for liberation movements of schools, she sent me to school, she started  [the careers of South African musicians] Caiphus, Jonas Gwangwa’s and Letta Mbuli’s in the United States. There can never be another person like Miriam Makeba! Miriam Makeba is not only the patron saint of Africa, but there is no one individual that ever did as much for Africa as Miriam Makeba did."

The tribute covered Makeba’s classics like "Soweto Blues", "Meet Me at the River", "Pata Pata" and many more. Crowds who had packed the Kippies auditorium at the festival sang along to almost all the Makeba renditions.

This year's Cape Town International Jazz Festival included a tribute to
This year's Cape Town International Jazz Festival included a tribute to "Mama Africa", the late legendary singer Miriam Makeba

Vusi Mahlasela is a South African musician who sings in various languages and formed part of this group paying tribute to the legendary performer.

"Miriam did quite a lot of things for us here in South Africa," he said, "especially connecting with the world and also was able to embrace that spirit of Ubuntu [“humanity” or “sharing”], by learning other people’s languages and even to sing their languages as well. I got quite a lot of inspiration from that. We have that African idiom that says: ‘motho ke pulelo’ – meaning ‘a person is a language’ and she did that and that is what I am also choosing that in my work – singing in various languages and all."

Miriam Makeba passed away on the 10th of November 2008. She last performed at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival in 2006 as part of her Grand Finale Tour.

The Tribute to Mama Afrika wowed crowds also audiences at the Jazz Festival and is set to continue touring across the world, celebrating the life of Miriam Makeba.

 

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishui
X
Abdulaziz Billow
June 30, 2015 2:16 PM
Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impact

Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Syrian Refugees Return to Tal Abyad

Syrian refugees in Turkey confirm they left their hometown of Tal Abyad because of intense fighting and coalition airstrikes, not because Kurdish fighters were engaged in ethnic cleansing, as some Turkish officials charged. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer, in Tal Abyad, finds that civilians coming back to the town agree, as we hear in this report narrated by Roger Wilkison.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs