Start your week with a playlist of what we imagine Day 1 at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival’s 21st celebration to sound like

Around about now, social media would’ve been flooded with pictures, videos clips, and updates about how incredible the weekend at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival’s 21st celebration was. Alas.

You could argue that it’s no good to dwell on would-have-beens, and while they’ve had to postpone their event indefinitely, we created a playlist for each day of the festival for your private enjoyment.

Here’s what was on the lineup for Day 1. 

Ndlovu Youth Choir — While they fell just short of winning America’s Got Talent 2019, it put them on the world map. Everything from their outfits and energy to their repertoire and vocal arrangements breathes something fresh into our African sound.

Lady Zamar — representing that Mamelodi (Gauteng) township sound, her smooth vocals and catchy melodies combined with expertly produced house rhythms are a call to the dancefloor. Surely one of the sets guaranteed to get the audience moving. 

Femi Koya — the Nigerian vocalist and trumpet-player is regarded as the face of African Renaissance, thanks to his energetic blend of West African highlife, South African Sophiatown, and jazz. His live performance is impossibly infectious. 

Kwetu Trio — fronted by Kenyan-born multi-instrumentalist Aaron Rimbui, and accompanied by Herbie Tsoaeli on bass and Ayanda Sikade, the trio blends mainstream be-bop, soul ballads and Afro-funk for a uniquely East-meets-South Africa sound. 

Birdsong Ensemble — Lead by South African trumpeter, composer and arranger Mandla Mlangeni (South Africa), Max Troutner on tenor sax (Germany), Oz Yehieli on bass (Switzerland), Felix Wolf on the drums (DE), Vuma Levin on guitar (SA) and Yonela Mnana on piano (SA) for a cross-continental, melody-strong free form jazz sound. 

Samthing Soweto — representing his hometown, Soweto, the SAMA Award-winning musician uses his golden voice, R&B and jazz stylings, and uplifting songwriting to create a dynamic and versatile set. It’s African. It’s soulful. It’s Samthing Soweto.

MF Robots — Their name stands for Music For Robots, the kind of music that UK-hailing electro-soul duo believe the modern industry is producing too much of. They turn that generic electronic sound on its head with deep soul influences, instrumental influences, and the dance and disco era sprinkled all over it. 

Lira — songstress Lira, whose career spans 15 years and 6 albums, has established herself as one of South Africa’s most formidable female forces in our industry. And this queen knows how to really get down! 

Bombshelter Beast — this genre-busting super band combines and puts a completely fresh spin on a blend of genres like old school kwaito, new school house, boeremusiek, and ghoema for an energetic, powerful performance that you will not, I repeat will not, be able to stand still for. 

Earl Sweatshirt — The American rapper with African roots, Earl Sweatshirt’s been dropping bars since the ripe age of 16, and eloquently so. His poetic flow and street-like swag breathe new life into old hip hop. 

Jonas Gwangwa Tribute — this performance is a celebration of the legendary jazz musician’s 40-year legacy, a prominent figure throughout South African music history.

Joel Ross — Joel Ross is the hippest, funkiest cat behind a vibraphonist I have ever come across. His use of melody and rhythm is some of the most interesting and listenable instrumental jazz I have ever come across. 

Kuaetnika — one of Indonesia’s most well-known and inventive ensembles, their music is a blend of Indian, Chinese, European and Middle Eastern music that is nothing short of a spiritual experience. The music is powered by strong percussion, another band you would be stubborn not to dance.

Saudiq Kahn — fiery flamenco at its finest, Saudiq Kahn is one of very few flamenco guitarists to take on and expertly execute the flamenco guitar style solo.

 Seba Kaapstad — have a progressive new jazz sound, with a lot of soul, R&B and electronic production. Oh, and the vocal arrangements are ethereal, orchestral gold! There’s a lot of hip hop in their sound as well. 

The Unity Band — The young jazz band formed at the South African College of Music, a collective that draws inspiration from various genres including jazz, fusion, hip hop, African and World music. They’re Cape Town’s hottest new wave of jazz musos and this would have been their CTIJF debut and, undoubtedly, the first of many.

Find out what the Free Community Concert would’ve sounded like, or stream our Day 1 playlist below.