Standard Bank Joy Of Jazz 2013 honorees

Standard Bank Joy Of Jazz 2013 honorees

The Standard Bank Joy of Jazz pays its own tribute in Women’s Month by honouring five of the country’s national cultural treasures with lifetime achievement awards.
Lauded for their contribution to South Africa’s rich musical history, this year’s chosen recipients are Sathima Bea, Thandi Klaasen, Abigail Kubeka, Dorothy Masuka and Sylvia Mdunyelwa.

Presented annually as part of the country’s premier jazz festival, the ceremony will take in Johannesburg on Saturday, August 10.
Previous recipients include composer and trombonist Jonas Gwangwa, Grammy Award winner Hugh Masekela, veteran saxophonist and jazz journalist Don Albert, radio personality Mesh Mapetla and cultural activist Fitzroy Ngcukana.

Sathima Bea Benjamin
Sathima Benjamin was born in Cape Town in 1936. By the early 1960s, Benjamin was a talented jazz singer and in great demand in music and theatre.
From the early 1960s, Benjamin toured the world, becoming well known in jazz circles and a regular feature at musical festivals. She settled in New York in the mid-1960s, and established herself as a leading exponent of her musical genre. In New York, Benjamin also took up the fight for liberation, assisting the ANC with fundraising concerts to raise awareness of the struggle. She has recorded more than 10 albums. Benjamin alternates between her adopted city, New York and her home in Cape Town, occasionally performing on other continents. The South African Government bestowed Sathima Bea Benjamin with the Order of Ikhamanga in Silver at the National Orders awards in 2004 for her excellent contribution as a jazz artist in the development of music in South Africa and internationally, and for her contribution to the struggle against apartheid.

Thandi Klaasen
Thandie Klaasen, Nelson Mandela’s favourite singer, has a long and brilliant career that keeps on keeping on. Thandie has stared in musical theatre and big band jazz, as well as delighting audiences the world over. She is often considered South Africa’s top female jazz vocalist, often compared to Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan. She also performed at Nelson Mandela’s 80th birthday, his wedding, and every other special event. Thandie has shared the stage with Eartha Kitt, Percy Sledge, and Ray Charles, to name a few.

Abigail Kubeka
Abigail Kubeka is one of South Africa’s greatest talents. She was spotted in the 1950s by legendary musician Miriam Makeba when she was 16 years old and invited to join her female group Skylarks. Then came the smash hit musical ‘King Kong’ which took her around the world. Not only is Abigail known as a top cabaret and corporate entertainer, she has starred in films, appeared on TV, stage musicals and reviews. She has worked and performed around the world with stars like Sarah Vaughn, Eartha Kitt, Percy Sledge and Monk Montgomery. Highlights include appearing in the worldwide telecast of the first Miss World Pageant held at the Sun City Superbowl in 1992; performing for Elizabeth II, the Queen of England during her visit to South Africa in 1995 and her performance at the South African Embassy in London, Celebrating 10 Years of Democracy, with other legends like Thandie Klaasen, Dolly Rathebe, Dorothy Masuka and Yvonne Chaka Chaka.
•    She appeared at Standard Bank Joy of Jazz in 2008.

Dorothy Masuka
In the 1950s, the jazz age was on in the cities of South Africa, and a beautiful young singer from Bulawayo came to Johannesburg to try her luck.
Her real break came when she was invited to audition for a new record label called Troubadour, an expression of the new urban black culture that was sprouting through the cracks in the apartheid system. At 16, Masuka joined Philemon Mogotsi’s African Ink Spots in Durban. In 1954, not yet 20-years-old, Masuka found herself touring South Africa with the likes of the Harlem Swingsters and Dolly Rathebe, and appearing on the covers of magazines. In 1961 she went into exile for 31 years.
•    She appeared at Standard Bank Joy of Jazz in 2007.

Sylvia Mdunyelwa
Singer Sylvia Mdunyelwa even though dubbed a jazz singer can sing just about anything. She has incredible vocal exhibitionism and an unbelievably wide range that allows her to give wings to any song she sings.

This songstress hails from Langa, Cape Town and has been singing professionally for close to 30 years. Her voice took her to UCLA where she got the privilege of being introduced to jazz greats to the likes of Abel Lincoln, Max Roach and others. She went on a cultural exchange to South America where she got awarded the “Golden Guachupe”, a great arts acknowledgement. Her musical travels include performing at the North Sea Jazz festival in Holland twice, the Berlin Festival twice and Germany and Tokyo.
•    She appeared at Standard Bank Joy of Jazz in 2008.

The Standard Bank Joy of Jazz now has in total nine performance venues in the Newtown precinct when the festival runs from August 22 to 24.

* Visit www.joyofjazz.co.za.