Music Exchange: The spirit of Madiba to be honoured with the sounds of Africa

Music Exchange: The spirit of Madiba to be honoured with the sounds of Africa
By Martin Myers

By Martin Myers

Awonderful festival makes it return next week on The Mandela Day Weekend, on July 17 and 18, when the City Hall plays host to the Cape Town Nu World Festival, an accessible inner city music festival showcasing a curated selection of music from South Africa and abroad.

First held in 2012, the formerly named Cape Town World Music Festival continues to build its reputation with great artists from across Africa.

The renamed event’s line up boasts an eclectic mix of International, African and local artists. The sheer variety of music on offer – with acts like Kanda Bongo Man, hailing from the Congo; Zimbabwean-bred Mokoomba; and Cape Verde’s Tcheka – will ensure that the diversity of the crowd in attendance will echo the cultural diversity of those onstage.

When asked about the philosophy behind the event, festival director Ma’or Harris reiterated the importance of embracing the diversity of the line up, the familiar names as well as those unknown. “We want people to trust the festival to curate a lineup that will take make an audience discover new music. That’s why our slogan is, ‘Come for the familiar, leave with something different.’” The event offers a true artist’s platform, giving performance opportunities based purely on merit of musicianship, rather than popularity.

“Wild & Wise” is the chosen theme for this year’s festival, with a focus on the juxtaposition of the old and the new, resulting in a myriad of musical collaborations, pairing local legends with fresh up-and-coming artists.

Headline performances will take place on the Main Stage, set up in the City Hall’s largest auditorium with its Edwardian grandeur and Organ as the stage’s backdrop.

There will be a DJ Stage and a Seated Stage for more intimate performances and acoustic acts. Along with all the live performances, festivalgoers will get the opportunity to attend free talks.

By the time festivalgoers leave names like Simphiwe Dana, Kanda Bongo Man (DRC), Riky Rick (SA), Mokoomba (Zimbabwe), Dunkelbunt (Austria), Majozi, Paul Waxon, Elemotho (Namibia), Fantasma, Özlem Bulut (Turkey/Austria), Native Young, Tcheka (Cape Verde) and Derek Gripper, Thris Tian and The Blackfoot Phoenix (Boiler Room/NTS), Zuko Collective, Bateleur, Vukazithathe, Card On Spokes, Toby2shoes, Spoek vs. Spoko and Afrikaans collective and Die Wasgoedlyn should all be on the playlist at home.

The important point is that taste makers like Evan Milton, Miles Keylock, Gary van Dyk, Jane Mayne and Karen Rutter have been talking about some of these acts for years and publications like Mike Smith’s Your LMG has been writing about a number of these artists, yet mainstream radio very rarely puts these acts into high rotation, because it does not fit the so-called format of the station.

You will however hear these artists on Evan’s show on Fine Music Radio on Thursday nights.

All Jazz Radio, an online station run by Eric Allan, plays and explores new music on a daily basis and Bush Radio, the community radio stalwart, plays these artists as well. Seek out and explore stations like SAFM, as well as Radio 2000, and sometimes you will be pleasantly surprised at the music and names that you’ll be able to tell your friends about.