Jazz, comedy and African Nights at State Theatre

If it’s jazz, African music, or comedy that you’re after, look no further than South Africa’s State Theatre in February. Weekends in the capital haven’t been the same since the Rendezvous Theatre introduced the popular Jazz and African music nights on Fridays and the side-splitting Tshwane Comedy Nights on Saturdays.

Tickets cost R100, and can be booked through Computicket.

Jazz and African music nights

5 February: Andile Yenana

Music has been the mission of pianist Andile Yenana’s life since he was born in King William’s Town in the Eastern Cape in 1968.

“My dad, Felix Thamsanqa Yenana, had a huge collection of music, ranging from jazz to Motown, all the forms of urban black music. My brother also had discs, and I grew up listening to their records and singing along.”

Andile’s career has involved a range of projects and collaborations that have taken him far beyond the conventional jazz small group.

From the late 1990s, his main project was the band Voice, a collaboration with Sydney Mnisi, Marcus Wyatt, Herbie Tsoaeli and drummers Lulu Gontsana and Morabo Morajele. They called themselves Voice, because “we don’t have to sing on stage to express ourselves: our instruments are our voice.”

Voice has released two albums and toured Sweden.

As for the future, he’s working with colleagues from Voice on ways to introduce young players to South Africa’s jazz heritage. “I don’t want a spaza shop (a little corner stall). I’d like to see a supermarket run by musicians for musicians: a place where, before they go to university, young players can learn about South African jazz before they learn about jazz from overseas.”

5 February: Nkgo

Meaning “calabash”, the group Nkgo was formed in June 2008 by dedicated community artists of Mamelodi with the aim of researching music that will suite the jazz environment and other styles of jazz. The name Nkgo derives from the gourd that is used to drink African beer. It indicates the making of music which is African rooted and blended with western concepts of interpreting music. The workshop-based music is the centre of the group’s music composition.

Nkgo presents an independent way of playing music, and that is what audiences need – new creative music. The band comprises skilled experienced musicians Moss Mafiri (bass guitar) Jan Makhubedu (drums), Desmond Moloele (keyboards) and Frans Senoa (trumpet).

Nkgo have already performed at numerous venues, such as Bambatha Jazz Pub, Jazz Forums like A Gauteng Jazz Consortium, Limpopo Jazz Hub and Pretoria Jazz Collectors.

Nkgo Ga E Bele (The Calabash/Pot does not boil) is the band’s slogan, meaning let the brewing reaction take place for us to drink –musically let the playing of jazz music continue.

19 February: Bokani Dyer

Bokani Dyer, born in Gaborone, Botswana and living in Cape Town, graduated from the SA College of Music in 2008. Since graduating, he has released two solo albums — Mirrors and Emancipate the Story — to critical acclaim. He is currently in production of two solo albums to be released later this year. Dyer was awarded the prestigious Standard Bank Young Artist Award in 2011 for Jazz which is bestowed upon visionary young artists who hold the potential to carry the tradition of South African Jazz forward. He also clinched top prize in the SAMRO Overseas Scholarships Piano Competition in 2013.

19 February: Tshegofatso Teffo

Tshegofatso Teffo was born and bred in Siyabuswa, a town of traditional cultures and musical styles but guitar became his first love. He was raised in a family of many talents in a community whereby the youth engages in the pleasures of the world but instead “Fatso” conquered, as he chose music and taught himself how to play and passionately stroke the strings of music.

Defined by his love for music and conscious magic on the guitar, he has shown versatile styles of music as he has contributed to the genres of Afro Jazz and African clicks.

Tshegofatso has shown pride in his country by being part of the collaboration with various artists on Tata Mandela’s memorial that took place at the FNB stadium in Soweto.

Teffo’s versatility has been proven by his performance his vibrant energetic stage presence.

26 February: Mathapelo

Mathapelo Masilela is currently rated as one of the fastest growing musician in South Africa. This 24-year-old has managed to perform in countries like Germany, Hungary and she has just returned from a three weeks tour in Finland (Europe).

Her music is a thin line between Afro jazz and Afro pop, which is enjoyed by all generation (young and old). Her debut album Sthandwa sami sold more than 15 000 units.

She is currently being managed by Ringo Madlingozi’s management company PR Spix and has also performed along side her stable mate Ringo at the East Comes Alive Jazz in Birtchwood Hotel early this year.

26 February: Linda Tshabalala

A young female saxophonist from Daveyton, Benoni, Tshabalala started playing the saxophone under the tutelege of Johnny Mekoa at the Music Academy of Gauteng. Whilst at the academy she was invited to perform as a backing artist for the likes of Hugh Masekela, Everette Greene and Kevin Mahogany. She left to further her studies at the University of Cape Town, where she obtained her diploma in Jazz Performance in 2010. Since graduating from the renowned university she has performed alongside Thandiswa Mazwai, Herbie Tsoaeli and played in the Feya Faku Big Band. She is now a freelance musician who now leads her own unit which is the one she will be performing with.

Comedy nights

13 February:

Chris Mapane

Guest presenter on Selimathunzi, judge and comedian on SABC 1’s So you think you are funny and a regular within the Blacks Only lineup. His international appearances include London, Botswana and Nigeria.

Nkululeko Dini

One of Cape Town’s finest comedians. His style of comedy has won him countless fans in Cape Town and slow but surely throughout the country. Nkululeko is one comic to look out for.

Pablo Mashiloane

A Tshwane Comedy Academy Graduate. Ever since he graduated two years ago Pablo has graced Soweto Comedy Festival, Mzansi Fela, Tshwane Comedy Night and his one man comedy show Comedy begins at home.

Sibusiso Zathu

A regular within Tswane Comedy Nights and a graduate of the State Theatre Comedy Academy, Sibisuso Zathu is growing as a comedian and he is one of SA’s future comedy stars.

27 February:

George Kuda

The only international comedian on the lineup. George is a Zim native and his style of comedy appeals to many people. He has performed all over southern Africa.

Alex Kunene

A regular within big comedy festivals such as Soweto Comedy Festival, Blacks Only and Mzansi Fela, Kunene does observational humour and is one of the respected comedians in the country.

Tee Tee

A DJ at Emalahleni FM, Tee Tee does happy new-age humour. His material is based on everyday life and very youthful just like his radio shows. He is Emalahleni’s finest and soon to be SA’s finest.

Pravesh Mungaldave

Mungaldave is a new father to twin boys. He has a new comedy set based on his bundle of joy and also his wedding which was held in Italy. This is one comedian who talks about nothing but his life. He has opened for big guns such as Riaad Moosa.

All booking for the South African State Theatre can be made at Computicket

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