The jazz artists performing at this year’s maiden voyage Muizenberg Jazz Festival (MJF) have performed on prominent South African and international stages, and at the Capetown International Jazz Festival (CTIJF), considered one of the most prestigious international jazz festivals in the world.
Economies of scale run high for these large volume and often congested stages. They usually risk the regular early sell-out of weekend pass tickets before one blinks an eye after ticket sales open for business. Admittedly, large music festivals like the CTIJF, boasting some 35,0000 plus ticket-holders annually, bring welcomed funds to the wider municipality, temporary jobs that curate the festival operations, and, for some listeners, earaches during and after gigs. For those not listening, there’s still revelry just in the vibe, familiar sounds, and the comradery of finding among the masses likeminded appreciative and exuberant festinos. MJF invites all to experience the same…plus…..
There’s another way to enjoy the music….in the spirit of festive revelry…
The MJF will take over the accessible Masque Theatre on Muizenberg’s Main Road, known for its historic community centeredness in providing popular theatre to Capetown residents. Here, in this relatively ‘small’ space which seats about 165 patrons, an illustrious line up of performances and workshops promise to bring high quality of art to the music lovers. [See the Programme on the website]
Small jazz/music festivals bring harmony and understanding amongst festinos who otherwise might not be exposed, or have opportunities to learn, about ‘the other’ neighbourhoods in the Cape’s wide cultural diversity. “Small” means intimate, accessible, participatory, and affordable without having one’s ears blown out from loud amplification. Festinos can rub shoulders with the crafters and artists, talk about their music, and easily purchase CDs or digital albums at discounted prices. They can meet the supportive local leaders who attend the various activities, and even offer constructive feedback about their likes/ dislikes in life, politics, community-run initiatives, etc.
Well, why ‘jazz’, and not rock/pop/classical/electro-funk? Well, guess what? ‘Jazz’ improvises on all of those genres, pulling them into a harmonic and rhythmic soundscape, with feet-stomping nourishment for the soul. Driven by worthy local talents to do this, not only in the Cape, but within South Africa and beyond, jazz offerings from local bands crisscross cultural and ethnic boundaries, and make exciting renditions of songs, familiar and unfamiliar.
For the international offerings, Ella Fitzgerald lovers will be enraptured by Norwood-Tiger’s renditions on Saturday night, the 14th. Tributes to South African musical legends will impress audiences with admirable young talents proudly displayed by the Jazz Yard Academy on Friday, the 13th.
For these reasons, the MJF aims to provide enriching exposure with a sense of intimacy, comradery, and enlightening soundsCapes (a term coined by Cape guitarist Steve Newman) that depict just what our artistic communities are producing right under our noses. Even young and not-so-young will enjoy the Saturday afternoon music workshops offered by three notable musicians in our ‘hoods’. The hustle and bustle of The Masque Theatre will come alive as the artists showcase high quality music in less competitive and more convivial spaces with audiences that listen and digest.
The Masque Theatre is at 37 Main Road, Muizenberg.