Top SA artists to appear at Standard Bank Jazz Festival
June 3, 2015

Former Standard Bank Young Artist winners share stages in
international collaborations
Reprise of Kesivan Naidoo's acclaimed show from Carnegie Hall

A number of previous Standard Bank Young Artist (SBYA) recipients - many in exciting collaborations with international artists - will be performing at this year's Standard Bank Jazz Festival, Grahamstown, which forms part of the National Arts Festival from 2 - 11 July.

Pianist Bokani Dyer has had a meteoric rise in the jazz world since winning the SBYA Award for Jazz in 2011. As part of his extensive 2014 European tour he performed with four gifted Swiss jazz musicians - Donat Fisch (sax), Matthias Spillmann (trumpet), Stephan Kurrman (bass) and Norbert Pfammatter (drums) - and will be reuniting on stage with them at this year's Festival in a show combining the vitality of contemporary South African jazz with Swiss precision.

Audiences will be able to see 2009 SBYA jazz winner, drummer Kesivan Naidoo, in a number of performances. Kesivan & the Lights played in New York's iconic Carnegie Hall last year to critical acclaim and a standing ovation. Naidoo reprises the show in Grahamstown with the addition of two Swedish guests, renowned tenor saxophonists Johan Hörlén and Karl-Martin Almqvist, both of whom were central to his original 2009 Lights band. It also features pianist Kyle Shepherd, who was the SBYA for jazz recipient in 2014.

Almqvist also features at the Festival in The Bjaerv Encounters and will be joined by young SA tenor Sisonke Xonti, along with Naidoo.

Pianist and composer Nduduzo Makhathini was named the 2015 SBYA for jazz. He will be paying homage to those musical legends who have contributed to the vibrant legacy of SA jazz in a show titled Listening to the Ground and featuring Nomagugu Makhathini (vocals), Sweden's Almqvist (sax), Feya Faku (trumpet), Martin Sjöstedt (Swedish bassist) and Ayanda Sikade (drums).

Named SBYA for jazz in 2008, pianist Mark Fransman will be performing alongside Swedish trombonist Peter Dahlgren, regarded as one of the strongest young modern jazz voices in Europe, in a not-to-be-missed concert.

Bassist Concord Nkabinde - 2006's SBYA for jazz - will be sharing the stage with New York-based West African guitar virtuoso Lionel Loueke. Loueke also performs in a second collaboration with South African musicians Siya Makuzeni, Marcus Wyatt, Ayanda Sikade and Shane Cooper, SBYA for jazz recipient in 2013.

SA's unique cultural diversity is shown in the shared billing of this country's leading steelpan player and SAMRO Award winning composer Dave Reynolds and Pops Mohamed (ACT Lifetime Achiever) on African percussion, mixing World Music, Caribbean soul and South African jazz with an underpinning of African traditional instruments.

South African Music Awards nominee Auriol Hays will be bringing her collection of beautifully crafted jazz, soul and pop songs to life in Grahamstown. Pianist Don Laka needs no introduction to SA audiences and has been a performer, composer and producer for nearly four decades, in that time building the Kwaai-Jazz brand - an eclectic musical fusion of classical, traditional, modern and jazz.

Back at the festival by popular demand is local favourite Nomfundo Xaluva, who has spent time in Norway and was invited as Artist in Residence at the University of Southern California. A former head girl of Victoria Girls High School in Grahamstown, Xaluva's recently-released debut album Kusile was named Best Urban Jazz Album at the Metro FM Awards.

Other international artists at the festival include the Stockholm Jazz Orchestra, regarded as one of the premier contemporary big bands in the world; Dutch saxophonist Yuri Honing; Austrian pianist David Helbock; French drummer André Charlier; violinist Chi-pin Hsieh and pianist Kai-ya Chang from Taiwan; Zimbabwean singer/guitarist Oliver Mtukudzi and multi-award winning Nigerian guitarist Kunle Ayo.

The full jazz programme is available online at and

Tickets to the Standard Bank Jazz Festival, Grahamstown are available at  www.nationalartsfestival. Festival programmes and booking kits are available at Exclusive Books branches or from select Standard Bank branches (see list below).

Keep in touch at:

Back to all news
  • Share
  • Email