Jazz Maestro Dludlu Shines
sounds that featured elements of contemporary and traditional jazz. For a man who prefers to call himself ‘the man who likes jam,’ his electrifying performance proved just that.
The festival was the second in a row that it featured a jazz guitarist. Last year’s festival featured Nigeria’s jazz artist Kunle Ayo who performed to a packed jam session at the Carnivore grounds in Nairobi.
Dludlu is a South African Afro jazz musician with over 20 years experience in the music industry and with six albums to his name. His music has influences from other legends such the late Miriam Makeba, Letta Mbullu, Themba Mokwema, Hugh Masekela, Allan Kwela and George Benson.
The six albums are, Sound and Vision released in 2008, Portraits (2008), Corners of my soul (2005), Afro centric (2002), Essence of Rhythm (1999) and Echoes from the past released in 1997. The albums have won him several accolades at the South Africa Music Awards (SAMA) with Echoes from the past winning him the Best contemporary jazz album and Best newcomer in the 1997 edition of the awards. Essence of Rhythm followed suit and won him Best male artist and Best contemporary jazz album. He would win the same awards again with Afro centric, but this time also added Best producer award and still repeat the fete again with Corners of my soul which won in the Best male artist and Best contemporary jazz album.
Performing his famous hits which included: Walk of life, Winds of change, Point View, Motherland and Holy about the ones in the village, the hyped audience could not get enough. His tunes are all a cocktail of Portuguese influence from Angola, Mozambique salsa and traditional rhythms of his native South Africa.
His musical journey started at 13 years when he picked his cousin’s guitar and began teaching himself to play the instrument by imitating African music he listened to on radio. He then embarked on performing at weddings and started curtain raising for his cousin in live performances before his big breakthrough finally came in 1980 when he joined South African bands.
But it is at the University of Cape Town that he perfected his art after he enrolled for a three year jazz programme and then took some years to cut a niche for himself with his tune.
He was to later a Ghanaian band called Anasi and teamed up with a saxophonist George Lee which won him the rare honour of performing at the Botswana Independence day celebrations in 1986 in the company of Thomas Mapfumo. He has also worked with other African greats such as Papa Wemba, Chicco, Brenda Fassie, Sipho Mabuso amongst others.
The premier Safaricom International jazz festival for the year was held in February with a headline performance by New York based Cameroonian artiste Richard Bona. The December festival was the year end edition of the annual fete