Jazz Maestro Dludlu Shines

Diplomat East Africa - - Culture -

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

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