This past weekend saw people young and old gathered at the Johannesburg Zoo for the Lights Music Festival, where the audience enjoyed a good balance of old and new artists.
Mahotella Queens performed at Jazz in The Lights Music Festival on Saturday 11 March 2023. Picture: Katiso Mabuza/Supplied.
JOHANNESBURG – “We need more events like this one to showcase the talent South Africa has but even more than anything, I would like to see old artists like Letta Mbulu, Caiphus Semenya and Abigail Kubheka performing in such spaces. We need to bring back the old music,” said Mahotella Queens original member, Hilda Tloubatla.
This past weekend saw people young and old gathered at the Johannesburg Zoo for the Lights Music Festival, where the audience enjoyed a good balance of old and new artists such as the legendary female band, Mahotella Queens, which was formed in 1964.
“The way we curated the line-up is an intergenerational conversation between young musicians, emerging musicians and more experienced musicians. We also brought in the legends of the music industry such as uBaba Phuzekhemisi, we also have African Jazz Pioneers, Ten Ten Special who mesmerised the audiences and collaborated with the Mathothele Queens,” said Joburg City’s Director of Arts, Culture and Heritage Vuyisile Mushudulu.
The festival catered for a range of music tastes from jazz to maskandi all the way to hip-hop. The audience was served offerings from artists such as Samthing Soweto, Mandisi Dyantyis, Thandi Ntuli, Stogie T, Dumza Maswana, Phuzekhemisi, Keenan Meyer, Neo Joshua, African Jazz Pioneers and Mahotella Queens just to name a few.
Samthing Soweto performing at Jazz in The Lights Music Festival on Saturday 11 March 2023. Picture: Katiso Mabuza/Supplied.
“If you could be on that stage and feel the love and the energy from the people you can tell that we need each other, the artists and the audience. We need more events like this to be fully funded so that artists can fully display their talents,” said Dumza Maswana to Eyewitness News.
Maswana, a singer and songwriter, is no stranger to the South African music industry – his most popular song ‘Nguye’ off his debut album ‘Iphupha Lam’ was number one on Umhlobo Wenene charts for several weeks.
“We wanted an indigenous sound slanting towards jazz and a bit of deep jazz, that’s why we had artists like Stogie T and Nobuhle to make sure that young kids had a break from the deep jazz,” said Mushudulu.
The past two years had a significant yet adverse impact on the arts industry, and as physical gatherings have opened again, the Jazz in The Lights Music Festival made sure to create a space for families to be out together.
“Part of the Arts Alive international festival was curated to give a live performance offering to the audiences of Johannesburg and even beyond the borders of Johannesburg because for a long time, we have been deprived of live performances and people have been yearning for this experience. We decided to bring the experience to the zoo to create a family-oriented experience, where the children could experience the animals and enjoy rides,” said Mushudulu.
Families had the freedom of movement to explore and view the animals in the zoo and to also participate in all the other experiences the zoo has to offer.
Phuzekhemisi performing at Jazz in The Lights Music Festival on Saturday 11 March 2023. Picture: Katiso Mabuza/Supplied.
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