Edgar Muzah and Friends to perform at Cape Town International Jazz Fest

Bay winners of the espAfrika’s espYoungLegends to share stage with greats

Bay band Edgar Muzah and Friends have won espAfrika’s espYoungLegends online competition, earning themselves a slot to perform at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival in March.
The band is comprised of bassist Edgar Muzah, pianist Mthokozisi Mabuza, keyboardist Mvuzo Mnyaka, drummer Tavern Solomon and vocalists Willis Wataffi Afrika, Black Ibah, Blaq Tye, Andy Ndlazilwana and Samasamba.
Mabuza, Mvuzo and Solomon constitute Muzah’s band while Ndlazilwana, Black Tye and others are the “friends” of the band.
“This is a great opportunity for the work that we’ve put in to be heard by the world and it gives me great joy to know this [exposure] is not just for myself, but for each of these brands that make up Edgar Muzah and Friends,” Muzah said.
He described the ensemble as more of a multibrand musical project than a solid band; the coming together of various talented artists who each stand for their solo brand or musical career.
“These are people I have worked with in music and I call them my friends. “The idea of Edgar Muzah and Friends was inspired by David Frost and Friends,” he said.
Edgar Muzah and Friends’ music is a fusion of different genres, mostly inspired by African sound.
“I would call our genre world music, but we are inspired by Africa and African music, so we’re pushing to get the African side of world music to be heard,” Muzah said.
The band are the fourth winners of the national competition and the second winners to come from the Eastern Cape after Port Elizabeth’s VuDu Jazz Band took the prize in 2017.
They entered the competition in 2018 and went through stages of elimination depending on public votes. The band was the most voted for throughout the country.
Although he reckoned there was never enough time to prepare for such a gig, Muzah said the band would spend the remaining time to practise for the big performance at the end of March.
“We don’t want to be just another band, we want to make an impression and make it last,” he said.
“To perform at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival has not always been a dream for me personally because it always felt unreal and far-fetched.“You don’t just get to play at that kind of festival, you have to be really good at what you do, so although I have dreamt of playing on big stages, I never thought I would perform at this festival,” Muzah said.
The opportunity to perform at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival follows after a year of accomplishments for the band members in their solo careers.
In 2018, Ndlazilwana was awarded a Standard Bank Ovation Award at the National Arts Festival in Makhanda and released her single, Nomalanga, while Blaq Tye released his album Mamela Mna.
Edgar Muzah and Friends will be sharing the festival stage with national as well as international artists, including Don Laka, Sho Madjozi, Ntsika Ngxanga, Soweto Gospel Choir, Cory Henry and The Funk Apostles, Alfa Mist, Chaka Khan and many other acclaimed acts.
The Cape Town International Jazz Festival will be held on March 28 and 29 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre...

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