The 12th annual Cape Town Festival (CTF) kicks off on Friday, 18 March 2011 and culminates in the Human Rights Day celebrations on Monday, 21 March at the Company’s Garden in the CBD between 12pm and 8pm daily. The CTF, incorporating the One City, Many Cultures (1CMC) Project, is supported by the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund (NLDTF).

Some of the artists who will perform at this year’s festival include Judith Sephuma, Jesse Clegg, The Rockets, Vicky Sampson, Allistair Izobel, The Dirty Skirts, Chad Saaiman, James Bhemjee, Emo Adams, Nomfusi and The Lucky Charms, Virtual Jazz Reality, Die Heuwels Fantasties, the Glenn Robertson Jazz Band, Loukmaan Adams, Tucan Tucan, the Delft Youth Big Band and the Cape Town Philharmonic Youth Orchestra.

More artists will be confirmed in the next two weeks.

The CTF has marked the official Human Rights Day celebration in the city for the past 12 years and has enjoyed the continued support of the City of Cape Town. Executive Mayor of Cape Town, Alderman Dan Plato, will deliver an official Human Rights Day Address on Monday, 21 March, as part of the formalities honouring this momentous day on the South African cultural calendar.

“The City of Cape Town is proud to support the 2011 Cape Town Festival,” endorsed Alderman Plato, “It is my hope that the 2011 Festival will promote better understanding, respect and co-operation between people from different cultural backgrounds who share this City with one another,” he urged.

With a remarkable attendance of approximately 28 000 people over the three-day period last year, the CTF has grown into Cape Town’s premier free-to-the-public music festival, offering an annual platform for established and aspirant artists to showcase their unique talent to a diverse audience. The CTF is truly “The People’s Festival”, reflecting the colourful, vibrant and cosmopolitan culture for which the Mother City is known the world over.

To set the tone and share a sneak preview of this effervescent spirit of the CTF, the public are invited to join the festival team for a lunchtime interlude with the talented and entertaining Allistair Izobel at the Company’s Garden on Friday, 18 March 2011 between 12.30pm and 2.00pm. Lively buskers and Festival marketing ambassadors will meander through the lanes of the Gardens to spread the vibe to those who daily frequent this inner city recreational nucleus.

“We are encouraging Capetonians to come in their soccer, cricket and rugby jerseys to the Friday lunchtime event to show support to our national sports teams, especially the Proteas, who will be participating in the Cricket World Cup in India at the time. The Proteas will be playing their final group game against Bangladesh the next day (Saturday, 19 March),” said Cape Town Festival Founder and Executive Chairperson, Ryland Fisher.

In the spirit of creating tolerance and intercultural understanding, the three-day programme incorporates a Religious/Cultural Ceremony on Human Rights Day where leaders from various religious and cultural persuasions – including Muslim; Jewish; Christian; Hari Krishna and African Traditionalist – are invited to recite interfaith prayers.

This year’s musical bill has everyone in for a special treat with a must-see line-up of some of Cape Town, South Africa and Africa’s most celebrated performers offering a wide range of musical genres including afro-pop, world music, rock, afro-beat, jazz, RnB, urban-pop, hip hop and soul.

“In line with the vision of the Cape Town Festival, we strive to ensure that our musical content reflects the full spectrum of musical genres and appeals to a cross-section of the city’s population,” said Fisher.

The headline act is none other than the sensational jazz and afro-pop SAMA Award winner Judith Sephuma whose sultry sounds will permeate the Company’s Garden on Human Rights Day with the inspiring and entertaining performance for which she is acclaimed. Judith grew up in Polokwane and moved to Cape Town in 1994 to study as a jazz vocalist. In 1997 she graduated from the University of Cape Town with a Performer’s Diploma in Jazz and went on to further study. In 1999 she won the “Best Jazz Vocalist” at the Old Mutual Jazz Into The Future competition and signed with the African division of BMG. Her debut album A Cry, A Smile, A Dance was critically acclaimed and she later followed it up with New Beginnings.

23 Year old Jesse Clegg was only 6 months old when he started touring with his father, the legendary Johnny Clegg. A classic road kid who grew up back stage and on tour busses, carved out an independent direction for himself in the rock genre, very different from the world music style developed by his father. The multitalented singer, songwriter and musician has seen his single Today debut at Number One on the Highveld Homebrew Chart and was nominated for two SAMA awards in 2009 for “Record of The Year” and “Music Video of The Year” for the track Today. He performed at the Mandela Day concert in New York City alongside a variety of globally renowned performers and musicians. No doubt this golden boy will rock the crowd in true Clegg style.

The poignant singer/songwriter and SAMA nominee Chad Saaiman, who continues to wow audiences with his distinctive sound, will take to the stage with a fusion of RnB, soul and pop. A soulful and sensual singer who stems from Cape Town, Chad performs his debut album Chasing Melodies with a sense of maturity and experience that belies his 25 years of age. Drawing from strong musical influences such as Maxwell, John Legend, John Lennon and Stevie Wonder, Chad is at once at home in Soul music while being capable and comfortable across other musical styles as Chasing Melodies proves. Sell out gigs across the country and performances alongside top artists such as Eddy Grant, Loyiso Bala, Danny K, HHP and Claire Phillips prove that Chad Saaiman is a brightly rising star in South African and International music.

She is a lady with a big voice and an even bigger repertoire – Vicky Sampson is undoubtedly one of Cape Town’s most dynamic musical exports who never ceases to amaze when it comes to putting on an electrifying performance. From her humble beginnings as a young girl growing up on the Cape Flats in South Africa, Vicky has risen to international stardom, appearing in shows in Austria, England, Germany, Singapore, Sweden, the Netherlands and the United States of America and sharing the stage with the likes of Shakatak, Al Jarreau, Tina Turner, Joe Cocker, Peabo Bryson, George Benson, Grace Jones, Randy Crawford, Maxi Priest, Kool and the Gang and the Stylistics. Vicky has released three albums – Shine, Zai and License to Sing. With each album, her considerable talent and growth as a performer, singer and songwriter has been showcased.

The programme would not truly embrace the Cape Town music scene without the unrivalled sounds of the institution that is The Rockets. Their colourful, uncompromising and energetic act will ignite the stage with an eclectic mix of soulful ballads, mid-tempo melodies and exhilarating dance tunes.  The Rockets have supported many international acts in South Africa, including Ronan Keating, Usher, Alicia Keys, P. Diddy, Shayne Ward, Patrizio Buanne, Will Young, Marcos Hernandez, Luther Vandross, The Spice Girls, Wet Wet Wet, Billy Ocean, The O’Jays and many more. They have performed at many prestigious events in South Africa and have 2 SAMA nominations under their belt in the “Best Pop Performance” and “Best Contemporary Dance Performance” categories.

Adding a good dose of township flavour to the musical cocktail is afro-soul star Nomfusi, who has caused an international stir with her fusion of Sophiatown – African jazz from the 60’s – with the excitement of Motown, backed by her immaculate six-piece band, The Lucky Charms. Born in the township of KwaZhakele, Port Elizabeth, this overnight sensation has already had bookings flooding in from Europe and North America, including an invitation to perform with a sixty-piece orchestra at the Festival Mundial in The Hague in July this year. This, after having launched her debut album Kwazibani just over a year ago. Nominated in two categories of the 2010 Metro FM Awards, including “Best Female Artist”, Nomfusi and The Lucky Charms will bring that same magic to the CTF stage.

The desire of a group of musicians from different cultures and nationalities – South Africa, Argentina and Mozambique – to unite and fuse different styles of music, resulted in the launch of World music afro-tropical band TUCAN TUCAN. Their music can be described as a melting pot of African rhythms such as Kwasa Kwasa, Marrabenta, Mbaqanga, Maskandi and High life with South American elements from Samba, Salsa and Chacarera with a strong jazz influence and lyrics in African languages, Spanish, Portuguese and English. There’s only one way to describe a TUCAN TUCAN show, “an enchanting journey that captures the audience with soulful sounds to energetic up-tempo compositions, colourful dancing choreographies and band-audience interaction.”

The Tall, Dark and Afrikaans actor, singer, producer and entertainer extraordinaire Emo Adams has spent most of his teenage years singing along to the melodies of the Malay Choirs and annually performing with them as part of his Malay cultural background. Music and melodies became an infectious part of his life. Born and raised in Mitchells Plain in the heart of the Cape Flats, he gave his first step into the world of entertainment when, at the tender age of 9, he was cast as a street child in District Six The Musical, the production written and directed by the late Taliep Petersen and David Kramer. It is here that the theatre bug bit Emo completely. Known for his explosive and interactive performances, Emo promises to be a sure hit at this year’s CTF.

Afrikaans alternative pop band Die Heuwels Fantasties are set to shake things up with their idiosyncratic electronic sound. Their first single Oorlewing 101, released in January 2009, was widely received and with great enthusiasm. Since then they have won a SAMA, sold close to 20 000 CD’s and appeared live in Amsterdam and London, amongst a variety of high profile live performances locally and abroad. They have also collaborated with Jack Parow and JR. Die Heuwels Fantasties comprises the Bellville trio, Hunter Kennedy (aKING & Fokofpolisiekar); Pierre Greeff (Lukraaketaar) and producer Johnny de Ridder (Fokofpolisiekar).

A band that needs no introduction in Jazz circles is the Glenn Robertson Jazz Band, known to comfortably move from blues to swing and from bebop to modern Jazz. Comprising of Tony Drake on Piano, Andre Henry on Bass Guitar, Fabian Frantz on Drums and Guest Artist, Donveno Prins on Saxophone, Glenn Robertson plays percussion and fronts the band vocally. Glenn’s musical influences come largely from the music of Al Jarreau, Nat King Cole and Jimmy Messina, but his musical leaning is definitely toward Latin Jazz. The band has successfully added Gospel Jazz to their repertoire. Glenn was a founder member of the band Airborne and was lead vocalist for the Tony Schilder Trio for a season at the Sherwood, better known as Club Montreal in Manenberg. The Glenn Robertson Jazz Band released their latest album On Your Feet in March 2009.

Spicing up the programme is the multitalented actor, singer and choreographer Loukmaan Adams who started performing at the tender age of 6 and is best known for his collaborations with David Kramer and Taliep Pietersen, specifically his roles in the musicals District Six The Musical and Kat & the Kings. The elder brother of Emo Adams, Loukmaan has won several accolades including the 2007 Naledi Award for “Best Choreographer” for the musical Ghoema. Loukmaan has performed to audiences all over the world including West End, Broadway, Vienna, Frankfurt, Zurich, Hamburg, Germany, Netherlands, Japan and New York and shared stages with the likes of Bonnie Tyler, Stevie Wonder, PJ Powers and Vicky Sampson.

The fiendishly independent alt-indie-rock band The Dirty Skirts is based in Cape Town and is made up of Jess de Tolly on lead vocals and guitar, David Moffatt on guitar, Passion Paliaga on bass and Markie de Menezes on drums. The band has toured the States, United Kingdom and the United Emirates. They independently recorded and released their eponymous debut mini-album in 2005. Singles such as Feeling the Pressure and Set Me Alight scorched up the local and student charts. The album Daddy Don’t Disco was released in June 2008 and enjoyed 4 radio play-listed singles. The release Daddy Don’t Disco was nominated in the “Best Rock Album” category at the SAMA’s. Winners of the inaugural Red Bull Soundclash, this quirky group will be sure to live up to their reputation of captivating live audiences. 

Virtual Jazz Reality (VJR) is a fully professional outfit comprised of some of the most respected, versatile and experienced artists on the South African music scene. Having performed throughout Africa, United Kingdom, America (New Orleans, New York), Far East UAE (Dubai), Australia, Sweden, Denmark, Europe, their jazz repertoire covers all styles ranging from light cocktail jazz to cutting edge virtuous original compositions. VJR has done numerous TV and radio specials and worked with artists such as Pavarotti, Jonathan Butler, Shirley Bassey, Liberace, Miriam Makeba, Hugh Masekela, Bono, Anastasia, Shakatak, Latoya Jackson, Judith Sephuma (A former member of V.J.R.) and Jimmy Dludlu.

2010 SA’s Got Talent winner James Bhemjee has won the hearts of many South Africans with his magnificent voice. Bhemjee, who has been singing for the past 20 years, was inspired by the legendary Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti. Bhemjee was first “discovered” on the streets of Cape Town by a woman who overheard him singing whilst he was working as a street sweeper.  She was so impressed that she paid for Bhemgee to have vocal lessons and today he sings with the Cape Flats Tenors, performs at various gatherings and teaches other groups around the city. This former street sweeper is sure to sweep festival-goers off their feet with a bouquet of superb classical renditions.

Lovers of classical music can enjoy arrangements by the Cape Philharmonic Youth Orchestra (CPYO), a symphony orchestra of international standard launched in 2004 as part of the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra’s (CPO) development and transformation plan. Most of the members of the CPYO come from previously disadvantaged communities. The members of the professional orchestra are committed to a programme of teaching and training the young musicians through regular workshops and one-on-one tuition. This flagship of the CPO’s Outreach and Education programme has made great strides under the leadership of Alexander Fokkens since his appointment as resident conductor of the CPYO in 2006. The orchestra has made its debut performance at the First Cape Town International Summer Music Festival at the Artscape during November 2006.

The Delft Youth Big Band is an initiative of the Department of Social Development and consists of a 20-piece band drawn from disadvantaged young people from the Cape Flats. Trumpeter Ian Smith is the project’s musical director. Big band aficionados will be enthralled by the musical skill being exhibited by these young musicians.

Performers from the Performing Arts Network of South Africa (PANSA), who have their roots in Africa, will usher in each day’s programme with a display of traditional instrumental, dance and vocal performances in true African style. PANSA is a national network of individuals, NGO’s, service providers and mainstream institutions that are engaged in the practice or support of the performing arts involving all forms of dance, music, opera, musical theatre and theatre.

A selection of community performers, who will have participated in the CTF’s Community Festivals during February and March 2011, will be afforded the unique opportunity of having their talent seen by a broader audience on a big stage outside of their own communities. This forms part of the CTF’s commitment to not only develop creative abilities; but also to assist in the promotion of these emerging talent.

The 2011 Community Festivals are set to take place at the Voorbrug Sports Field in Delft on Saturday, 26 February; at the Atlantis Senior Secondary School in Atlantis on Sunday, 6 March; at the I.D. Mkhize High School in Gugulethu also on Sunday, 6 March; and at the Milnerton Primary School in Milnerton on Saturday, 16 April. The CTF will provide free transportation for community members from these areas on Human Rights Day to enable them to experience the Festival in an up-close-and-personal way.

These are but some of the highlights that Capetonians and visitors to the city alike can look forward to at the 12th annual CTF. The event will see the Company’s Garden transform into a bustling entertainment hub boasting a VIP court and a considerable area allocated to vendors, some of whom will be dishing up a variety of traditional cuisine, while others will have a wide range of authentic arts and crafts on offer.

The Cape Town Festival takes place in March annually and marks the launch of its year-long programme of events, comprising a 1CMC Discussion; Community Youth Workshop Programmes; Senior Citizens Day; Leadership Forum; Multimedia Exhibition; Community Festivals and the Night Vision street festival on Saturday 12 March 2011. These interventions are strategically designed to engage publics at social, educational, business and creative level in the broader Cape Town society to showcase “a united city celebrated for its diversity and liveability.”

For more information, visit http://www.capetownfestival.co.za/ or email info@capetownfestival.co.za

Esther Henderson
Synapse Communications
Landline: 021 903 8762
Mobile: 074 232 7969
E-mail: esther@synapsecommunications.co.za