A Jazzy Night to Remember

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By Kae Matundu-Tjiparuro WINDHOEK It was just what the doctor ordered for my ears. Like with a visit to the doctor and the confinement to bed that usually follows, my bed also beckoned. Not so much because of the recommendation of the doctor but to make sure that nothing else spoiled the medicine the doctor had administered on the night. The doctor this time around happened to be none other than the line-up of jazz artists at the Old Mutual’s Jazz in the Park event. Sharing the stage albeit on rotation were Namibia’s own jazz diva, Sharon van Rooi, Louis Mhlanga, the Zimbabwean jazz guitarist of note now living in South Africa, G3 who needs no introduction to Namibia, and last but not the least, Judith Sephuma, who within a spell of about five years after the release of her first album, A Cry. A Smile. A Dance there seems no holding her back. Missing the opening act by five minutes or so, I found Namibia’s jazz icon already alluring the audience. As early as it was in the beginning of the event I nevertheless found Sharon seriously in business. Sharon’s jazzy voice eased members of the audience into their niches in the amphitheatre taking them through classic laid back jazz tunes. Name all the jazz artists of repute. Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Nina Simone. Their voices were recognisable in Sharon’s. No doubt she holds her own in the jazzy world. Local act, G3, then assumed centre stage with equal vigour as if Sharon had not registered the country’s musical talents. They added some funky flavour to the jazzy evening crafted out in a way that would make G3’s offerings a must in any jazz collector’s archive. The air was now explosive. The Namibian artists had set a real party atmosphere. As may be expected Louis Mhlanga did not disappoint and even pushed the stakes higher. The stage had been set for one of South Africa’s queens of jazz. Attired in a red and white African designer dress, Sephuma majestically took to the stage. Her’s was the usual electrifying persona but at the same time tranquilising singing. She proved equally pleasing to the ear offering tunes from her first CD, A Cry and the latest released last year, New Beginnings. What a way to end the party. Certainly I was not alone in letting my ear sleep on this good stuff! Judging from the packed amphitheatre, Windhoekers showed that they are definitely not in love with such artists but need more of them. And our homebrews do not need to wait on their foreign counterparts. They are an attraction in their own right. The only thing is that the audience seemed somehow inhibited showing appreciation only with the clapping of hands, reluctant to let their hair down. That is with the exception of a few who dared the dancing floor. Given the inhibition of the crowd perhaps a theatre would have been ideal as a venue.