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Gipsy Kings, Jonathan Butler last additions to CT Jazz Fest lineup

The Gipsy Kings and Jonathan Butler are the final additions to the lineup of the 20th Cape Town International Jazz Festival (CTIJF). The lineup will also include a tribute to the late Zimbabwean guitarist Oliver "Tuku" Mtukudzi, who died suddenly earlier this year.

The festival – which will take place on 29 and 30 March 2019 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre – will celebrate 20 years of successful local and international jazz.

CTIJF festival director Billy Domingo said: “After 20 years of Africa’s Grandest Gathering, I’m happy to conclude this year’s lineup with two of South Africa’s all-time beloved favourites. We will also pay tribute to the late, great Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi by celebrating his life through music as we say goodbye to an artist who can only be remembered as a true African legend.”

It has been almost three decades since the Grammy award-winning Gipsy Kings first burst onto the world music stage with their self-titled album and since then the band has toured the world, selling more than 20 million albums. Their most recent album, Savor Flamenco wholly produced by the band who wrote all the original material, won a Grammy Award for Best World Music Album.

While the band has over the years incorporated diverse influences into its sound – such as Latin and Cuban styles, Arabic music, reggae and jazz guitar – they are held together by the melding of frontmen Tonino Baliardo’s fluid guitar work and Nicolas Reyes’ powerful vocals.

Soulful homecoming crooner Jonathan Butler has remained current by constantly exploring new genres. No stranger to the urban contemporary or gospel scene, Butler is just as comfortable singing an R&B song as he is showing off his jazz skills on stage. In concert, the Grammy-nominated Butler draws on a vast repertoire which went down well the last time he played at the CTIJF in 2009.

Jazz fans were devastated to hear of the 66-year-old Mtukudzi’s passing earlier this year, knowing full well the guitarist/philanthropist/music legend was due to perform at this year’s CTIJF with singer-songwriter Vusi Mahlasela. CTIJF management can now confirm the lineup for the commemorative tribute, billed as Tuku Music: A Celebration of Oliver Mtukudzi’s Life through his Music, will fill Mtukudzi’s original slot on Saturday, 30 March.

Mahlasela will be joined on stage by Mbeu, Maduvha and Berita. Sotho singer Mahlasela played a large role in mobilising people against apartheid through his music and is often simply referred to as “The Voice”.

Zimbabwean-born South Africa-based Gugulethu Khumalo is an award-winning singer-songwriter who goes by the stage name Berita. The Afro-soul singer shared the stage with Mtukudzi on occasion and collaborated with him and Hugh Masekela on the single “Mwana Wa Mai”.

The Afro-fusion artist known as Mbeu also collaborated with Mtukudzi on the single “My Better Half”. Born Ashton Nyahora, Mbeu was a product of Mtukudzi’s Pakare Arts Centre in Chivero in Mashonaland West, Zimbabwe.

Maduvha (Madima) started singing professionally when she toured around Africa with her uncle, gospel legend Itani Madima at the age of 13 and has since made a name for herself as a Sama-nominated artist in her own right. Known to the general public as Queen Vele on SABC2’s Muvhango, she worked with Mtukudzi on the track “Ndimecha” on his album Eheka! Nhai Yahwe.

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