Cape Town Jazz Safari Half day tour 1900 - 2330 Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays & Saturdays R895 per person. No minimum numbers on scheduled tours Starts at Coffeebeans Routes HQ, ends at accommodation if centrally located
Highlights: - Meet local jazz musicians in their homes - dine on local cuisine in the homes of the musicians - discover the city through her music Inclusions: - supper - juice and water at supper - tea or coffee - entrance fees to jazz venue if applicable
Cape Town is an incredibly musical city. This is the city where music is at its most creative in South Africa, something which is due partly to the natural environment we have, which encourages creativity, but mainly it is because of the history of the city and the diversity of people and cultures and sounds that have ended up here.
On this special music journey we are doing to travel deep inside the jazz music of the city, by visiting local jazz musicians in their homes.
Part one is a visit to the home of a jazz musician for dinner, with music and conversation, and part two is a visit either to the home of a second musician for a nightcap, or to a jazz venue for the late set.
The experience is intimate and deep, full of music and engagement and fun. It is a unique opportunity to meet local musicians away from club stages, and an excellent way to discover more about Cape Town and the lives of the people that live in it - through the music.
Our hosts include will Cape Town musicians young and old, all of them composers and performers. These are the musicians defining the sound of the city.
Read what the press has said about the Jazz Safari:
Cape Town is a musical city. There are twenty guitar players per square kilometre joke some people, and saxophonists behind every bush. Music is our holy communion.
Cape Town is a carnival city. Every year on the 1st and 2nd of January, The Minstrel's march through the streets in shimmering troupes of music and satin clothing and dancing and singing. It's a little like Brazil's carnival in style, a little like New Orleans in sound. But under that Table shaped mountain, it can only be Cape Town. Carnival is our celebration of freedom.
But Cape Town is still finding itself, we're a city still daring to be itself; a city only just waking up to its own possibilities.
Composer lauriate and host Mac McKenzie
Mac in his lounge with guests
Oh do we have musicians here, of all colours and ages and styles. There's the pianists, let the names roll slowly over your tongues like a poem: Abdullah Ibrahim, Tete Mbambisa, Hotep Galeta, Mark Fransman, Chris McGregor and Hilton Schilder. The saxophonists Winston Mankunku, Robbie Jansen, Basil Coetzee, Morris Goldberg and Buddy Wells. The guitarists? Jonathon Butler, Mac McKenzie, the brothers Alvin and Errol Dyers, Jimmy Dludlu and Selaelo Selota. There's the whole world in these names. Just like the city.
Mac McKenzie is a composer and guitar player from Bridgetown, he calls it a `frontier township', it was the first coloured township. Mac is a man with a Scottish name and a Cape Town slave heritage. He calls himself a pirate:
"I want to tell you a story about a song we sing in Cape Town called the Alibama, it's about when the ships come in and everybody can live, because the prostitutes are going to make a living. Ja, but it happens in every port brother, and sister. And most of us are here because of that. That's why I've got a brother in Maputo, and a sister in Luanda, and an uncle Rio…"
IG on the left, Iain on the right
We are a pirate of cultures. It's like Cape Town has pirated pieces of the whole world, everything is gathered here. Cape Town is a port city after all, absorbing the world over hundreds of years. It's a touch of Europe, a little bit of India and Malaysia, is a piece of Africa, there's Brazil in here and there's America and Israel. Cape Town is not one thing: it is many things in one.
And so is our music. We start with the first people in the Cape, the Khoe-Khoe, with their tradition of the goma drum and trance chant. Then the Bantu people migrated South with their deep rhythms and bass harmonies. Later the colonisers came with fife and flute and marching military music, first the Dutch and then later the French and the English. They brought slaves from Mozambique and the Congo and Malaysia and the Philipines, each with their own musical legacies. Through the port came the New Orleans Minstrels and the carnival music of America, and later through the radio came that new thing called Jazz Music.
Jazz was everywhere in Cape Town. Everybody listened to the radio in Cape Town. Voice of America and LM Radio from Mozambique were the evangelists. Together with the rest of the world, we were listening to Ellington and Coltrane and Miles. And our currency was in jazz records.
Especially for one Dollar Brand. In the 1950s, the sailors would arrive in Cape Town with music from America. Every Saturday, the young Abdullah Ibrahim, would go to the ships and buy a record for a dollar. Back then he was still Adolphus Brand, he hadn't yet converted to Islam. And so he was given the nickname Dollar, because he always had a dollar in his pocket to buy music from the sailors. Dollar Brand.
Colin Miller makes a cameo appearance
One of the young guns at Swingers
Our jazz was first about dancing, we had big dance bands with fantastical American sounding names playing American music. Then as South Africa became a police state, so the music started getting serious. Political. Original. Mankunku blew Yakhal Inkomo, Bellowing Bull, behind a curtain at the Luxurama theatre. Black musicians and white musicians couldn't play together on the same stage so he had to be hidden. Ibrahim went into exile, and then back for a while in the 70's and gave us Manenberg, an anthem for Cape Town. Chris McGregor and the Blue Notes gave us Izmite Is Might as a eulogy for what could have been.
For a musical city Cape Town is ironically a very unmusical city - it's the heritage of the great divides that apartheid created. You would think that you could go any night to a venue in the city and find great music. It's not like that. Accessing the music of the city is difficult. And the real action is not always accessible to tourists.
Nick le Roux in the middle at the Swinger's Jam
Mac performing with his group, the Goema Captains of Cape Town
And so Coffeebeans Routes created a music tour that takes the visitor right into the fabric of the city's music, offering intimate evenings in the homes of a variety of Cape Town musicians: high tea with a musical storyteller, if you like. We meet a musician at home, listen to their music, hear their stories, enjoy dinner with them. And then its off to a jazz venue for performance. It's always a surprise, and the people always a pleasure.