“In South Africa, the major art of resistance during apartheid was jazz: a melting pot where folk songs and hymns defiantly mixed with influences from South Asia, America and West Africa. South African jazz’s central formula — its equivalent to the 12-bar blues — is a buoyant, four-chord progression that even seems to evoke a blending motion.
But after 1994, this all started to lose its revolutionary edge. Jazz musicians now enjoyed free rein, but played a less clear role in the national narrative. Today, as millennial musicians reach adulthood in a newly digitized South Africa, they’re finding new areas of relevance.
This weekend’s Cape Town International Jazz Festival is overflowing with global talent, but the biggest rewards will come to those who pay attention to the local rising stars. In the 21 years since apartheid ended in South Africa, a new generation of musicians has grown up in a culture of open exchange.“