The Jazz & Soul Safari turns 10 this year and organisers are literally switching things up to celebrate the milestone. World-revered whisky Johnnie Walker is the new title sponsor, hence the event being renamed the Johnnie Walker Jazz & Soul Safari .
In true celebratory spirit, the event that will take place on Saturday September 2 at the Lugogo Cricket Oval is also amplifying musically, with this year’s theme titled “Wear your dancing shoes.”
“For the last nine years, we’ve explored American Contemporary Music. Jazz, funk and soul/R&B music. We’ve showcased some of the finest artists and musicians in these genres on our illustrious stage. American Contemporary Music has spawned off an incredible variety and amount of sub genres all across the world. Last year we included one of the most popular of those sub genres, Lovers Rock Reggae, for the very first time, and to celebrate the tenth anniversary milestone, we are featuring the global phenomenon that is Kizomba music,” Jazz Safari founder Tshaka Mayanja said.
Angolan Yola Semedo who is regarded as one of the finest exponents of Kizomba is set to enchant her Ugandan audience with the spectacular and soulful sound of the popular genre. Originating in Angola, Kizomba is a ‘first cousin’ of Zouk, and is characterised by a slower and usually very romantic rhythm.
Semedo is the lead singer for the ‘Impactus 4’ family band, founded in Lobito, Angola in 1982 by Mr. Orlando Semedo. Her performances also include genres like jazz, neo-soul and R&B.
For the jazz aficionados, incredible Jazz-funk and soul shall be showcased as usual. Marcus Anderson, one of the world’s most sought-after saxophonists is on the cards. An artist of extraordinary jazz pedigree, not only is Anderson a very popular solo performer, with eight albums to date, and accompanying acts such as CeeLo Green and Judith Hill, he has featured as a saxophonist with the late Prince’s New Power Generation.
What’s more, local jazz enthusiasts can already start looking forward to an artist who, in addition to being a sax maestro, plays the flute, sings, writes, dances, produces and arranges music.
Announcing the Johnnie Walker partnership, Uganda Breweries’ Head Whisky Portfolio, Annette Nakiyaga said, “Johnnie Walker is a brand that represents continuity and success, which is what the Jazz & Soul Safari stands for. It has been the pick of events on the entertainment calendar for the nine years of its existence, in much the same way that Johnnie Walker has stood out as the whisky of choice over the ages.”
The annual jazz event was started by musicians Mayanja and Elijah Kitaka, who had a passion to introduce jazz music to Uganda. Inspired by radio jazz segments and small gatherings, it transformed into nine international standard concerts that showcased the intricate craft that is jazz.
The event organisers in partnership with Rotary will carry on the spirit of giving back. The Johnnie Walker Jazz & Soul Safari CSR contributions go to the Jazz Safari ward they helped set up at Nsambya Hospital.
And as the Lugogo Cricket Oval will be hosting the event for the second year running, the Johnnie Walker Jazz & Soul Safari will, in appreciation, also give back to the gentleman’s game of cricket through a sponsorship of the National 50 Overs Cricket League—aptly named The Jazz Safari National Cricket League.