Youths make moves in the jazz world

Marzia Barry and Joshua Klein before rehearsals.

Vocalist Marzia Barry, 16, from Grassy Park, and Joshua Klein, 18, from Steenberg, will be among 14 soloists taking part in the Artscape Youth Jazz Festival on Friday June 15.

Marzia, a pupil at St Joseph’s Marist College, and Joshua, from Bergvliet High School, auditioned to be part of a mentorship programme, which started on Sunday June 3 and runs until Sunday July 15 .

The festival gives those chosen a chance to showcase their talents and work with top South African jazz artists during the 10-week mentorship programme.

Marzia said performing in the jazz festival is a privilege.

“I am so grateful that I was accepted to take part. Music opportunities in Cape Town are not as great but we have a lot more accessible to us than our predecessors, especially those who lived through the Soweto Uprising,” she said, referring to the protests against apartheid by youth in Gauteng, in 1976.

Marzia started singing when she was 8 and took vocal lessons at the age of 12.

Some of her achievements include performing in the Standard Bank International Jazz festival in Grahamstown in a vocal ensemble in 2016 and B-band ensemble in 2017.

She hopes to study jazz performance and music after she matriculates.

Joshua started playing drums at the age of 14.

“It is great to be able to take part in the festival. Music is very important for the youth and it can be a catalyst for a better life. More opportunities need to be made for youth in all spheres so that we can create more disciplined, structured teens,” he said.

Joshua is part of his school senior jazz band, playing drums and percussion and plays in the Cape Town Philharmonic Youth Orchestra and the Cape Town Philharmonic Youth Wind Ensemble as a percussionist. He wishes to study music after he matriculates.

Those chosen will attend workshops about South African jazz, business management for musicians, and techniques to hone their skills.

Dr Marlene le Roux, CEO of the Artscape Theatre Centre, said since the Youth Jazz Festival was established in 2003, the focus of the programme has remained dedicated to providing skills development within the jazz genre to foster the investment of cultural democratisation of the country.

“These young jazz musicians take the experience forward into their careers and educate others in the process.

“Many of the developing artists hosted in the education and training programmes have excelled as professionals ,both locally and internationally, including scooping major awards,” she said.

She said the festival is a stepping-stone that provides opportunities and access to significant role players in the industry.

Tickets for the event can be booked for R80 through Artscape Dial-a-Seat on 021 421 7695 or Computicket.