SIYA CHARLES and Gally Ngoveni are the winners of the inaugural Emirates Pursuit of Jazz.
In pursuing their dreams- both young jazz winners were identified after a strenuous 100 days and over 500 entries submitted, nationally.
The prize: a performance at the fifth New York’s world-famous Blue Note Jazz Clubduring the NYC Winter JazzFest in January 2019.
The finals were held at Katzy’s Rosebank, Johannesburg for the opportunity of a lifetime, to be selected as the overall Emirates Pursuit of Jazz winner.
As a result of sheer performance and sterling performances by these artists, Siya and Gally came out tops, after convincing esteemed panel of Judges made of broadcaster Brenda Sisane, Sipho Dlamini (Universal) and Nduduzo Makhathini – Winner of a SA Music Award (Best Jazz Album).
A trombonist, composer and arranger from Cape Town, Siya is currently completing a Masters in Music degree, specialising in jazz trombone performance, as well as her dissertation at the University of Cape Town.
She has worked with the likes of the late Hugh Masekela, Simphiwe Dana, Jimmy Dludlu and Freshly Ground.
She has played in several ensembles such as Standard Bank National Youth Jazz Band, South African National Youth Orchestra, Jeunesses Musicales Jazz World Orchestra and Mahler Chamber Orchestra.
Giyani born in the Limpopo Province, Gally is a singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and performer. His interest in music started at a very young age.
Performing as a bassist in bands such as The Exclusive, Jazz Revolution, Soca Band and Quest, as well as playing backing for some of the most celebrated artists like Jeff Maluleke (RSA), Bholoja (Swaziland), Waje (Nigeria), Femi Koya (Nigeria), Pops Mohamed (RSA), Velemseni (Swaziland), Mbuso Khoza (RSA) and Selaelo Selota (RSA).
Internationally, he has shared stages with some of the greats such as Salif Keita, Ray Lema, Etienne Mbappè, Kenny G and Joe Thomas.
Beginning from January 17 to 19 in 2019, the four-day Winter Blues Jazz Fest takes place over the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend, primarily in the Merchant’s Square area of downtown Williamsburg.
Aptly coined the ‘Big Apple’, NY will see SAs jazz stars brushing shoulders with their counterparts imparting and learning some fine skills of mastering jazz.
Astute Fouad Caunhye, Regional Manager- Emirates Southern Africa says: “Music creates connections and brings people together, as does Emirates. Both music and travel cross borders unite individuals all over the world, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity or culture. Siya and Gally‘s talents are exceptional, and we are thrilled to be taking both of them to New York, for a performance of a lifetime.”
On what prompted Emirates to partner in this project, Fouad indicated that jazz specifically is a great passion for South Africans, and the jazz fraternity globally is so much richer from the contribution of South Africa’s musical legends.
We wanted to be a part of this rising movement and create a platform for emerging talent, as a way for Emirates to bring a uniquely South African note to a global stage.
“Our objective was always to look at ways to engage with our audience in a manner that was truly meaningful – to be a part of the rich, cultural fabric of South Africa and contribute in a way that really matters.
Given the incredible talent that came through this initiative, the overwhelming audience response, and knowing that we have helped take the best of South Africa to the world, I feel gratified that we have achieved what we set out to do,” he continued, when asked what would be the benefits of such project.
Following a huge response from the public and young jazz aficionados, Emirates will pursue the concept in the coming years.
Surely, the pair should have a recording deal with Universal Records, who are partners of the project.