segunda-feira, 9 de novembro de 2009

JUST JAZZ EMILY BRUCE


JUST JAZZ

Estacios Valoi
14/02/09

‘The Cape Town International Jazz Festival has proved many sceptics wrong. When the organisers launched the event in 200, many felt that the event, like other previous attempts to have an annual international jazz festival on the African continent, would fizzle out. In April 03-04, the festival wich attracted 33 500 people this year turns ten’.

Artists : Al Foster Quartet, Arturo Lledo, Dave Liebman Group, Dianne Reeves, Emily Bruce, Freshlyground, Hugh Masekela celebrating his 70birth day, Incognito, Jonathan Rubain, Kyle Eastwood, Loading Zone, Maceo Parker, Maurice Gawronsky, New York Voices, Peter White, Ringo Madlingozi, Rus Nerwich’s collective imagination, The Stylistics and Zap Mama.
Dave Liebaman, New yorque Voices, Jonathan Rubain,Stewart Sukuma, Napalma, 340mil, Mc Coy Mrubata and Special Friends , Gold Fish, Carlo Mombelim and Prisoner of Strange, Cape Town Jazz Orquestra, Abeligali Kubela, Incognito-Uk, Jonathan Bather and Dave Koz Collaboration, Kyle Shepherd, Mike Del Ferro and Sibongile Khumalo, Sahanon Monday, Dr Philip, Robert Glasper and The RCDC experiment,Ndumiso Nyovane, Shakatak-UK, South Spaw, Mosh Def,Siphokazi, The Stylistic, Zap Mam, all invited to be bouncing on the five stages during two days and two nights. My journey is the other, toiling and froing to find the other, and today the other is Emily Bruce.

The South African Cape Town-based vocalist Emily Bruce is taking the local jazz scene by storm. Her March 2007 debut album This Love We Share was well-received. In her short career, the singer who graduated from the University of Cape Town where she studied music, has lived and performed in Turkey and Dubai.

Who is Emily Bruce the woman, the musician and your philosophy of life?
EM-I am a complicated character as I believe most artists are. We are sensitive souls and many who seem outgoing are in fact introverted and intense. I have been blessed with immense talent and drive and I love what I do. Singing for me is the extension of the soul an unavoidable release and expression of the human condition. Jazz, the language, the songs, the lyric is all about feeling and I feel so much when I sing.

Alongside music I am a visual artist and paint with oils the pictures that form in my mind. I am also drawn to the stage as an actor, and theatre, particularly Shakespeare, has been my life-long dream. As a musician I am in love with what I do. It is a great privilege to be gracing the Cape Town International Festival stage and I am preparing a repertoire with an excellent band that I know will be a musical experience to remember for everyone who will be there.

I have many affirmations that tie into my philosophy of life. Some of them are:
“No matter how much you have already experienced we are all still learning”
“It’s not what you say but how you say it”
“If you are genuine with others they are more likely to be genuine with you”
“Cry when you need to”
“Work on being in love with yourself first”

For how many nights and days have you been cooking your music, of course with all the ingredients?
EM-I started singing Jazz in 1998. It was my first year out of High School and my first year at the University of Cape Town. I had no idea what Jazz really was but I knew I could and wanted to sing. The first time I heard Ella Fitzgerald something lifted above my head and I was alive! I just knew that I’d found what I wanted to do. I wanted to sing just like Ella.
As the days and years passed by I heard other singers. Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday, Shirley Horn, Nancy Wilson. I couldn’t believe my ears! Where had this music been all my life?
Studying Jazz is not easy and for me it was a little harder as I never did music at High School. I taught myself to read music from an old piano book we had in our house and as a young child I spent some time at the piano ‘messing around’. But I did sing every chance I got: in church, at school, on the playground waiting to be picked up to go home. Sometimes in the car, with friends, in the bath! But it was at university that I really started to sing.
Over the past 11 years I have been inspired, motivated and assisted by so many people and musicians that I know I would not be where I am today if not for them. One of the most beautiful things I have in my life is the relationship we as a band share on the bandstand. There’s nothing like that musical connection, understanding and love that we share.

When the first light came and made you decide to embark on this world of music?
EM-I’ve always been singing. I remember putting on little shows for my parents when I was around 4 years old. I never thought that what I had was special. The way I saw it everybody could sing. But I think I started to discover this talent at church when I was around 15 years old. I never had the self confidence to imagine a career as a singer until I heard Ella Fitzgerald sing in my first year of university in 1998.

What does inspire you?
EM-Many things inspire me. Mostly art, theatre, movies, poetry, great musicians past and present. I find inspiration when visiting the sea and soaking up the sun. I find inspiration in the evening light and the glow of the streetlamps (only in Cape Town.) The mountains especially Table Mountain when I’m right up close to it and can really appreciate the colours and the magnitude. A clean house is inspiration too! And for some reason I find inspiration in doing my laundry!

How many albums do you have and which is your favourite track?
EM-At the moment I have one album called ‘This Love We Share’ and am busy working on the post-production of an album I am sharing with two other musicians. As for my second album, I have already conceptualised and figured out exactly what I want to do.
The holdup is basically funding and time and space. Right now I am focusing my time and energy into preparations for the festival but I am confident that the second album can still happen this year.

Deciding on a favourite track is always tricky. When asked that question I feel like a mother who must decide who her favourite child is! It is impossible but I will say that one of my favourites is ‘If You Never Come to Me’

Who are the members of the band for the festival and why did you choose them?
EM-I work with a lot of different combinations of musicians when it comes to bands. In Cape Town we all freelance and as the bandleader I find it important to work with certain combinations for certain gigs. It’s good for me too as every combination brings out something different and magical in my singing and I grow with every gig because of the different challenges. It’s very difficult to keep a band together because we all freelance but one day I hope to have a band I can truly call my own. However for the festival I have teamed up together with Mark Fransman (piano), Charles Lazar (double bass), Kevin Gibson (drums) and Buddy Wells (sax and flute). My reasons are simple. I have worked with them before and we are comfortable with each other. Mark produced my first album and we are great friends. He will be more like a musical director conveying what I need and want musically to the rest of the band. I feel it important to keep the band small and concise as I think this will give the music space to breathe and myself the chance to shine.

What can the audience expect from you on the night of your performance?
EM-This is the first time I am performing on an international festival so I am preparing to do something spectacular and fulfilling. I am spending a lot of time sourcing and deciding on the repertoire. I feel this is a great opportunity to do songs that are slightly different from what I’m used to and to do some tunes I’ve always wanted to sing.

What comes into your head when you are on stage?
EM-I try to focus on the music and listening to the band. Sometimes visualisation works for me to escape the noise of the audience and what’s happening in the room. It’s a real treat to have a seated, hushed, listening audience. What happens for me personally is very moving. Because I have a real emotional connection to the lyrics I often relive my own experiences while singing and the songs become very real for me.

What most do you fear in this world?
EM-That I will never find true love.

What is the most important book you ever read?
EM-There are a few but the one that comes to mind is ‘The Mastery of Love’ by Don Miguel Ruiz

Anyway, the stones meet each other, but am still on the road looking for the other. Who is the other?

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