Contestants - Pursuit of Jazz
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Meet our top 10

Emirates has been on the hunt for South Africa’s next jazz sensation. We’ve searched South Africa’s jiving alleyways, finger-snapping clubs and secret jazz bars, and discovered the freshest South African jazz sounds. Jazz musicians from across South Africa gave it their all for the chance to perform live in New York.  After two world-class live events which saw the top 10 and then the top 5 battle it out to be the best, our joint winners, Gally Ngoveni and Siya Charles, were crowned and will perform at the famous Blue Note jazz club. Find out more about the top 10 Emirates Pursuit of Jazz finalists below and hear what they’re bringing to South Africa’s jazz sound.

Casper

Casper Mofokeng

Siya-Charles

Siya Charles

Gally

Gally Ngoveni

Itumeleng

ItuSings Tshabane

Mande-Musiq

Mandé Musiq

Yoliswo

Viwo Kulati

Ginger

Ginger Nkosi

Elizabeth

Liz Gaylord

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Nkosazana

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Lungi Motaung

Having developed an interest in music at an early age, Casper played the Eb Alto horn in the Church brass band while attending The National School of Arts as an Art/Design major. He found that having friends in the music department helped develop his musical interest. He then went on to further his musical studies at The Johannesburg Youth Orchestra, studying classical music. Due to unforeseen financial circumstances he had to cut his studies short and take up a position at Absa. He resigned from that position 2 years later and is now a full-time musician.

Casper Mofokeng

A trombonist, composer and arranger from Cape Town, South Africa, 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.

Siya Charles

Born in Giyani Town, South Africa, 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.

Gally Ngoveni

Born and raised in Saulsville, Pretoria, ItuSings is a South African singer and composer. Growing up he was inspired by his late father’s massive vinyl collection, which comprised of Marvin Gaye and Otis Redding, as they eased into their Sunday afternoons. Soul, jazz and gospel are the foundations of his music career and he is inspired by musicians such as Jonathan Butler and Gregory Potter. After building a following independently through the release of an EP and a 12-track body of work, titled Euphoria, he’s looking for major successes as he passionately tells African stories through his music.

ItuSings Tshabane

Born and raised in Mpumalanga (the Place of the Rising Sun), she is a natural songwriter with vocal prowess. Mandé feels that music defines her and it channels her to vibrate in higher frequencies. She recently shared a stage with music greats like Jonas Gwangwa, Sipho Hotstix, Yvone Chaka Chaka, Bheki Mhlongo and Benjamin Dube. Apart from her musical capabilities, she is an IT business specialist. Through technology enablement, she develops, transforms and automates business processes across industries, including the investment banking, mining and health industries.

Mandé Musiq

Viwolwethu Kulati hails from “The Creative City” – Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape. Her love for music and her respect for the arts emerged at a young age after being exposed to the annual Grahamstown National Arts Festival. This encouraged her massive involvement in musical activities at school and put her on the path to where she is today. She later took music and classical voice classes at Victoria Girls’ High School and thereafter trained in jazz vocals at The University of Witwatersrand.

Viwo Kulati

Ginger Nkosi is a multi-talented musician but his instruments of choice are piano and percussion – he also tap dances. He studied performance art at the National School of Arts, and performing on Idols SA gave Nkosi the platform to showcase his vocal skills and taught him how to work under pressure. Three years after Idols he released his first song, Happy Day. It has been aired on Channel O and MTV BASE, as well as major radio stations, and Happy Day is now the soundtrack for the South African drama series “Rhythm City”.

Ginger Nkosi

This composer, performer and jazz educator began classical piano lessons at the age of 6 and later studied jazz piano at UCT, after developing a love for jazz that was influenced by her parents. She has taken part in many jazz festivals such as the Joy of Jazz Festival, Cape Town Jazz Festival, Standard Bank National Youth Jazz Festival and the SAJE Festival. In 2015 she was awarded the opportunity to study jazz in Italy and in 2016 she was chosen as a member of the Standard Bank National Youth Jazz Band, under the direction of Carlo Mombelli.

Liz Gaylord

Nkosazana is a composer and song writer. She is a self-taught musician who started singing at an early age at a local church. She later formed a four member acapella group called ‘Dope Elements’, which saw her and her team performing in different events in and around Soweto. She has continued her collaborations as both a soloist and backing vocalist alongside Majola, and it is through those partnerships that she has had the opportunity to share stages with the likes of Lebo Mashile, Panashe Chigumadzi and Sibongile Khumalo.

Nkosazana

Lungi Motaung is a vocalist and musician based in Johannesburg. She has always had a natural inclination to music and the arts, and it was therefore natural for her to pursue a career in the entertainment industry from an early age. She has been a full time performer since 2010 and has worked in a diverse array of settings with many different artists. As a flexible artist she works solo or with a full band. She is currently resident at the ‘Life Grand Café’ Johannesburg and has independently recorded her very first solo album titled “The Truth”. She’s had the great honour of performing her album at the 2018 Gauteng Women’s Awards as well as the Gauteng Sports Awards in 2018.

Lungi Motaung