For a long time jazz was seen as a male domain. This category honours and celebrates women who have entered and contributed significantly to the world of jazz either through their performance, or through their involvement in the management and promotion of Jazz.
Tutu Puoane grew up in Mamelodi and moved to Cape Town to study at the Music College of the University of Cape Town. After that she went to Europe, under the wings of dutch piano player Jack van Poll, who had been living and teaching in Cape Town. She studied in the Royal Conservatory of The Hague for two years between 2002 and 2004 and has been living in Europe ever since. She’s now based in Belgium, has released a successful debut album ‘Song’ and has been playing all over with her own quartet and as a soloist with the Brussels Jazz Orchestra, one of Europe’s best big bands.
Siya Makuzeni is a multifaceted musician who regularly collaborates with artists as diverse as Marcus Wyatt, Themba Mkhize, McCoy Mrubata, Feya Faku, Frank Opperman, Tlale Makhene, Khaya Mahlangu, Sibongile Khumalo and many more. A member of Carlo Mombelli’s Prisoners of Strange, she is also the bandleader of her own rock band, Ippyfuz. She has toured and performed around the globe. Siya has also lent her songwriting skills to albums by various artists. Her live collaborations include Goema Captains, Thandiswa Mazwai, Teba, Tumi, SWR Big Band (Germany).
Melanie Scholtz has achieved numerous acclamations for such a young singer. In 2002 she won the ‘Old Mutual Jazz Encounters’ naming her best jazz vocalist. Her debut album ‘Zillion Miles’ was released in 2006 and received strong praise across the media. Melanie has also achieved high profile performances when she sang in front of Nelson Mandela and millions of tv viewers for the Presidents Cup in George. She has also performed on SABC3 ‘Women of the Year Awards’.