Francesca Biancoli set to steal hearts at the ‘Cape Town International Jazz Festival 2024’

Francesca Biancoli. Picture: INSTAGRAM

Francesca Biancoli. Picture: INSTAGRAM

Published Apr 25, 2024


As the anticipation builds for the upcoming Cape Town International Jazz Festival 2024, music enthusiasts are looking forward to soul-stirring performances that define this celebrated event.

Among the line-up of exceptional artists, one sensation stands out, with a style described as soulful and emotive – Francesca Biancoli.

"I always try to embody the music, be a vessel where the music passes through me," Biancoli shares, reflecting on her approach to channelling emotions into performances.

“I like to think that what I create has many layers, like the Earth has so many layers to arrive at the core. I spend a lot of time on the lyrics and see it as poetry, often incorporating and synchronising with nature and science which moves me emotionally.

“It’s really beautiful to have visual associations with my lyrics when I perform, like creating something that triggers a visual memory.”

Jazz, with its rich history and boundless creativity, holds a special place in the heart of many performers but it was not the case for Biancoli, initially.

“Jazz was a big thing for me when I was little, but I wasn’t really into it at first. One of my first managers told me that my voice had a raw feeling like the mothers of jazz: Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan.

“After I listened more, I was quite shocked and I felt a call for this music. I would say that my first love was for sure Monk, Mingus and Coltrane and his wife, Alice.”

For Biancoli, performing at prestigious events like the Cape Town International Jazz Festival is more than just a showcase of her talent – it’s an opportunity to connect with audiences.

“The fact that my music can help people, can make them think and be reflective and, at times, feel really special and connected. These are the things I hope the listeners will take away from my performance,” says Biancoli.

Striving for authenticity and longevity in her craft, the singer remains steadfast in her commitment to honesty and vulnerability.

“As artists, it’s very important for me to remain honest and soft, create balance in the sonority and remember what it is that I do as a female musician.”


The excitement surrounding the festival has reached new heights with the announcement of additional acts gracing the stage.

Grammy-nominated vocalist Gretchen Parlato and acclaimed guitarist Lionel Loueke bring their collaborative masterpiece, “Lean In”, enchanting audiences with their musical synergy and storytelling.

With accolades and praise from industry veterans like Herbie Hancock, Loueke’s innovative approach to music complements Parlato’s soulful vocals, promising an unforgettable performance.

Joining them for the jazz fest is Jimmy Dludlu. His mastery of the guitar and fusion of jazz with African rhythms captivate audiences worldwide.

In the words of Lindsay Rhoda, the festival’s head of talent, each artist brings a unique perspective and unparalleled talent to the stage, reflecting the festival’s commitment to showcasing the breadth and depth of jazz music.

“Jazz is a multifaced genre, and we have a diverse audience. This year’s festival is a representation of music that will appeal to jazz aficionados and those who are just beginning with their jazz exploration and journey, and a line-up that does justice to our return which we are very much looking forward to sharing with Festinos very soon,” Rhoda says.

Gretchen Parlato and acclaimed guitarist Lionel Loueke. Picture: INSTAGRAM

The Manenberg outdoor stage at the festival promises an atmosphere where music, dance and cultural fusion combine. Organisers tout it as the ultimate destination to elevate your dance moves and enjoy a wide range of musical genres and cultural influences.

Friday night kicks off with the open format Gauteng DJ, Jab a Jaw, setting the tone for the night. Alongside him, on the Kippies stage, Billy Monama will serenade fans, offering a dual experience of sonic delight.

The South African hitmaker group, Mi Casa, follows, bringing their signature blend of jazz and South African dance music to the forefront.

Lead singer J Something said: “We will never forget the first time we played at the Cape Town Jazz Festival. We will also never forget the second or third time … it’s ‘that’ festival. It’s a moment for us as a band that fused jazz with South African dance to connect with an audience that appreciates music so much.

“We got so excited to hear it (the festival) was back, so we are coming in with so much gratitude and thrill to live another great moment with our music and our people. It’s such an iconic festival that really needs our community to come together and make it yet another legendary gathering of people in a beautiful city.

“We can’t wait for it all to unfold!”

Adding to the excitement, DJ and producer MÖRDA anticipates his debut performance at the festival, promising a soul-stirring experience for attendees. UK ensemble Kokoroko is joing the line-up, bringing an international flair to the festivities and enriching the cultural exchange.

Saturday night will continue the jazz celebration with Clint L, Mac G, and DJ Daliwonga taking the stage, ensuring that the energy and excitement of the festival remain palpable throughout the weekend.