Based: Cape Town

Preserving, reviving, and celebrating South African swing music

Echoes of Sophiatown is a transcription project to revive, transcribe and preserve the unique South African swing music from the 1930s-50s. Funded on Indiegogo by swing music enthusiasts around the world, the project has concluded its first chapter with 40 transcriptions and a studio recording with the Pebble Shakers, featuring covers of 12 original South African tunes.

Thandeka Dladla is a versatile vocalist who is equally at home in both the jazz and Afro-soul spheres. She has shared the stage with some of SA’s top musicians such as Amanda Tiffin, Nomfundo Xaluva, Shaun Johannes, Jason Reolon and was a part of the UCT Vocal Ensemble which performed with Gloria Bosman in 2015. She has also participated in several youth jazz festivals including the Artscape Youth Jazz Festival and the Standard Bank National Youth Jazz Festival in Grahamstown.

Starting trumpet at the age of 13, Angelo Danster has played with big names over the few years such as Judy Boucher, Lira, Judith Sephuma, AJ Brown, Emo Adams, Garth Taylor, Michael Pipoquinha and Dan Shout to name a very few. Playing at events such as Jazz on the Rocks, Grahamstown National Arts festival, Brass Pops at Artscape, Big Band Festival, Cape Town International Jazz Festival, Greenmarket Square and many more. Passing his Grade 8 music exam in 2016 with a distinction and 1 year of studying jazz at SACM, Angelo has a bright future as an Upcoming Young Lion on the trumpet.

Passion, versatility, positivity and enthusiasm are some of the attributes that can be expected of all-round performer John Bartmann, who has worked as a guitarist, violinist, producer, chorister and band member over the past 15 years. Bartmann began producing music in 2006 and to date, has licensed compositions to Wagram Records (France) with his band PRAVDA, as well as DNA Musik (Germany), various theatre productions funded by the UK Arts Council and the South African Broadcasting Commission.

Being a preacher’s son, Moses van Rensburg spent many years playing the drums in church from the age of 16, and also played in many gospel bands. Later, he started experimenting with jazz drumming and played for a few jazz bands around Cape Town. He’s done a few studio recording sessions with various bands, and is currently the drummer with the Pebble Shakers, since its inception in 2017.

Double Bassist and tenor Jacques Louw began his career at the Drakensberg Boys Choir. He received his BMus in Classical Performance from the University of Stellenbosch, and is a former member of the the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra. He occasionally performs with jazz and other bands in Cape Town.

Duncan Johnson is a young Cape Town-based saxophonist, composer and arranger who forms part of many bands such as The Little Giants, Unit 5, The Pebble Shakers and several other bands. Duncan is an advocate of South African Jazz music and aims to showcase more of South Africa’s own beauty and culture to the world. He plays anything from Jazz to pop to RnB to classical music and is proud to be a versatile musician able to play many genres of music on many kinds of instruments. Duncan is also a part-time music teacher and is currently composing music for his debut album.

Trombonist Matt Willis has played on local and international stages as both as resident band member and session musician. His jazz background has brought him into ensembles alongside Brian Thusi and the SA National Youth Jazz Band, Jannie van Tonder’s Biggish Band. Along with time spent performing around Alaska and New Orleans with cruise liner show bands, he has also kept active locally with ska and punk bands Captain Stu, The Rudimentals, Hog Hoggidy Hog and Grassy Spark.