I remember the first time that I heard VuDu’s music, it was an overcast day in Port Elizabeth and I was wandering the streets at the Richmond Hill Music Festival. In a neat little street away from the bustling crowds was a stage, the sound coming from said stage was the type of jazz and blues that transports you into a state of mind where your hips sway to the smooth perfection of the vocals and melody. The crowd sat listening, not one word was heard as everyone gave their full attention to the band.
A few years later and they have excelled and grown from strength to strength, through shaping their style of early 1900s jazz with a mix of Soul and RnB. The band members include Sisanda Myataza (vocalist), Kristo Zondagh (drums), Wesley Keet (keys) and Grant Allison (bass).
One of the things that make VuDu different, other than their blend of different genres, is the personal approach that they often take when performing. “We love playing in people’s houses. We get to play anything that we want and people appreciate it,” says Allison, “they want the vibe.” Zondagh shares the same thoughts when it comes to performing in homes and finds it more as a conversation, “People say music is like having a conversation and having people that are right in front of you is much different than at a festival where they are 10 meters away.”
Developing their music comes across easily for the artists as each member has been involved in the music scene for many years. Allison wrote the chord progression for the song “Enchanted”, “Enchanted came about by just jamming and practicing on the keys, says Allison, whilst Myataza wrote the melody and lyrics. Zondagh says that often Sid (Myataza) will come her limited knowledge of the guitar and play one bass note and her lyrics and then they flesh it out into a full song. “I write very much from the heart and write about things I’m trying to figure out about the world around me,” states Myataza, “I like to write uplifting music as well.”
VuDu became the espYoungLegends 2017 winner for the 18th Cape Town Jazz Festival as chosen by the judges. “We don’t like the idea of spamming people on Facebook with ‘Vote for Us’ posts, so we shared it once and then left it,” says Zondagh, “Then we made it to the Top 5 and I couldn’t understand how. I then read that the people with the most votes get a guaranteed spot in the Festival.” It was then that Zondagh realized that they were being chosen by the judges, “which meant that we weren’t trying to win a popularity contest but that we were being chosen by judges who knew music and actually dig us.”
“It is an incredible dream come true for us,” says Myataza, “and a phenomenal opportunity for all of us and our careers. I’m mad excited.”