Trumpeter and vocalist Mandisi Dyantyis chats to us about his musical background, debut album and upcoming performance at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival. By Kwanele Mathebula
Image: Mandisi Dyantis IG
I was born in New Brighton, Port Elizabeth. I was raised in a big musical family. And, by growing up in that kind of environment, being a musician wasn’t a novelty. And, what set me apart was that I started playing the trumpet at the age of six compared to the rest of my family. At the time, I didn’t realise that I was working towards becoming a musician until I started performing for people. I enjoyed watching them react to my music, and I knew at the age of 14 that I would do this forever. But, I knew that the only way that I could do this was by going to school to study my craft.
Studying music was a major challenge for me. During my studies, I realised that I needed to be relentless in my effort to become a good musician. This required a high level of discipline. I spent hours practicing and working towards realising my dream. I constantly asked myself why and who I was doing it for to ensure that I was doing it for myself. This has been a huge driving force, even in other challenges in my career.
My debut album Somandla came out in 2019. It was a culmination of two years of playing the same music, with the same band, at various venues in Cape Town. I was unaware that while playing with the band, I was solidifying our music and sound. This made recording it a seamless process because we’d already put in the work. And, all we needed to do was put in the same energy, which is why we recorded the album in just two days. I chose to collaborate with people who I felt were the best and would bring their own voice into my music.
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Waking up every day to do music is my career highlight. Being a full-time musician in SA is no easy feat. So, I consider it a blessing that I am able to share my talent with big and small crowds.
Our set at this year’s Cape Town International Jazz Festival will be a showstopper. It will be nothing different from what we play at gigs. I am excited to introduce new audiences to our sound and band. It’s going to be a coming together of artists who enjoy music and jamming together.